Stop. Step back. Breathe.
Set like that, you might think recharging is simple — a common, casual occurrence, and a breather we all accept as a necessary part of life.
It’s a sign of the times, though, that recharging has taken on a new role. It has a new definition, even, to keep up with the quick-fire pace of the modern world, and here again we’ve done something funny: we’ve accepted it.
We’ve embraced the idea, now, that our devices — our phones, our laptops, our glowing screens — need to occasionally plug in, but still we push our own bodies as long and hard as possible without any chance to breathe.
Put plainer, we recharge our iThis and iThat when the battery blinks low. But what about us? When do we recharge? And why, when the age of overload so constantly weighs us down, do we gloss over just how important it is to stop, step back, and breathe?
Let’s talk about recharging. Let’s reclaim the word and tweak the definition, and let’s consider, now, how a new perspective on how we treat our technology can have benefits for the rest of our lives too.
BALANCE OUR BATTERIES
Our devices have to be charged. When the battery runs dry, they don’t work, and we’re left with what amounts to a shiny, expensive brick — a shell of its former self.
Simple enough, right?
Almost painfully so, a fact well-known to just about every generation that populates this Earth. We accept this logic at face value, content to keep our devices plugged in, and that’s that — no more thought necessary.
Just one question, then: what about our batteries?
Why are we so reluctant to take a few minutes to recharge? Why do we insist on running ourselves into the ground, overloading our senses with tech, information, and everything under the sun, and why do we wait until the last possible minute to take some much-needed rest and relaxation?
We neglect our own batteries for the ones in our toys.
We recharge our devices, but too often forget to recharge ourselves.
Let’s change that.
HOW TO RECHARGE
Unplug your laptop. Unplug your phone. Use these devices until their battery level runs low, and then pull out your charger and plug them in.
After that? Stop. Let the devices charge, but step away from the screen. For every minute that the device recharges, recharge yourself too.
Read a book. Take a nap. Sit down and relax, drink a cup of coffee, or scribble some notes in your notebook. Do something away from the screen that helps you unwind, and do something that recharges the one battery we too often neglect: you.
Take the time we normally give to our technology, in other words, and give it to yourself too. Plug the phone in, leave it on the counter, and step away from the tech. Go do cartwheels in the grass, if you like, and just recharge while your device does the same.
It’s a simple change, but a meaningful one.
THE BENEFIT OF A FULL BATTERY
We’re not unlike our devices in this regard: when the battery runs empty, we’re pretty much useless.
Call it human nature, then, that we soldier on, struggling to stay alive — to stay awake, to stay alert, to stay engaged — when every part of our body is asking us to step back and just breathe. Call it human nature, too, that we think we can do this.
We’re very much unlike our devices in this regard. Low battery on your laptop? Plug it in and you can keep working for hours, engaging yourself in the never-ending pursuit of productivity. That’s the beauty of technology, in a sense, and one of its biggest pitfalls — the power and appeal of working, tweeting, emailing for longer than we used to be able to, for hours beyond the natural limits of our focus and attention.
We can’t do this. We can’t plug into a wall and keep working, I’m sad (glad) to say, try though we might to keep moving every hour of the day.
We have to recharge. We have to unplug fully, stepping away from the forces that demand our full attention, and we have to take time to recharge in whichever way we need.
This is how we operate. This is how we should operate, rather, if we have any hope of functioning happy and healthily in a world that demands constant feedback.
Take time to recharge. The next time you plug your device in to recharge, actively step away from that screen and take some time for yourself. It’s a simple change, again, and one well-worth making, especially when our minds — our batteries — demand a chance to recharge.
Let’s put the human element back into recharging, and let’s tweak the definition of the word to suit this one truth: we need to recharge. Taking a short break from your tech, I’m pleased to report, is an easy way to do it.