We all know the Internet takes up too much time in our lives. We bemoan that reality, but do little to change it.
But we want to challenge you to experience life offline. Ideally, you should take a month off, but if work or family obligations tether you to the Internet, then take a shorter break or limit your activity to necessary online activity.
The benefits of taking time away from the Internet are enormous. Here are a few.
1. You can read a book
Reading a book is a beautiful thing. You just can’t replicate that experience online. Holding a book in your hand creates an intimate relationship — it’s just you and the book. Contrast this with reading something online, where possibly thousands of other eyes are reading the exact same page.
And if you read a really good book, you’ll grow spiritually, intellectually, and humanly. Web content thrives because it’s short, easy, and digestible. And while that’s helpful in today’s busy world, you don’t want to miss out on the experience of reading a book that makes you think and feel at a deeper level, or which immerses you in a fantastical world for days on end.
Need some book ideas? Check out our recent blog on great reads you don’t want to miss!
2. You stop knowing or caring about everything going on in the world
Thanks to the Internet, we now know what’s happening across the globe in a matter of minutes — everything from the latest political scandal to head-scratching statements from heterodox bishops to the public outbursts of previously unknown “Karens” who went viral.
We’re not saying it’s bad to keep abreast of some things, but we’ve become online gluttons. And feeling the need to keep up with all the latest news usually causes anxiety. We also waste time that could be used for more productive work or hobbies.
Try unplugging yourself from the news and social media. While you may feel anxious at first, you’ll soon discover how freeing it is not to know who the latest TikTok sensation is or what new political fight is brewing.
3. You can spend more time with your family, friends, and local community
The Internet connects us to those on the opposite side of the world. In one sense, this is a great thing. But in our obsession with what’s happening around the globe, we often become blind to those around us — those within our circle of influence.
Some of you may remember the old days when the front porch was a gathering place for neighbors. But how many of us really know our neighbors today? Even small towns are now composed of people who are strangers. We forgo being in the physical presence of others to converse with faceless friends hiding behind computer or phone screens.
Disconnect from that online world for a while, and all of a sudden you notice that there are real, breathing human beings all around you. Who would have thought? Use this time offline to strike up conversations with that neighbor you’ve been avoiding or that fella in line at the grocery store.
It’s true that most of us will never be able to fully rid ourselves of the Internet. But by taking long breaks, you’ll learn to balance your life and discover the joy of the real world — a world that the Internet only gives you faint glimpses of.