HomebreaksInternet Burnout? Breaks Work For Me.

Over the years, one of the healthiest things I’ve learned to do is unplug myself completely once in a while. I try to do it for at least part of every day, actually.

This overlook was downright painful to get to, but it
was worth it. That’s Lake Superior over the line of trees
with islands in the distance.

When I talk about it, I get horrified stares, especially if the person I’m conversing with also works online. “Aren’t you worried about losing income? What if you miss something? How do you feel safe doing that?”

Well, one of the things dyslexia has taught me is the need for breaks. Maybe I need them more frequently than people without it, but if I stay connected to the internet all the time, constantly
bombarded with text, causes, other peoples’ lives and everything else, I find it harder to function in general. If I don’t take a break, it’s almost impossible for me to recall words or read at all for days at a time. It’s like a circuit shorts out in my brain, and my dyslexia stops me in my tracks.

“Ok, Em,” it tells me, “Time to check out and do something else for a while. Maybe this is me acting as a disability in the cultural point of view, but you’re not a machine. I’m making those parts of your brain take a break. How about you give some other parts a workout, now?”

When I was up north, my husband’s phone was the only one that worked most of the time. We kept it charged for emergencies, and used it to keep an eye on the weather, but that’s all. No internet. No e-mail. Those couple of days out of touch with the rest of the world were sorely needed.

When I logged on again Friday, I found myself sucked into the daily quicksand of articles, assorted causes that ordinarily interest me and petty arguments. I was immediately reminded of just how vital disconnecting is for me. I then turned off the computer and went to do something else for a while.

I think that may be the case for a lot of people, too. It’s wonderful to be a caring human being, but we need to remember our health, and that of our families, must come first if we want to help anyone, or hone our own chosen skills.

It’s all a matter of balance. Helping others and supporting causes you believe in can be wonderful things, but burnout will prevent you from doing any of that, especially if your wiring doesn’t match up with the norm.

Is that emphasized need for downtime a disability in today’s world of “GO! GO! GO!”? Maybe it is. Maybe it’s not. I’m to the point where assigning a label matters less than keeping myself as a unique individual healthy.


Internet Burnout? Breaks Work For Me. — 2 Comments

  1. This is a timely reminder and thank you for sharing. I don't work on line but a large portion of my work day requires research and computer interface. Blogging as a way to unwind and connect with a different kind of folk means I'm back in front of the screen at night. I'm not good at taking a break and this post made me think that August may be the month to do just that. I wonder if I can do that for a whole month, not blog. Feeling panicked already …

  2. Well, if it's your way to unwind and connect, it may not be the best idea to completely cut yourself off.

    Taking shorter breaks might help you, though. Even short walks or doing something with your hands away from technology could do great things.

    In my case, it comes down to being unable to function for a while if I'm in front of my screen for too long. The same thing goes for if I try reading a bad font for too long. My dyslexia kicks in, and anything with letters or numbers turns into a headache trigger and frustration. I guess it's just the way my brain works, though.

    You have to do what works best for you, though. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, after all.

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