It’s natural for caregivers to feel that they should be “on call” all of the time. We want to be there whenever our loved ones need us.

But an important part of self-care is understanding that we all need “me” time. As we say so often at Courage to Caregivers, by taking care of ourselves first, we become stronger and better able to provide care for others.

One way to ensure that we are getting the “me” time we need is by disconnecting from technology, to pursue healthy activities that we enjoy, free from interruptions of any kind.

Unfortunately, that can be a tough challenge for all of us. It’s getting increasingly harder these days for many people, not just caregivers, to go “off the grid” because we feel like we’re missing out if we don’t know what’s happening RIGHT NOW.

So here are eight ways to help you unplug from technology. For example, keeping a “media diary” can open your eyes to how much time you really spend on the internet, texting, watching TV, etc. “Keep a log for five days, and then have a family meeting to brainstorm how you can carve out more time to engage without screens,” says Kathleen Clarke-Pearson, assistant professor of pediatrics at North Carolina Children’s Hospital.

Once we do take that step of freeing ourselves from technology and carving out some time just for us, we may learn an important, and even surprising, lesson: We don’t need to be on call, 24/7. By becoming “unavailable” for short periods of time, it’s possible that we will be helping our loved ones get better at managing their own issues in life. Of course, we’re always there for them in case of an emergency, but in many situations, our loved ones can gain greater self-esteem if they can successfully work things out for themselves.

So, go ahead and turn off your phone and computer, and take some time for yourself. It will all still be here when you get back.