Refresh and Reconnect
“Digital Detox” – the phrase itself sounds horribly millennial, doesn’t it? Our generation embraced technology so wholeheartedly, that even when we want to stop using it, we still use it (seriously, there are apps designed to help with digital detoxing!). Chances are, you’re reading this right now on your smartphone on the way to work, or on your tablet in bed. Simply put, we’re addicted to technology.
I’ll admit it – I’m guilty of not engaging in anything 100 percent. I find myself “watching tv,” but also WhatsApping friends, checking Facebook, and doing whatever else, all at the same time. My attention span now seems to be shorter than it was when I was a child, and technology is definitely to blame. There are benefits to all these inventions, of course. Living on the other side of the world from my family, it enables me to interact with them easily. But do I really need to know that someone I went to high school with (and haven’t seen in years) has just bought a house? More to the point, could this excessive use of technology actually be hurting me?
We think it’s time to spend a little time away from our gadgets, so we’ve rounded up just a few of the benefits, along with some handy tips to help us to untether ourselves from our smartphones (if only for a little while…)
Helps Ease Anxiety
Keeping up appearances online can be stressful. Once you’ve stepped away from it all, you’ll be able to see that not posting online for a day is really not the end of the world. Stop with the FOMO, don’t worry that your perfectly decorated acai bowl doesn’t have 100+ likes, and just enjoy life.
Distractions, distractions, distractions. Cut out your vice; whether it’s Instagram, WhatsApp, BuzzFeed, or whatever, and see how much more you get done in your day.
Improved Human Interactions
When we’re not communicating via emojis, we can actually learn a lot about the people around us. Spending too much time immersed in the digital world can make it easy to forget how important one-on-one contact can be. Virtual hugs cannot compare to a real embrace.
Something you probably haven’t considered. Ever notice how standing up straight makes you look and feel more confident? The problem is, we spend most of our days sat hunched behind a screen. So, doing it on our time off, too, takes a physical toll on our bodies – sometimes giving us eye strain, neck and back pain, or sore wrists. Cutting back a little can really make a difference.
Appreciate Your Surroundings
When we’re not walking along with our eyes glued to a screen, we’re actually able take in the beauty of our surroundings. (You also see the taxi that almost hit you!) Take the time to be mindful of that killer sunset, some amazing street art or even a cute puppy by your feet. There’s a whole lot going on around you!
Get Away from Those Emails
Your off time is your off time. Having access to our phones and emails makes us feel like we can never get away from it all. How are we supposed to relax when all we think about is our next meeting, our upcoming deadline or our to-do list? It’s nice to remember that you’re allowed enjoy your down time and not always be on call.
Tips & Tricks for Digital Detoxing
Buy an Alarm Clock!
Go old school. You don’t need to rely on your phone to wake you up, and you definitely don’t need to keep it next to whilst you sleep. It’ll also means you won’t be tempted to check Instagram first thing in the morning instead of actually getting out of bed…
Go Tech-Free Before Bed
Studies have shown that being exposed to the bright blue-and-white phone/laptop lights can lead to poor sleeping patterns. And we all need our beauty rest, right, ladies? Give yourself some distance from your phone before bedtime. Try indulging in a good book or a face mask instead. Worth a try if you ask us.
Put Away the Kindle
On that note, if you are going to read, opt for an actual book. I’m very much guilty of this one since buying a Kindle, but reading a good-old fashioned novel is so much more calming. (And, again, better for catching some zzz’s!)
Go Phone Free
Try putting your phone away one day a week, or just for half a day. I love the thought of lavishing on a lazy Sunday morning, sans iPhone. Use that time instead to make yourself a tasty brunch, snuggle with your loved one, or get outside and enjoy our beautiful city!
Turn Notifications Off
This is perhaps the easiest one to achieve. If your phone’s not constantly flashing with updates, you’ll be less inclined to check it. Turn those notifications off and see how much less distracted you’ll be.
Set Some Rules
C’mon, it’s not that hard, is it? No phones during dinner! And, for the first half an hour when you come home from work, take the time to actually talk to your family/housemate/S.O. rather than being otherwise distracted… You’ll be surprised by the difference some personal contact can make. Your relationships will get a bit closer, too.
The Big Cull
If Instagram or Facebook is your bag, go through your friends and following lists and decide if you really need to see all those photos. Your neighbour’s pasta salad can’t be that interesting. Sure, it sounds harsh, but if you don’t care, then why look at it? I spend far too much of my time aimlessly scrolling through my ‘gram feed, so really need to take my own advice on this one!