Picture it: You’re in line at the grocery store or waiting for the train. What’s the first thing you do? Chances are you look down at your phone. Whether you’re checking emails or browsing through your Instagram feed, many people use their phones as a distraction tool, a way to pass the time.
Did you know the average adult looks at their screens 11 hours each day? While technology brings many advantages, it also has a downside.
Some of the negatives include isolation, a sedentary lifestyle and poor sleeping habits.
It’s no secret our phones isolate us. The more time you spend looking down at your screen, the less time you’re engaging with the world around you. Technology also promotes laziness since everything you need is literally at your fingertips. Why go to the store when you can shop online? Why socialize to find love when you can just swipe right?
Another downside of technology is sleep deprivation. The blue light from your phone messes with your sleep cycle – science confirms it!
From a psychological perspective, our culture is addicted to busyness. Why? Because time alone with our thoughts is uncomfortable. It’s easier to be distracted than to face our feelings. Basically, by operating at hyper speed, you won’t be forced to feel negative emotions below the surface. You won’t be forced to admit your job is unfulfilling or you and your partner have grown apart. It’s a fact: many people hide behind technology.
That’s why it’s important to unplug every once in a while. And if you can do a digital detox, even better.
Let’s Get Started! Unplug with These 5 Techniques
1. Create a schedule
Set aside times to check your phone and stick to it. During work hours, it’s helpful to leave your phone in another room.
If you work remotely, do your best to create a digital free zone in your home. This means no television, tablet, and other gadgets.
2. Connect to nature
Leave your phone home and take walking breaks during the day. Spending time outdoors will significantly benefit your mental state and help you become more mindful.
Research shows that nature supports your overall wellbeing. One of the top benefits is that nature effortlessly puts you in the present moment. It stimulates all of your senses. Think about when you walk along the beach: feeling the sand between your toes, seeing the waves crash on shore, smelling the salty air, and hearing the birds chirping.
3. Read a book
Too much screen time can lead to a long list of health problems ranging from eye strain and poor posture to depression and anxiety. If reading before bed is something you enjoy, switch from the screen to a book. That way, you’re still mentally stimulated without the negative side effects.
4. Turn off notifications
Despite your best efforts, it’s difficult to ignore email notifications and social media alerts. Silencing your notifications is one of the most simple yet effective ways to minimize distractions.
5. Pursue a creative hobby
Finding ways to unleash your creative genius is a healthy way to keep your mind engaged. Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? Any skills you’re looking to sharpen? Perhaps you love writing. Invest in a journal and deepen your writing practice. Or maybe you enjoy photography and bought a camera that has been collecting dust for the past few months.
When you’re on your walking break (see number 2), bring your camera with you and practice!
Remember, “almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a while, including you.”- Anne Lamott