Turning off a laptop

If you’ve noticed your eyeballs are glued to your phone for an increasing amount of time these days, you’re not alone. In a globally connected world, all through the power of technology, it’s all too easy to get sucked into our digital devices. And there’s a lot of noise about there about why this can be detrimental to our health. But what’s the truth behind this, and how can we work towards a healthy balance in a digital age?

Useful, yet addictive!
Let’s be honest, there are more than a few good reasons for plugging into our devices these days. They can help with everything from getting recipes, to directions, to streaming our favourite TV shows. Even if you’re sat on a train to London! The advice to simply put your phone or tablet in a drawer and never look at it again wouldn’t take us far.

But there are ways of managing your usage. From a health point of view, the question could be, why bother? Is it really such a bad thing to hammer your devices? Studies have shown that loneliness is a growing problem in our society. And what is a phone compared to actual human interaction? Around one in five people in the UK feel lonely as a result of isolation. The trouble with things like phones and tablets is that rather than bring people together, it can create a perfect excuse for staying locked indoors, away from the world.

Taking a break from tech
So how can you break away from the hold tech has over us? It all comes down to gently nudging bad habits out of the picture. For example, have you been guilty of zoning out of a conversation to look at a message as it pops up on your phone? Or taking photos of a place or event, rather than allowing yourself to fully experience it?

All of these things are common. But the good news is that with a few tweaks, and some self-awareness, they’re easy to remedy too.  Here are just a few ways you can oust tech from the limelight, and usher in a simpler, fuller way of living.

Digital detox inspiration

  • Engage in good old-fashion games – things like Sudoku, crosswords, and solitaire can help you engage your brain with activities off-screen. And if you live alone, or simply want a solo activity, these things all require just one player. And no screen!
  • Limit your screen time – it’s simple. All you need to do for this one is set some boundaries. You might benefit from keeping your phone elsewhere in the evenings. Or banning the use of your phone to read those articles in bed before you nod off. Perhaps meal times are sacred and should become phone-free to encourage conversation.
  • Put pen to paper – rather than making notes on your phone (yes, we’ve all been guilty of this at one time or another), keep a pen and paper handy. When you want to write your thoughts, feelings or even a shopping list, resort back to the old-fashioned way of jotting things down.
  • Take up a hobby – flower arranging, knitting, baking, or origami. It really doesn’t matter what floats your boat here, as long as you’re enjoying your activity. Invest time in non-screen related hobbies like this and see just how fulfilled you feel.
  • Take a breath – meditation is becoming more and more recognised as a way of distressing and taking some time for yourself. Meditation might feel like a big leap, so start with something accessible like mindfulness. Or, a gentle form of meditative exercise like yoga.

The fun part of taking time away from digital devices is that there’s no right way to do it. Treat it as a challenge unique to you and find what you love to spend time doing. It’s all about being healthy, investing in yourself, and feeling better in 2020.

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