There are loads of reasons why turning off technology can be good for you. But in a world where we rely so much on our devices day to day, it’s not that easy to switch off. Here are 5 tips to make a digital detox happen.It’s the first thing most of us do in the morning – reach for our smartphones to check our Instagram feed, how the weather looks for the day, or what’s happened overnight on group chat. And we’re not alone! In fact, recent research suggests that over 70% of young adults check their smartphone first thing in the morning (Dr Lynette Vernon, Murdoch University 2017). And while it’s good to feel connected to others before we even roll out of bed, the time we spend scrolling ten hashtags deep on Instagram or binge-watching the latest season of Brooklyn 99 can get seriously out of control without us even noticing.
We’re living in a world that’s more connected than ever, yet more and more and we’re feeling less connected and lacking meaningful relationships. Paired with not being able to concentrate thanks to constant interruptions from app notifications as we work, it can start to make you feel drained and down.
Challenge: Do a Digital Detox.Yep, that’s right, we’re challenging you to log off. But don’t worry it won’t be without rewards – you’ll have way more time back in your day, be able to concentrate on what you’re doing and might even hang out with your friends rather than chatting over text.
Sounds simple right? Actually, logging off is harder than it seems, but we’ve got some top tips to help you unplug.
1. Start your day rightThink about whether reaching for your phone first thing is really necessary. If you use your phone for an alarm, try changing up your routine by setting an old-fashioned alarm clock and getting some fresh air first thing instead of scrolling through social media. In the time you spend catching up on who’s posted on Instagram since you checked last night, you could fit in a quick walk, and actually sit down for breakfast.
Murdoch’s head of Counselling, Dr Petra Skeffington says fuelling out bodies right can help us get through the day better, “What you eat fuels your brain, so if you are not eating a balanced breakfast you can’t produce the necessary neurotransmitters for your brain and mind to function well”.
2. Take some time for yourselfWe’re now constantly over-stimulated and always-on thanks to having the internet at our fingertips. We get so caught up in the rush of day to day life, we often forget to take some time out to unwind. Self-care is really important, so make a date with yourself – read that novel you got last Christmas, book yourself in for a yoga class, run a bath and read your favourite magazine, or soak up some sun to get your dose of vitamin D (don’t forget the SPF).
3. ExerciseBurning off those weekend nachos isn’t the only thing working up a sweat is good for. Exercise is also a known stress buster and can release endorphins, which make you feel good. Dr Skeffington also recommends exercise as a great tool to self soothe, “Stress has a physical impact on your body, and exercising can have a soothing effect. Even short bursts of physical activity can be beneficial, and regular exercise is a must when you’re preparing for a period of stress”.
And if running on a treadmill isn’t your thing, try getting in touch with nature on a bushwalk or taking a class with friends. Feel like you need music to get you through? Try chatting with a friend on a walk instead, or if you really need to listen on your phone turn off emails and social media so you’re not tempted.
4. Get off the ‘gram (or the YouTube cat vids)It’s easy to go down the Insta rabbit-hole or get sucked into watching continually rolling YouTube videos. If you can’t possibly fathom putting your device away completely, try limiting the amount of time you spend on your favourite sites and cut back how much time you spend looking down at your phone. The latest iPhone update even lets you check your screen time for the day, so you can easily track how you’re going and set yourself limits. Try three five minute checks during the day to start and work back from there. And if you’re out with friends make an effort to not use your phone. Leave it in your bag or pocket and don’t check it!
You could try three five minute checks during the day to start and work back from there. And if you’re out with friends make an effort to not use your phone. Leave it in your bag or pocket and don’t check it!
5. Get a decent nights’ sleepIt sounds simple and you’ve heard it before, but a good nights’ sleep makes you a happier and more productive person. And being on your phone at night is probably getting in the way of that. “Our research found that late night phone use directly contributes to poor sleep habits,” says Dr Lynette Vernon, a psychology researcher at Murdoch University.
“This poor sleep makes it harder to function during the daytime and, over time, leads to declines in overall wellbeing and mental health". So is your smart phone killing your sleep? Try putting your phone on night mode, and limiting use within a couple of hours of going to bed.
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