disconnection rituals // unplug. unwind. relax.
It is important to take a break from constantly being connected to technology. Smart phones and tablets may make our lives a lot easier, but they also make it incredibly difficult to switch off and allow time out.
Unplugging yourself from the gadgets and devices that you rely on may seem inconvenient, impossible or unnecessary. However, there's plenty to prove that taking a 'digital break' can be beneficial.
Taking regular breaks from technology is not only a health benefit (preventing headaches, stress, eyestrain etc), but it's also a great way to recharge your creativity. By disconnecting from the tools that often do the thinking for us, it helps to generate organic ideas and bring us back down to basics: pen, paper, and thinking time.
So many of us check our phones the moment we wake up, stare at screens until we fall asleep, and keep our phones within arms reach whilst sleeping. Whilst it might seem a contradiction, disconnecting and taking respite from tech can actually lead to a boost in productivity.
The artificial light of your smart phone lighting up with notifications through the night can disturb sleep and prevent the necessary rest required to recharge your brain for the next day. By turning your phone off during the night and reducing your screen time, you're more likely to have a more fulfilling sleep.
Moreover, we've reached a point where our addiction to technology has reached new psychological levels. The 'need' to check notifications, the feeling of being 'lost' when batteries run low, and the compulsion to take constant photographs of experiences instead of living them, is all too real.
When was the last time that you can remember going without checking your phone for a day? It’s important to break away from this addiction and experience real life. After all, wouldn’t you rather be talking to your friends in person and attending real events, rather than writing a tweet and liking a photo?
So, how can we switch off and take time away from our screens?
Spend a day on Airplane Mode – Plan to spend one day, or even half a day, completely disconnected. Swipe to enable Airplane Mode, and enjoy spending time undisturbed by notifications. Instead of walking down the street with your eyes and hands glued to your smart phone, take a second to look up and notice the things you haven't before.
Plan a weekend retreat off the grid – If you are feeling particularly stressed or disconnected from ‘real life’, try to plan a short break where you leave all technology behind. There are an increasing array of options such as barns, cabins or retreats where there is no electricity, phone signal or internet coverage. Getting back to nature for a couple of days is the perfect way to recharge.
Allocate certain hours as ‘tech free’ – This could be entire days at the weekend, your evenings, or even just during meal times, but try to allocate set time each week where you put away all your phones, laptops and tablets. Use this time to connect with the people around you without any distractions, or simply to relax.
Don’t use ‘watching television’ as an unwinding activity – Your time away from screens should also include the television. Read a book, go for a walk, play a board game or listen to a record to help you relax.
Take ‘mini breaks’ throughout the working day – Experts suggest that you should look away from the computer screen at regular intervals throughout the day. A good general guide is to rest your eyes for at least 20 seconds for every 20 minutes of screen time.
Limit your screen time each day – Set yourself a realistic goal for how many hours you are allowed to spend staring at screens each day, and don’t let yourself go over it. If you end up working overtime, you will have to knock some time off your allowance for scrolling through social media. Reward yourself at the end of the week if you manage to stick to your target.
Ban technology from the bedroom– Leave your laptop closed once you’re in bed, and place your phone on the other side of the room. Read a book or have a conversation before you drift off to sleep, rather than looking at a screen.
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