Is it just us, or does it feel like our smartphones are practically part of our anatomy by now, superglued to our hands, never really far from reach? The reality is we seriously need to learn how to disconnect. The ongoing advancements in technology and the way we communicate are truly incredible, but, due to the constant updating, faster, sharper, brighter, better, it is easy to become oblivious to how unnatural it feels to be spending 99% of our time with a device.
To be honest, when we get down to it, more often than not, we are normally connected to more than just one at a time. As deeply integrated 21st-century beings, it would be unrealistic to switch to a completely offline existence, yet like most things, balance is the key - there is no reason why we can’t keep enjoying the positive aspects of digital living with just a few minor adjustments.
Integrating some simple techniques to dilute your usage will make all the difference. Our well-being should always be the priority and sleep quality is a major player in our general health. Switching off your phone before bed will help your body relax and gradually switch off itself. The blue light that is emitted from our screens keeps us awake, it blocks the hormone known as melatonin that makes us feel sleepy and ready for bed. Activating night mode will keep you accountable each evening, it will let you know when it is time to wind down, which will prompt you to create a new routine, such as reading a book or deep breathing practices. Both of these are far more effective in quietening our minds for a refreshing 8-hour slumber. Another tip, along the same lines, is knowing when to switch your alerts off, no one needs to be contactable 24/7 and it is in your best interest to take a break, remove the anxiety of replying to everything immediately, believe it or not, some things can wait!
You know the old saying, less is more? Well, when it comes to social media, this is rule no.1. Keep some mystery about your being and enjoy the moment, in the moment. Intertwined with this over-sharing, is the toxic surveillance we can become attuned to, it can seem natural after a while. If you know that looking at someone or something is going to trigger a negative emotion, just don’t do it. The sooner you can recognise this as unhealthy behaviour the better.
On a physical note, become aware of your posture when you are on the computer or the phone. Slumping over our screens is something we are all guilty of and for many of us, this is how we spend most days, whether in the office or at home. I think we can all agree that premature zimmer frames are not the best look. Try using headphones whilst making longer calls, don’t stay in one position too long, walk, stretch and reset.
There are a whole host of apps that can give us that little step up in the ol’ health department, ranging from meditation, podcasts, language learning, pedometers… you name it, it’s already been created by some genius, so if you are going to be using a device why not use some of that screen-time wisely and invest in yourself, you could learn something new. Filtering in these pretty effortless tweaks on a daily basis is simple, yet wildly powerful in creating some much-needed headspace. We are so quick to reach for the charger when our phones die, but forget that...we need recharging too. By cutting down, especially at certain times of the day, rationing our social media, and knowing when to switch off, then we can focus our energy on bigger and better things.