It seems like computers and smart phones are everywhere these days. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some technology, always have always will, but over the last few years I’ve noticed more and more of my time become consumed by the digital leeches of life. That’s right, the Netflix’s, Twitter’s, Instagram’s, Facebook’s, Youtube’s …to name a few.
If you’re anything like me you’re familiar with the feeling of “one more minute”, “just need to check my email”, “hold on, responding to a text.” When we’re constantly bombarded with notifications, texts, emails, and more, how do we take a moment, a day, a weekend to just breathe?! In today’s blog I shares tips I’ve come to learn and use to help keep me calm and grounded in this busy digital world.
Tip 1: Schedule regular breaks.
No brainer right? I’ll be the first to admit I’ve gone mornings or afternoons working straight for 2, 3, even 4 hours without taking a break. I’ve realized, not just from the thousands of studies on negative effects of sedentary behavior, that not taking a break (even 5 minutes) to get up and move, walk, grab a drink is one of the worst things you can do to your physical and mental health. I told myself many years ago (probably sometime around my University years) that I had to put an end break-neglection. Schedule an alarm, fill your water half way to get you getting up more often, drink more water, do whatever you have to do (except smoke breaks, those don’t count) to take hourly breaks away from technology.
Tip 2: Create rules.
I find that one of the most unusual feelings as an adult is creating rules for myself that I actually have to follow. But hey, what’s adulating without a little self discipline? So here’s the challenge, plot your daily schedule clock; when do you wake up, fall asleep, eat, work, take your breaks, etc. Then set a rule next to three time frames during your day that you will break away from technology. I’ve read articles that encourage you to stay away from technology from all these times but to my that’s not realistic given my line of work etc. so starting off my three break times is a healthy start for me. Then when I lead into the weekend I try to up it to four.
Take for example, my three time slots are: morning (first 30 minutes of wake up), while I’m eating lunch and dinner. I’ve designated these three time periods as “no-tech time”. It’s easier said than done but a few rules are better than no rules.
Tip 3: Get outdoors.
Remember that break time I referred to in Tip #1? Well there’s no better way to enjoy a break away from technology then by getting out and connecting with nature. Not only does this boost feel-good hormones and support your mental health, it also makes sure your body is getting that all mighty Vitamin D. I won’t go on and on about the benefits of Vitamin D (building strong bones, preventing cancer to name a few), most of the world knows how good it is for you. So what are you waiting for put down that phone, grab your comfy shoes, and get out there!
Tip 4: Get social.
Whether you’re introverted or extroverted, it’s important to not neglect the real people in your life. This tip is not about throwing a massive party or hitting up the clubs, instead it’s here to remind us that technologies (like social media) are only an outlet to the outside world, they are not THE outside world.
Haven’t seen a friend in awhile, caught up with family, spoken to a stranger? Get out and socialize! Social interaction supports brain health and heart health; the more human interaction the better!
Tip 5: Adjust those ‘smart’ settings!
Last but not least, every smart phone has them, adjust those settings to remind your phone whose boss! That’s right; sometimes we all need the reminder that you have the power to turn on and off notification settings, ringers, buzzers, etc. And the best part? It takes no effort at all! In less than a minute you can silence your phone, turn off social media notifications, and dare I say even turn off your phone! Yeup, there’s a million and one little boxes in each app that you can tick off to get that phone silent but you CAN do it!
Here are some examples of notifications I love to silence on the weekend; everything Twitter, emails, IG likes, and FB tags. If I’m feeling adventurous and/or know that I’m spending time with loved ones I also like silencing my texts; if it’s an emergency people will call.
Hope these tips help you take a moment to pause and unplug. Keeping up with the fast pasce of technology does not have to be your new normal. You have the power to control your time, your decisions, and your life. Try some or ALL of these tips and let me know the steps you’re taking to support your wellness amongst the endless technology. Share with me in the comment section below or on social media @Wellness1st_net.
Helping you put wellness 1st,