Why we need to disconnect to reconnect.
Hot topic right now. Digital detox. In fact I have been asked to write about this for different publications almost every week over the last few months.
- We can’t avoid digital living.
- We know it’s a certainty.
However have we forgotten the power of old school connectivity. In person, no screens, no strained vision, no over active texting, typing or swiping. Just actually looking up.
Yesterday I was on the phone with speaker and Small Business Big Marketing founder Tim Reid who said – if only my kids would look 3cm up? It’s a whole new world from that perspective.
Indeed. So let me minimise your screen time on this post – make it short and sweet yet as practical as possible.
Despite all the technology we have in our lives that is supposed to save time, it seems like people are more stressed and time poor than ever before. This is not “news”.
Communications regulator Ofcom said UK adults spend an average of eight hours and 41 minutes a day on media devices, compared with the average night’s sleep of eight hours and 21 minutes. That’s more time on digital devices than sleep.
According to Nielson Research US, americans spend up to 60 hours a week consuming content across up to 4 devices!! Australia is not far behind either.
Eye strain headaches, posture issues, fatigue at work, lack of sleep and lack of physical activity are just a few side effects of too much screen time.
We all know this is certainly the case; what worries me is that intelligent, savvy people who know what healthy living means, are not taking the most basic steps to slow it down and reboot their hard drive each day and get off line to reconnect.
Is this you too?
At a certain point, your body simply says ‘NO’. It may be in the form of a cold or flu, poor eye sight, a niggling pain or injury, headaches, digestive complaints, skin disorders, insomnia or just the fact you feel exhausted and can’t concentrate efficiently during the day.
By the time it has come to this, it is already a reflection of a low immune system and the cellular impact of stress. A lot of emphasis is placed on exercise and diet for general health and wellbeing, but a big part of the wellness and vitality picture is often left out: mindset and mental clarity and getting back to basics with the three core pillars of Vitality; fresh air, fresh food and a fresh perspective.
Taking regular nano-breaks away from your laptop, phone, tablet and TV can rapidly produce great results in just a few minutes a day every day:
1. Reduce the effects of dry eyes and strained vision
2. Create a pause of mental clarity and creativity
3. Reconnect with your surroundings and your purpose
4. Make better informed decisions from your gut instinct rather than a reactionary
5. Notice your posture and your breathing
6. Improve sleep
7. Reduce stress
8. Increase mental and physical vitality
How can you start right now to help deal with stress and help your body cope with daily mental and physical demands? By giving yourself a regular digital detox.
Here’s some practical tips for a daily reboot:
Digital Detox During the day:
– Place a sticky note on your computer that says “ take a nano break” get up and walk away from your computer, go talk to a colleague personally rather than emailing across the room.
– Stay off Facebook/social media in the morning on the way to work – listen to music, a podcast or read actual book instead
– Take a fresh air break at lunch time, rather than eating lunch with your phone or iPad in front of you
– Look up, look around – head out for a quick break around the office, take the dog for a walk, do something active with your kids during the weekend.
– Use time away from work as time for you to re-charge your mental and physical batteries.
Digital Detox At night:
– Avoid TV, illuminated alarm clocks and other digital stimulus in the bedroom.
– Read a book before you go to sleep, rather than watching television or working late on the computer.
Meditate and concentrate on breathing.
– Channel your thoughts from worry to a place of peace.
– Create a regular bedtime routine and a regular sleep-wake schedule.
– Create a restful environment that is dark, cool and comfortable.
– Play restful music to help you relax.
– Keep a diary of things that are on your mind, get them out of your head and on to paper – even if it’s a list of things to do for the next day
Think of a digital detox as recharging your own batteries. If we do not fully recharge our batteries, then we diminish our energy levels, and our ability to handle stress and perform daily tasks.
So after you’ve read this – rather than jump on your iPhone, connect to Netflix or read a book on your kindle -why not lace up your shoes, head out the door or jump up and go get talking to your family or a colleague.
Sometimes you need to disconnect to reconnect.
Some helpful links to more posts on this topic
For more podcasts to listen instead of time online staring at a screen click here for The Vitality Coach Podcast on Itunes
1 BBC Technology 2015
2 Nielson Research US Digital Consumer Report 2014