Most people can’t wait for the holidays so they can “unplug”.
But, are they really mindfully unplugging? Once they get that time away are they just diving deeper into their devices? And is doing so making them feel better mentally and emotionally, or is it draining them more than their daily responsibilities do?
Once, while waiting for a bus while traveling in Spain, I noticed a few travelers sitting across from me, all of them looking down at their phones. It was then that I wondered if vacations do more harm than good.
Technology has certainly changed the way the world operates, a lot for the better. Communication has become a lot easier, and information is more easily available. It would seem like people should be more connected with each other. However, this constant virtual connection has caused the opposite—people are losing relationships with those around them and even that inner relationship with themselves.
When the year comes to an end, many people get distracted - through social media - with what others are doing, rather than working on their own mindfulness and mental wellness. They may be using their devices to “unplug” from their daily responsibilities, but the truth is, they only make themselves busier.
Constantly using devices is now a force of habit for most people, and reducing tech time, especially during the holidays can be tough. Nevertheless, everyone can improve their mental, emotional, and even physical well-being if they devote less time to their devices and more to whatever feeds their mind, body and spirit.
Here are five tips that can help you spend less time with your screens:
1. Consider It a Detox
A healthy detox can apply to anything from diets to a physical space to anything that has become a problem in someone’s daily life. As the holidays begin, consider the use of technology to be a bad habit that needs to be temporarily broken. Create a calendar to track the challenge of not being constantly connected to devices and tick the days in which you have mostly disengaged from electronics. Tracking the progress provides a bit of thrill and a much needed boost of confidence.
2. Recognize The Force of Habit
Everyone is naturally driven by habit, involuntarily returning to whatever your daily routine consists of. That said, most people are now using social media as an automatic response to having free time or feeling bored—or for no reason at all. As you begin to understand how the mind operates, you will understand the motivation behind using technology. Before grabbing any device, ask yourself whether you really NEED to, or if you’re just doing it out of habit.
3. List The Alternatives to Scrolling
Before technology took over our lives, we had so many meaningful and spiritually nurturing things to fill our time with. Make a list of what you would naturally do, and what you would like to do, when not constantly connected to your device. Write down your hobbies and passions that bring you inner peace and gradually return to them. You can also incorporate spiritual practices to help you recharge and restore, such as meditation or yoga.
4. Prioritize What’s Important
Technology will always be a part of daily life, both in social settings and professional ones. Consequently, it’s important to identify what’s most important when using devices—like checking email or connecting with a loved one. Approaching devices in this way helps you become more aware of mindlessly grabbing electronics in moments of downtime and effectivley limiting the role technology plays in our lives.
5. Remain Mindful of the Benefits
When someone reaches a weight loss goal they become even more motivated to continue with their health and wellness journey. The same applies to reducing tech time. After a few days of disengaging from social media, check in with yourself about how less stressed and refreshed you feel, and how more productive you’ve become. Reflect on the relationships you have, and feel are important, as well as the new found confidence and control you feel in limiting technology’s role in your life.
Beyond the mental wellness benefits, reducing tech time can also benefit your physical well-being. Many experts have found that looking at devices for long periods of time can cause permanent damage to the eyes, neck, and back. So, not only is there a huge increase in time spent connecting with the world around you, you’d also be giving your body a welcome rest.