We literally have the world at our fingertips! At the touch of a button, we can now pick up emails, get directions, shop online, and communicate with people around the globe on social media channels, all whilst we are on the move ourselves!
Whilst this has many benefits and has created the versatile modern society in which we now live, we are also discovering that being constantly plugged into this virtual world can lead us to feel disconnected, stressed and unhappy with the physical world. Social media has been linked to lower self-esteem and increased feelings of pressure to be socially accepted, and constantly comparing ourselves to others seemingly ‘perfect’ lives and measuring our self-worth through numbers of likes and comments are never going to build a life as happy on the inside as it may look on your IG account.
But what is the answer? If the allure of your smart phone and social media is too strong to walk away, then it might be time to take a digital detox.
A digital detox can last anything from 1 day to 1 week, or even longer if work permits! And simply involves time away from using all electronic devices such as smart phones and computers. Seen as an opportunity to reduce stress and focus less on the virtual and more on social interaction in the physical world, there are now sanctuaries set up in holiday destinations around the world for this purpose. The removal of all electronic devices from the moment you arrive, is truly a significant experience for anyone that is used to tweeting, blogging and documenting their every move, meal and thought on a daily basis. But days filled with many experiences from hiking, surfing, meditation, yoga, are designed to re-kindle our connection with nature over our connection to technology.
But whilst this could be a great excuse for a holiday too, if this approach feels like a step too far, there are some easy steps you can take on a daily basis to help you break the addiction cycle and create a more fulfilling life that’s truly as exciting in the real world as it is online.
- It’s a great feeling to be in demand, and wanted, but having constant access to emails, the internet and the world, can make it so easy to lure us into a false sense of security and create a busy day ‘indefinitely’. But don’t use this as an opportunity to fill up every spare second using your phone. And multi-tasking is often less productive than simply focusing on one task at a time! So give yourself the oppounrtiy to be more productive and switch off your phone during those tasks that need 100% concentration without distraction. You’ll find yourself powering through that to-do list far quicker.
- We have come to rely on our phones to help distract, avoid and ignore certain situations. Our phones can be a welcome distraction when we feel anxious or are faced with being alone, or feel left out of a group. But next time you feel the urge to take out your phone, ask yourself why? And instead, try taking in the moment and connecting to the situation in a non-digital way.
- Reduce easy access to your phone by setting an auto lock screen. Making your phone harder to access at the touch of a button may reduce the amount of times a day that you check it, and reduce mindless usage. Also consider disabling all social media apps during the working day so that you are not so easily distracted and more productive during working hours. And then the time you spend online is reduced, but more focused, and hopefully more enjoyable.
- Create ground rules around times of the day that are free from electronics. Mealtimes can be a good opportunity to talk and offload stresses, plus mindful eating has also been proven to reduce overeating and improve digestion. So why not use this time as a daily detox from technology? And it has been proven that logging off from all electronics one hour before bedtime can improve sleep. So why not take this opportunity too to switch off from the day, unwind and calm the mind for a better night’s rest that will be sure to help improve your productivity for the next day.
MEvME is inspired by the belief that, in a busy and competitive world we need to take time for ourselves and nurture our bodies and well-being to realise a greater feeling of self-love and appreciation for who we are, without constant comparison to others.
Through becoming more active in everyday life we can benefit both our body and mind and achieve a more balanced life that creates a vibrant, energised and happier self.
Written by Kate Swinson – Wellbeing & Performance Coach and Founder of MEvME
Further information: Log Off: How to stay connected after disconnecting – by Blake Snow
Image by: Blue Osa