Take a few minutes to gather your thoughts during a busy working day, and you might find yourself shocked by how many people you see fixated on their smart phones and tablets. Instead of engaging with the world around us, we’ve become used to checking our social media apps, playing the latest game or reading emails, and as a result we’re constantly ‘plugged in’. While some of us are strict with how much time their children spend online, we don’t appear to be very good at self-policing. If this sounds familiar, then trying a digital detox could be just what you need, and to help you along your way, here are our five top tips for having a healthy relationship with technology.
Take baby steps
Giving up technology altogether may not be as easy or as practical as you think. Ease yourself in by starting with a one-hour digital detox and then move on to attempt a web-free weekend. Plan activities that involve friends and family – this will help eliminate the risk of being tempted to go back online. Also try to get into the habit of fully switching off from technology – having your computer on in the background or keeping your phone in your pocket means tech is still squatting in your life, even if you’re not directly engaging with it.
Switch up your bedtime routine
Invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock, and you will no longer have to rely on your phone to wake you up, which will mean you don’t sleep with it under your pillow or next to your head. We also recommend leaving your phone or tablet outside of the bedroom too, and instead opt to read a proper book. Research has shown that the bright backlight in electronic devices can actually help to stimulate your brain, making it harder to go to sleep at night.
Start a technology swear-jar
Whether you live with friends or family, a technology swear jar is a fun way to highlight how often you check or use your phone while at the dinner table or during a conversation. You may be surprised by just how quickly it fills up! After a week or so, you can use the money collected for a ‘gadget free’ excursion.
Give yourself an allowance
Try to establish a daily time allowance for your devices, as this will make it easier to stick to your detox. If you find that you tend to spend time simply browsing, then we recommend installing an anti-procrastination app on your laptop or smart phone. Tools such as SelfControl or Cold Turkey limit how often you spend time browsing on sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
Try new activities where technology is banned
From personal training in the park to yoga, swimming and even visiting the cinema! These kinds of group classes or activities don’t allow or need the use of a smart phone, making it much easier to embrace your digital detox.
Which of our tips do you think you will try first? Do let us know how you get on in the comments – or share any digital detox secrets of your own! Tweet us @lizearle and tell us your thoughts.
The Liz Earle Beauty Team x