Feeling tired and low on energy? Need a mental break? If so, consider taking a break from technology. Believe it or not, it’s one of the best things you can do for your health — and your career.
According to a recent report, the average person spends about six hours and 42 minutes per day online — that’s approximately 100 days a year! In some countries, people spend more than 10 hours daily glued to their computers or mobile devices.
Remember that project you started months ago but never finished? Perhaps you wanted to launch your own business, but you haven’t had time for it. Maybe you’re planning to set up a website or blog, but there’s not enough time in the day to get it done.
Now think about how many hours you’re spending watching TV, surfing the Web, or checking your Facebook newsfeed. The average American spends more than 11 hours per day staring at screens.
If you fall into this category, it’s time to stop.
Life is too short to be glued to a TV or laptop all the time. At the very least, try to unplug at home. Here’s why you should do it and how to kick this habit.
Feeling Overconnected? Take a Break from Technology
Technology has changed the way we live and interact with each other. Today, we can work on the go, pay our bills without leaving home, and store our most precious memories in the cloud.
Modern technology is in the air, food, water, traveling, business, shopping, and healthcare. Every aspect of our daily life depends on it. In this digital era, the world is our oyster.
These perks come at a price, though. We have access to the latest medical technology, but our health is getting worse. Social media fuels anxiety and depression.
The long hours spent watching TV or using the computer are often the culprit behind neck pain, stiff joints, weight gain, heart disease, and everything in between. The blue light emitted by electronic devices affects our sleep, leaving us feeling tired, sluggish and sleep-deprived. You can learn about how sleep deprivation affects our health on Sleeping Culture, or find out how a mattress can help with neck pain or stiff joints on Bedroom Critic.
Let’s take the fear of missing out, or FOMO. This phenomenon can be defined as a type of social anxiety fueled by social media.
People of all ages are constantly checking their Facebook pages, texting while driving, and spending hours on their favorite sites because something more exciting or interesting just might be happening. The lives of others become more important than their own.
According to the American Psychological Association, FOMO is strongly connected to depression and may cause physical symptoms.
In a recent study, subjects who limited the time spent on social media experienced significant reductions in loneliness, depression, and anxiety in as little as one week. Furthermore, research shows that the more we use Facebook, the more our life satisfaction levels decline over time.
Go on a Digital Detox Today — Unplug and Be Present
Like it or not, unplugging from technology is sometimes necessary. There is more to life than Instagram food shots, Facebook status updates, and phone notifications.
There is love, laughter, real food, morning jogs, and stunning sunsets.
Sometimes, the only way to remember these things and start living in the moment again is to unplug from technology.
Sure, you need access to a computer and digital technology at work — and that’s perfectly fine. We’re not saying that you should pack your things and move to a deserted island.
However, you should at least consider taking a break from everything digital the moment you arrive home. It might be exactly what you need to find your inner peace, enjoy a better night’s sleep, and reconnect with your loved ones.
At the end of the day, you’ll feel more content and satisfied with your life and the things around you.
So, are you ready to make the switch? Check out these simple ways to unplug at home so you can feel your best again.
1. Get the TV Out of Your Bedroom
Americans ages 35 to 49 years spend about two and a half hours daily watching TV. Those over 65 dedicate at least 4.5 hours a day to their favorite movies and TV shows.
Few things are more relaxing than binging on Netflix after a long day. Unfortunately, this habit can harm your health in the long run. Back pain, heart disease, insulin resistance, and weight gain are all common issues resulting from prolonged sitting.
Your brain suffers too. A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry has found that sedentary behaviors, such as watching TV, can double the odds of poor mental performance in adults.
As the researchers point out, this activity affects cognition, verbal memory, processing speed, and other factors related to mental function.
Another study suggests that life expectancy decreases by 22 minutes for every hour of watching TV. That means that if you spend six hours a day in front of the screen, you might live about five years less than those who don’t have this habit.
Luckily, you don’t have to give up your favorite movie to live a long, happy life. It’s enough to limit the time spent watching television.
One way to do that is to get the TV out of your bedroom. Do the same with your phone and tablet. You’ll get more sleep, wake up refreshed, and keep your brain sharp. Your sex life might improve too!
2. Set Up a Digital-Free Zone
Looking for a simple way to spend more time with your family? Or perhaps you feel the need for more “me” time?
That’s easy. Set up a digital-free zone in your home.
Ban smartphones, tablets, TVs, and other gadgets in the dining room or kitchen, for example. Choose a room where you gather with your loved ones or relax after work.
3. Create Your Own Home Library
The library is a perfect place to de-stress and let your creative juice flow. Remember when you were a kid and you went to local libraries to escape from daily worries and read your favorite books?
While it’s true that eBooks and online magazines are more convenient, there’s something special about holding an actual book in your hands.
Now that you’re a grownup and have your own place, you can create your very own home library.
Add a bookshelf for books and magazines you want to read. Almost like a mini-library. Borrow a few books from the library every few weeks and enjoy them in your digital-free zone.
If you have children, do the same for them. Build a home library for your kids to instill a love of reading and learning in them.
Be a role model and let your kids see that you read often. Schedule a half an hour every weekend as “family reading time.” This is one of the best gifts you can give to your children in life.
4. Turn Off Email and Social Media Notifications
Despite your best efforts, it can be hard to ignore email notifications and social media alerts.
You might be thinking that it’s your boss sending you an email, or that someone replied to your comments on Facebook. Either way, these things distract your attention and drain your energy.
Freedom, for example, gives you the ability to plan out daily or weekly distraction-free sessions so you can relax and reach peak productivity. It can even sync blocks across all of your devices! Expect to save about two and a half hours per day with this handy app.
5. Track Your Time Spent Online
Do you really know how much time you spend on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other websites every single day? Probably not. In fact, most people underestimate the time spent online.
The truth is that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. Yet, some of us manage to get everything done. Others postpone projects for months or even years, saying that they don’t have enough time.
Simply understanding how much time you spend on your digital devices can be eye-opening.
You can spend one-hour having fun with your friends or shopping at the mall, or you can spend that hour checking your Facebook newsfeed. What would you prefer, honestly?
Most apps are free and have lots of cool features. Users can create groups and share their results, view and compare their activity records, analyze their digital footprints, and more.
Based on this data, you can schedule time for replying to emails and browsing social media. For example, you can check your email as soon as you arrive at work and right before leaving on a daily basis. Turn off email notifications as soon as you arrive home.
Here’s a handy tip: refrain from checking your email and social media pages first thing in the morning. This habit creates unnecessary stress and keeps you from starting your day right.
Take breakfast, read the newspaper, meditate for 10 minutes, or go jogging — literally, do anything other than checking your phone first.
6. Go on a Full Detox
Unfortunately, the above tips don’t work for everyone. Technology addiction is as real it gets.
In fact, there’s even a phenomenon called “phantom ringing” or “phantom vibration,” according to a recent study. In a survey, nearly 70% of respondents said they experienced phantom vibrations.
We get it — technology is an integral part of your daily routine. However, this doesn’t mean you should let it take over your life.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do to is to go on a full detox. Don’t use any screens for a week. You’ll be shocked at how difficult it is and how much time you have to do other things.
Try this strategy while on a vacation.
Schedule a week off and let everyone know that you won’t be available. Go somewhere at the seaside or in a quiet location with limited access to the Internet. If you need a taxi or another service, ask the hotel receptionist to help.
A one-week break from technology can be life-changing. You’ll finally have more time to get active, bond with your kids, and explore your surroundings. On top of that, you’ll feel more refreshed and creative, less stressed, and ready to live life to the fullest.