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Returning from a digital detox holiday Singer-songwriter and iPhone lover Katie Noonan said “We live in the age of over-stimulation and it really has affected my ability to relax, my nervous system and my sleep”.
It’s a fact that many people are now so hopelessly addicted to technology that it is affecting their health and wellbeing. So much so that some trend-setting hotels are now offering discounts as incentives to take their digital detox holidays.
A recent study found that most people, with the exception of the over 50’s, check their smart phones at least every 15 minutes. Another found that many people were in such a state of email expectancy that they suffer from “phantom vibrations” from messages that don’t exist.
Stress management expert Neil Shah says “we are victims of information overload, hyperstimulated, trying to process too much. Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell said that technology is the new cigarette. People are becoming addicted without even realizing it.
Are you a victim of Tech Stress? If so then it’s time to do a digital detox but you don’t have to take an expensive holiday to do it. Simply follow these 5 tips.
1. Check Your Checking
Constantly checking emails, Facebook, Twitter, reading online newspapers and browsing shopping sites means your mind is whizzing with a dozen things all the time. Your brain and eyes deserve a break so you need to find a way to calm them down.
Find something else to do when you catch yourself about to check your phone or computer. Read a couple of pages of a book instead. Go for a walk or spend time on a hobby you enjoy.
Look around you and take in your surroundings. Watch other people. Notice things about them. This, according to nerolinguistic consultant Matt Caulfield brings you back to the present.
If you can’t resist checking your computer, there are some programs you can use that can lock you out of the internet for a given time.
2. Set a time limit
Make sure there are times when you go tech free. Consider turning your phone off from 9 pm to 8 am.
If you can’t do that straight away put your phone away for 30 minute periods. Gradually increase the time you switch off. You can even get a digital detox app for an android phone that will lock you out for a time that you specify.
Banning your phone from the bedroom will help you get a better night’s sleep according to one study.
3. Set boundaries
Although it’s important to be contactable when you are at work or by your children and elderly relatives you can let others know that you are not available all the time. We managed quite well before we had cell (mobile) phones but it’s hard now to think how.
Make use of auto-responders to encourage people to call you only if it’s important.
Let people know that you are going to do a digital detox. Invite them to join you. A weekend digital detox is easier if you have support.
4. Disconnect and reconnect
Start to think about what you want to know or need to know. Take control and stop filling your head with too much information.
Do you need to know what all your Facebook friends are doing all the time? Consider using the filters so you only see the updates of people you are really close to. Scale back on who you follow on Twitter.
5. Make a plan
Decide when you are going to do your digital detox and go for it. Christmas is the perfect opportunity to turn off your computer and smart phone. Nearly everyone is on holiday and there isn’t the usual expectation that you will be available.
Think also about doing a digital detox whenever you follow a detox diet. There is no doubt that a break from tech stress can refresh you, relax you and allow you to reconnect with yourself and family. Try it!
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Picture by Adam Selwood