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9 ways to digital detox during lockdown

9 ways to digital detox during lockdown

Lockdown has been difficult for all, and many of us have sought comfort and entertainment online during these strange times. While we aren’t in the office, going out and seeing friends, our phones, laptops and tablets have become our companions instead.

However, too much screen time can still have a negative impact on both our physical and mental health. If you’re finding you can’t go more than a few minutes without looking at one screen or another, you may be suffering from tech stress.

What is tech stress?

Impulses, habits, frustrations and temper tantrums caused by technology are a form of tech stress. Are you constantly scrolling through apps and social media on your phone? Does a low battery send you into a panic? Are you sent into a rage every time you’re left waiting for your laptop to start up?

If technology is causing you stress then your physical and mental health could be suffering because of it.

Whether it’s by working from home or just using it as a means to stay connected or entertained, our increased dependency on technology in our day-to-day lives is likely to result in tech stress at some point.

1. Hide your phone for a while

If you’re anything like me, your phone is always in your hand no matter where you go or what you do. So in order to give your brain a little tech relief, leave your phone at home, upstairs, in your bag, or somewhere that you can’t constantly reach for it.

This will force you to engage more fully in what you’re doing, whether that’s getting outside for some exercise, having conversations over dinner or just reading in peace and quiet.

2. Set ‘No Tech’ times

Set yourself some boundaries that force you to keep some distance from your devices. For example, set a rule that you won’t check social media until lunchtime, or avoid making personal calls or texts during work hours.

In addition to doing wonders for your productivity, it will give you some much-needed time away from the more addicting social media platforms.

3. Call instead of texting, emailing or video chatting

Video chat has been a blessing during lockdown and it’s helped keep many of us sane, but at the end of the day it’s just more time spent on a screen. Some studies have also suggested that video calls drain our energy more than meeting in person, due to how much harder your brain has to work to pick up the usual social cues in a face-to-face conversation.

So next time you need to speak with someone, either for work or for fun, try giving them a call on the phone instead. It may feel a little old fashioned, but it will give your eyes a much needed break from the screen and even allows you some added freedom. You can take a walk while you chat to get some fresh air at the same time.

4. One screen at a time

There’s no chance you can avoid screens altogether, but that doesn’t mean you need to have every device on the go at the same time.

If you’re watching a show on TV or on your laptop, plug your phone in to charge upstairs or switch it off completely. Focus on one thing at a time rather than fulfilling the urge to switch, swap, swipe, scroll your hours away.

5. Search, don’t scroll

A positive intention behind your searches can do wonders for making the content you find more meaningful and engaging. Think about what you’re switching that screen on for before you do. Are you searching for a specific recipe, or films on a certain topic, or just browsing in the hope of eventually finding something interesting?

Don’t leave it up to algorithms to decide what you should be reading or watching, stream with intention and it will make your online experience more fulfilling.

6. Limit the news

It’s understandable that we want to know what’s happening with the pandemic and the lockdown, but it’s very easy to get caught in a negative news cycle and feel worse-off mentally as a result.

Checking the news over and over again isn’t going to make it any better and is sure to be a major cause of stress. By all means stay informed, but limit your news intake to once or twice a day, making sure you only trust reliable, verified news sources.

7. Get physical

There’s a digital answer for everything these days, but the physical act of holding a book in your hands or writing with a pen and paper is incredibly soothing.

Whether you’re planning your next holiday or writing that novel you always thought you should write, put your ideas down on some old school paper. Pick up a book instead of a kindle and give your eyes a rest from staring at a backlit screen.

8. Ban smartphones at family mealtime

You probably do this already, but it’s a good idea to lay down the law to your kids, your partner and yourself that family mealtime means time away from tech.

9. Don’t have your phone near your bed

Tech stress can wreak havoc with your sleep patterns, especially if you stay up late scrolling through your phone or your tablet. Be sure to switch your phone to silent with the notifications off and plug it in to charge overnight away from your bed.

Resist the temptation to check your phone if you wake up during the night as it will make it that much harder to get back to sleep.

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