By Serena Khemaney
From smartphones to sat navs, to televisions and iPads, we are constantly surrounded by screens. We wake up to them, we return home to them and we carry them around in our pockets the entire day. Some of us are addicted to checking our phones. We check them in our lectures, at the cinemas, when we’re with others. No wonder this increasing influence can be detrimental to our health, both physical and mental. Yes, technology is super useful to us in our day-to-day lives but there comes a time when we just need a detox.
I am a huge advocate of taking a digital detox from time to time. It has an extremely grounding and calming influence on me – it’s like relaxing at a spa, watching your favourite film or doing whatever you feel is therapeutic. Read the following tips to avoid becoming enslaved to your smartphone.
Firstly, make a list of all the gadgets you own, set a daily allowance for each of them. Make sure you stick to your allowance by ensuring your targets are achievable and realistic. If you gradually decrease the time you spend checking your email, notifications, Instagram and snapchat stories, and involve yourself in other activities, you’ll soon notice that you don’t feel the urges to check as strongly.
Try reading a book, going for a run, gardening, or meeting friends for a coffee. These activities are an excellent way to distract yourself from your phone. Going to the gym is one of the best ways I distract myself from social media. It’s the perfect way to kill time, makes you healthy, releases endorphins which makes you feel good about yourself. It’s a win-win situation. Also, once I wake up I refrain from checking my phone for at least 30 mins while I meditate, make breakfast and get ready for my day. Sometimes I’ll be old-school and read the newspaper instead of checking the BBC news app. It’s the little things that make a difference.
Secondly, remove any distractions when you’re with friends and family. Just enjoy their company, give them undivided attention, without worrying about what your friends are doing. Moreover, not everything needs to be insta-storied or known. Social media clearly destroys the element of mystery, as it’s made our lives so public. Anybody can know where you are on holiday or what you’re having for dinner. It’s intriguing to be secretive and mysterious for a while; let people wonder what you’re doing rather than watching it on your story. It will make for an enjoyable conversation later, trust me.
Always ask ‘why’ when you pull out your phone. Sometimes we use our phone to distract, avoid, or ignore whatever is happening right in front of us. Understand this is rude, and is impolite for who you’re with as they might presume you don’t enjoy their company. If you’re finding your detox difficult, try it with a buddy, it makes it so much easier.