2020 has already tested us enough, I know. But I have a challenge for you this Christmas. Upon reflecting on this this, think about how we have all longed for a bit of normality. Even if it may just be a few days over Christmas.
Technology is designed to utilise the basic human need to feel a connection with people or a sense of belonging. That’s, in essence, why is can be so troubling.
Technology addiction, although not recognised as a disorder, is very troubling. A digital detox is when a person refrains from using tech devices and apps. So this Christmas, why not do a 24hour digital detox? Make the most of reconnecting in real life rather than connecting to strangers or following the lives of others online. Make up for lost time and celebrate that some lockdown rules have been lifted for a few days.
Even the festive joy of Christmas is more about whether you got the latest Apple device or you have downloaded the latest social media app. By taking steps to reduce stress that stems from the addiction to constant connectivity or the ‘connectivity creep’ you are giving yourself chance to focus on real life social interactions. Being online at during this time only amplifies the stress people already feel during Christmas and given the year we have had, we don’t need no more stress!
Most people say they’re ‘hooked’ to their devices and ironically there are even apps to help measure the time you’re online. Have you ever sat with a friend or family member who is so engrossed in their phone? Or maybe you yourself are guilty of ‘smart-snubbing’? When you’re spending so much time glued to you phone or laptop it has negative effects on your relationships, sleep, family, school and work.
We are constantly surrounded by technology and that because of an explosion of the digital age. Now don’t get me wrong, I know it has many advantages but making the choice to switch off for a little, will benefit you in so many ways.
If you are feeling the strain of this dysfunctional capitalistic society we live in then jump on the ‘web wagon’ and make a choice to a healthier balance between technology and life beyond the screen. There are things you can do to help prevent the adverse health effects excessive technology use has on a person.
Turning it off would be the most obvious answer, give it up and enjoy your time without interference. There are now apps to track accurate data and will tell you the average usage time. Monitoring screen time and setting targets to reduce this will increase mindfulness. Switching off notifications that are scientifically proven to reduce attention span. Turning you phone on silent will mean you will only check when you want.
Make plans that don’t involve technology, reconnect with nature, play board games, meditate. Whether it be chatting with grandparents, or even helping clear away what’s left of the Christmas Dinner. It is a sentiment I’m certainly getting on board with. (Who doesn’t want a hand in the kitchen)
Taking time for yourself that make you enjoy life more and will be liberating. Maybe it would be a day with friends or family or just a day to sit in and listen to music. Music has been proven to have beneficial effects on stress levels. Now I realise that music is played on a device but switching off, closing your eyes and actively listening is more therapeutic than scrolling endlessly for hours.
Set achievable goals over the festive period. Make sure they’re realistic, you may want to cut down screen time before completely cutting it out. No technology at the table or only at specific times will help reevaluate your priorities. Understanding that time spent is not something you get back so why waste it with glued to technology that is surrounding us, addicting us.
So this Christmas be more conscious about what you do with not only your time but with your thoughts. Improve your listening skills by decreasing distractions. Become more productive by seeking time away from the internet.
This festive season may well provide the perfect opportunity for some digital downtime.
Enjoy more family time and feel refreshed for the New Year!