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I absolutely love technology; when I think of all of the opportunities that it brings and the information at our fingertips it just blows my mind! However, I'm a big believer in moderation - which is why you'll never catch me on a diet, but that's a whole other topic! And, while I love all of the connections that our tech brings, it's important to make sure that it doesn’t have a negative impact on our health, wellbeing and relationships. Consciously unplugging even for short periods of time can be the perfect solution to maintaining balance. That’s why this week I’m sharing some of the benefits of taking a break and a few actions that you can take right away…
How many times a day do you think you check your emails, updates and messages? I bet that it’s a lot more than you think! It's understandable. At the push of a button we can all find something to lose ourselves in for a few minutes - a friend’s news, world events or a cute puppy video. It's always there and very addictive. In those moments we tell ourselves that we're 'just checking' but let’s be honest there's always something else you should be doing, right? Interruptions like this have a huge impact on our concentration levels and afterwards it can take our brains around 20 minutes to get back on track with what we should be doing - just imagine how much time you would save without those interruptions.
Action: Give yourself an allocated time to check in or if you have an important task to finish - switch off until it's done and then reward yourself with time to catch up.
LET GO OF COMPARISON
We don't need social media to fall into the trap of comparison but let's be honest, it doesn't help! Comparing your life, weight or personal achievements to someone else’s is never going to result in a healthy conversation. There are no half measures here and the key is simply to stop. Learn to celebrate what makes you different, develop your feelings of gratitude and stay in your own lane.
Action: Take action right away to avoid contact and unfollow anyone that encourages you down the path of comparison.
BE MORE MINDFUL
I'm a big advocate of mindfulness and although I love my tech, it breaks my heart to see so many people unable to look up and be present even for just a minute or two. If you'd like to learn more then there's a growing mountain of research and science behind mindfulness and i encourage you to do a little research while learning to incorporate it into your day.
Action: Leave your desk and put your phone out of reach. Practice being present - find somewhere you can sit comfortably for a couple of minutes, undisturbed. Focus only on your breath – inhaling and exhaling slowly. Let thoughts come naturally but let them go without getting caught up in them.
Spending hours in front of a screen - including the TV - in the evening can have a big impact on the quality of your sleep. The reason for this is that the brightness of the screen disturbs our circadian rhythms, making it much harder to get fall into a restful sleep. Learn more about how to power down and sleep easier.
Action: Ideally we should stay away from screens for 2-3 hours before sleep; not entirely realistic for most people but start where you can and build it up gradually until you can switch off for at least an hour before bed.
I've written about this before, but just the touch of a button can have you involved in someone's drama, concerned about the future of world economics or worried about your safety. Involuntarily increasing your stress levels like this is not only bad for your health but also bad for your relationships because what do we all typically do when we're feeling stressed? We take it out on the nearest person!
Action: Reduce your consumption of news media sites, especially those that focus on negative news stories - which is probably most of them!
RECONNECT TO THOSE YOU LOVE
When we try to hold a conversation while checking our phones or answering an email - we tell ourselves that we're multi-tasking but, really? The idea that we can achieve several things at once is lovely but it's a dream that we've been sold on for far too long. I'm guilty of this and actually consider myself a recovering multi-tasker – taking it one day at a time! It's feels so good to have face to face conversations, we're human and that's just how we're programmed - try finding time in your day for more of them.
Action: When you’re in the company of someone else, especially at home with those you love the most, turn off the screens and leave your phone out of reach.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.