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A lot of people today begin and end their days staring at their mobile phones or computers. Teachers, as well, spend most of their daytime (and nighttime too) googling, reading, messaging, or watching videos in between, whether at work or for leisure.
With this kind of setup, how do you unplug from technology and relax?
Detaching from the digital world once in a while is proven to combat the stress associated with teaching. It probably takes so much effort on your part to do this, but you reap the benefits of freeing yourself from digital screens when you practice it.
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Why is it so hard to disconnect from the digital world?
How many times have you attempted to stay away from Facebook? You also must have tried to avoid clicking a news link yet found yourself sitting and reading it. Many times you feel guilty about heading to bed so late at night from being hooked on YouTube.
We have become dependent on technology that we hardly can detach. Whether it’s just to check for messages or look for a recipe – two minutes on the internet seem not enough. We also have become addicted and in fact, have connected our feelings to the convenience of the digital world.
The result of this is that we found comfort and company in our phones. We no longer feel alone. Plus, along with the wonderful visuals social media are bringing to the table coupled with instant messaging that connects us quickly to the other side of the world – who will not fall into the spell of technology?
So to somehow detach ourselves from being overtaken by the digital world, take a look at these simple steps so you too can free yourself from the glare of a computer screen and take back some power.
How Do You Unplug from Technology and Relax?
10 Techniques to Master
1) Allocate a certain place for your gadgets
If you have your digital devices always within reach, it’s also quick to grab any of them and start googling. Remember, visiting your favorite sites or sneaking into your special choices of YouTube channels is so tempting.
Allocate a special area for your digitals where you can put your laptop, mobile phones, and tablets safely upon reaching home from work. This spot could be a charging place for all digital devices in the house.
This way, they are not next to you. Since it requires you to physically walk to that area, not only does it save you from moment-by-moment contact with your phone, but it also lessens the want to touch them.
2) Go to bed without your phone close to you
You probably have told yourself that hanging up on social media at night is already a no-no. Good! However, having a mobile phone next to you can disrupt sleep due to the blue light it emits when used in the dark increasing your exposure to radiation.
When the brain finds it hard to switch off, you too cannot relax to the fullest. Bedtime is supposed to be for recharging the body. Even your boss needs quiet time. Important messages and emails can wait until the first working hour the next day.
At times when you can’t sleep right away, a phone that is just beside you tempts the brain into thinking for some wee-time scrolling. If that happens, technology likewise has tricked the brain to stay awake and lend you sleeplessness.
3) Set a no gadgets time of the day
An effort to plan more activities that don’t include technology is 100% possible. Why? Because there are plenty of things you can do at home to keep everyone off their mobile devices.
A no-more cellphones an hour before dinner, for instance, discourages family members from glancing at their phones. Children can help prepare the table and it’s going to be wonderful dinnertime having everyone’s attention together. A no-gadget time encourages communication, boosts focus in children’s studies, and opens up the chance of sleeping early.
With gadgets at bay, it allows everyone to be present. Thus, interaction is alive! All these will reduce the amount of time spent on gadgets. It sounds impossible in the beginning but with discipline and practice, everything will take its place.
4) Introduce yourself to solitude
Solitude is some quiet time alone that frees the mind. This already includes freeing up yourself from the glares of technology. Me me-time moments allow your brain to think outside the box as you engage in an activity that you’re comfortable with.
Doing things alone carves out time to let your mind wander. With the silence from being away from gadgets, you also learn to listen to your thoughts, enhance your focus, and reach deep within yourself. Indulge in a hot bubble bath, go to an exercise class, spend time on a hobby, or read a favorite book or magazine.
Think of ways you can find solitude. This doesn’t mean excluding yourself from people. It simply means leaning into a certain amount of quality time particularly if you are always on the go and struggling to slow down.
5) Nurture a hobby
Working creatively with your hands is old-fashioned, yes. But nurturing a hobby is both a health saver and inspiration. Tech-free hobbies that you can enjoy could be knitting a sweater, scrapbooking, making jewelry, building furniture, or simply mending torn clothes.
Flour, eggs, butter, and sugar are not just plain ingredients for a cake, but also a wholesome hobby that gives you a chance to turn off your screen and live in the moment. This is one pastime where the end result is that you and your kids get a snack right after you’re done.
Transforming what you enjoy as your system’s mainstay reclaims the childhood interests that complete you. Who knows, learning the value of occasionally unplugging from technology might lead you to engage in a hobby that makes money.
6) Log out of social media & schedule
No, I don’t mean deactivating your account. The suggestion is to log out just to reduce engagement. It’s quick and easy to hit the app and you’re instantly twirling your way into social media. But if you have to type in your username and password every time, it pulls you back to your senses whether to log in or not.
Try using only one device to check social media. Activating all access from a desktop, laptop, and on your phone keeps you connected. The more devices you use, the quicker it is to connect. Focusing on one device trains the mind to control the urge of scrolling now and again.
Scheduling is another sure-fire way to limit time online. This strategy gives you control over when to connect and disconnect. In fact, allowing one to two hours a day to check and respond to emails is smart.
7) Turn off as many push notifications as possible
Imagine all the notifications bombarding you all day. Your reaction is to respond to everything right away, correct? Well, with them off, you will feel the freedom of working smoothly without distractions.
Keeping yourself abreast with the seemingly never-ending dinging tones, soon you find yourself shifting your focus away from what you are doing. With a sea of notifications, 2 minutes of time checking becomes 10, 20, and 30 minutes of distraction.
The thing about notifications is that they hijack attention by enticing you to go check as much time as possible on them. Turn them off and set aside time later in the day to check. This will reduce the amount you needlessly check things that probably aren’t even important.
8) Deactivate your mobile data
The problem with digital addiction is that it doesn’t stop increasing. With all the time spent, distraction, and damage, you really have to intentionally unplug from the noise of the digital world.
Try deactivating the mobile internet data feature on your phone while at work and when you get home. If at any time you truly need mobile data, simply turn it on, use it, then turn it back off.
Don’t worry, you are still able to make and receive messages except that you cannot access the internet until you reconnect to a Wi-Fi network.
9) Keep yourself on a schedule
Among the most effective way of unplugging yourself off your phone is by setting alarms. You can set every hour, every 3 hours, or thirty minutes each day to respond to messages and notifications.
When your alarm sounds, feel free to go through emails and notifications. Don’t forget to reset the timer once you’re done. This system helps you detach, forget about your phone or laptop, and minimize response anxiety.
Smartphone addiction takes so much from you, but doing something about it goes a long way. Tell your friends and family that you may not be responding to their messages as quickly as you used to.
You don’t have a Time Timer? Click here.
10) Spend time with family and friends
Spending time with those you love is a perfect way to unplug. It could be your children, pet, best friend, or neighbor. Simply engaging with them can significantly reduce your tech time, while at the same time strengthening your bonds and relationships.
This also saves your kids from getting habituated to using technology at a very young age. Family time, whether just talking, playing board games, baking, or any other interesting activity disconnects you from technology.
What makes get-togethers so special is that they involve real people, real places, and real experiences. The positive feeling will reinforce how you progress from going digital-free.
Imagine how a device that has been designed to make communications easy can end up being a hindrance to one’s health. How ironic. But we have to face it – our being addicted and extremely dependent on technology has disconnected us from reality.
Screen-free breaks unplug us from technology. It’s like a reboot to the brain. We don’t have to perfect all the strategies. Picking up any of the above approaches can be very effective in helping all of us destress from technology and enjoy the experience in peace.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) How can we stop phones and computers from making us stressed?
Considering technology as today’s constant variable, a mindful approach along with dedicated hours for managing messages is the best way to spare us from stress. Putting health and safety is another strong motivator without suffering from the burn-out computers and gadgets tend to bring in.
1) Can watching YouTube videos relieve stress?
Watching videos at some point is a mental health backer. However, it still connects you to the internet and your goal is to unplug from the online world. Going outside technology remains the best approach to relieve stress. Take a walk, listen to music (without headphones), go dancing, find the sun, or breathe with nature.
3) How can we manage technology at home?
The larger picture here is that technology doesn’t exist without humans and society. According to the Social Construction of Technology theory, technology is not fully adopted unless there are interested parties willing to align themselves around using technology for a common purpose.
Just as we all abide by traffic laws for safety and convenience, we also need to agree on appropriate rules set around the proper phone and computer use, whether at home or at work.
4) Can computer radiation damage your eyes?
So far, there is no scientific evidence that computer radiation is harmful to the eyes. Most reasons for eye issues are discomfort and fatigue associated with ergonomic factors such as your distance from the monitor, the height of your monitor, and the brightness of the screen.
However, with the way users use devices along with the increase in their use, there is a growing fear that blue light emitted from these electronic devices can dry the eyes causing sleep disturbances and eye strain.
5) Is it harmful to keep your phone in your pocket?
It is a lot more convenient to bring your phone with you wherever you go. But mobile phones emit more microwave frequency radiation as they continually communicate with network towers. Putting a mobile phone in your pocket passes radiation to your body second by second which is multiple times riskier than when you place it in the bag.
How about you? How do you unplug from technology and relax? Share them in the comments.