Time for a change
I remember the days when Social Media and electronic devices didn’t exist. I remember the days when I (personally) would spend hours of my day, care free and out in the fresh air.
Although it has become an integral part of today’s everyday life. It is fair to suggest that Social Media and the influx of digital devices have simply become part of our everyday routine. Where the phone or tablet is constantly by our side and our need to use it, perhaps becomes greater now than ever.
For some, almost bordering upon an addiction.
Recognising it being overused if half the battle. Taking yourself away from Social Media and then regularly putting your phone to one side, can almost certainly improve your life. Making significant improvements to your overall behaviour and more importantly your Mental Health.
In this particular blog post I hope to highlight some easy and practical ways for you to DETOX, without worrying about what you’re missing out on.
That Social Media has certainly become an integral part of our everyday lives, with facts showing that we’re spending more time than ever on our digital devices—anywhere from one to two hours daily. Of course this does depend on which study you consult, but with the constant flood of incoming texts, emails, calls, and push notifications, it’s hard to suggest our devices are rarely in the dark for more than a moment.
Worryingly, the average age of the digital user is gradually becoming younger and younger. With many children increasingly using digital devices, as a means of communicating with others and being visually stimulated (for hours on end) by playing games.
In my lifetime alone, this dramatic technological shift has been very significant indeed. As a child, I would spend my days in the outdoors and would love nothing more than embracing the fresh air, climbing trees, going for walks and playing out on my bike.
Nowadays, the digital age seems to be dictating and shaping the way we view ourselves, our lives and sadly the future of mankind. With this vicious cycle taking a toll on our overall health, mental well-being and the relationships we establish with others.
Continued research and studies also report that there is a direct link between various forms of technology with growing levels of depression, anxiety and decreased marital satisfaction, to name just a few.
What can we do?
Living a good well balanced lifestyle is really important and probably the main answer to this growing and potentially destructive problem. Finding a solution and helping to end the cycle, doesn’t need drastic measures. After all, stripping technology away from our lives completely is probably not the best solution in the long run. So a trial separation from your gadgets or to use them less is probably the way forward.
By following a few practical and simple steps, you can stay plugged in and also “detox” at the same time, helping you feel more fulfilled with life, calm, and connected.
5 ideas you can easily implement into your daily routine
Slowly POWER DOWN your DAY
It is important to start somewhere and start slow. You have never been able to run before you can crawl, so be patient.
Make positive advances, don’t look at your phone and put it to one side. One day for 15 minutes. The next day, try this for 30 minutes and then gradually for longer. To build on your success designate one day a week to stay away from social media and then for longer if it is possible.
Turn off your notifications
Push messages and notifications always draw you in and as a result, through habit you continually reach for the device and then immediately read them. I have learnt to 'turn them off' and start to limit when and how frequently you check your device.
I feel this is a positive way forward, as one push message can lead us to continue looking at the device and through various apps for up-to 15 minutes at a time. Anyone who has a messaging service, email or social media accounts will know that this goes with the territory.
Go to bed early and turn devices off
Sleep is massively important for both body and mind. Feeling settled and content with life comes from establishing good sleep patterns and getting some rest. Going to bed at a reasonable hour is a good thing. Putting the phone away is also a great positive.
Keeping your phone close to your bed and then using it as an alarm is something we all do. Unfortunately, it leads us to temptation and as a result there is nothing there to stop us picking it up reading and checking it all of the time.
If the device has 'do not disturb' mode then it is easy to put it into sleep mode. Otherwise it will buzz, light up and annoy you from dusk until dawn.
Limit your play time
If you are an addictive gamer or have other members of the family who fall into that category, it is vitally important to begin limiting the amount of time spent on a device. Set a time scale for its use and then really stick to it.
One hour a day is more than enough, especially for youngsters. Monitor carefully what the hour is used for and make sure rules are not broken. Games are addictive and it is easy to be sucked into that alternative reality. Even more difficult to get out of it!
In my previous post Getting Back To Nature, I suggested using just 30 minutes of your day to basically get outside and enjoy what is going on around you. Enjoy a sport, hobby or even spend more valuable time with the ones you love.
I'm an advocate of the outdoors and the main thrust of my website is to promote it. I feel it is extremely important and any pursuit in the outdoors need not cost a fortune. In fact, it is fair to suggest many of the best things in life are actually free.
Like going for a walk, run, swim in a lake or riding your bike are all easy ways to fulfil a healthy lifestyle. It is easy to do! Try it… you might be surprised how this becomes part of the new improved you.
In writing this post, I must make it very clear that I don’t have all the answers. And in writing this, I was required to use my computer and internet in order to type the required content.
Without sounding too much like a hypocrite. I still think I have a lot to learn, but raising awareness and becoming more aware of the issues surrounding this subject. I have learnt that there are definitely alternatives and the more I read and peruse. It is clear... Social Media need not take over your life.
With those thought in mind. I continue to look for alternatives and attempt to make improvements to my life, wherever possible. By establishing a healthy life balance and spending more time outdoors, especially with people and activities that distract me from some of the issues raised above.
Hopefully, my thoughts and stories will continue to resonate and as a result lead others to look at their lives and make a subtle change. Whether we like to hear this or not, it remains a growing problem and without raising significant awareness and then making a change for the better. It will probably get worse, in the years to come, becoming an increasingly difficult topic to handle with the younger generation.
Big thanks for reading!