Are You Ready for a Digital Detox?
Don’t be overwhelmed by all the screens in your life.
That desire to check our phones for email, texts, social media updates and breaking news. Add in some binge TV watching, and most of our free time is spent staring at screens and it’s affecting our health.
Living in a world where technology is our constant companion, we need to take a step back sometimes. That’s why digital detox’s are on the rise.
Screen time affects our ability to sleep
Harvard scientists are warning us about screen time in the evening. They’ve shown that the bright light from screens prohibits our brains’ ability to produce melatonin, a chemical that balances our sleep-wake cycles.
On top of that, the physical act of responding to emails and other media increases tension. Our bodies produce a stress hormone called cortisol, which releases glucose in our bloodstream and further hinders our ability to settle down and get the sleep that we need.
These are chemical responses. There is nothing you can do to reverse them except to stop them from occurring.
Laying the ground rules for a digital detox
Rules can help us change our bad habits. The first rule is for weeknights, and it’s twofold. Ask yourself:
“At what time will I not look at my phone?”
“When will I stop watching TV?”
Make sure you give yourself enough time to relax each night.
The second rule is for the weekends, and it might be even more challenging. Ask yourself:
“For one day every weekend, can I only use my phone for calls?”
That means no internet, no texts and no emails.
More than just sleep
The words mindfulness and balance may sound like they belong in a yoga studio, they may also be fundamental to our health as we get older.
It’s about spending time in the moment with the people you love, and fostering the relationships that matter most. Or finding the time for personal and professional development, which might be a more productive way to advance your career than responding to emails when most people are getting ready for bed. Maybe you’ll use this newfound time to cook a fancy meal on a weeknight or go for a long evening walk. Maybe you’ll spend some meaningful time with the kids.
Whatever you choose, be in the moment … not on your phone.