Discover how cutting back on tech-time can help change your life and connect with what really matters…
Be honest – how long has it been since you last checked your mobile phone or social media pages? If you won’t even admit the true number to yourself, you’re headed down a slippery slope! While it’s good to keep in touch and hard to get away from the fact that we live in a fast-paced world that thrives and relies on all-things technology, it’s also important to remember that the gadgets we rely on can also be a major cause of stress and disconnection from what really matters.
If you think you may be addicted to your smartphone and couldn’t even bear the thought of going for a few hours without checking your social media pages, then maybe it’s time for a digital detox. It is regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress, to focus more on true social interaction with friends and loved ones and establish a connection with Mother Nature. Claimed benefits include increased mindfulness, lowered anxiety and an improved sense of gratitude for your environment. So put your phone down, log out, switch off and follow Pandora’s easy guide to getting more creativity, connectivity and enjoyment out of life!
Why is it important to take time out away from technology?
Taking a digital detox in whatever form this is to you personally (ditching the smartphone, stopping using the PC, sitting at the table and conversing with family rather than sitting in front of the television), can give our over-stimulated brains a good rest and allow us to bring our attention to our internal dialogue. By letting go of constant distractions, even for short periods of time, we can find moments of peace in our otherwise very hectic world. From this we can understand our emotions more and our decisions. We start to tap into our intuition and inner compass – and this even works down to our food choices!
What effect can dependence on technology have on our well-being?
Smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions produce a blue light which can suppress our natural production of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone in our body which controls our sleep cycle, so a lack of this hormone means our natural sleep is thrown off course. Furthermore, the amount of time we spend on our phones means we can often lose connection to the ‘real’ world. We start comparing our life against others, causing anxiety to build as we feel like we aren’t achieving compared to other people’s success. It can be hard to see Instagram as this imaginary world, but in truth, it is. Rarely do we see people share the heartache, the stressful day or the anxiety. These are things to bear in mind.
What signs should you look out for?
If you feel unsettled or anxious without your phone, this could be a good sign you’re taking it too far. If the first thing in the morning and last thing you do at night is check your emails/messages or social media, start checking yourself. If you can’t go for a full day without being in front of a computer screen, this could also be a sign that you’re disconnected from the real world. When was the last time you spent the day without a phone in your hand, talking to your loved ones? When was the last time you walked in nature without a care in the world? If you can’t remember, it’s time to take action!
Mind overflowing with negative or anxious thoughts? Try this simple meditation!
• Whenever you feel the need to start checking your phone, just take two or three minutes to slow things down and clear your mind.
• Sit in a quiet spot if possible and take a moment to close your eyes. Take a long, slow, deep breath in, filling your lungs with air as your belly expands outwards.
• When your lungs are completely full, hold your breath for a few seconds before exhaling deeply and slowly.
• Release the breath slowly, allowing your stomach to gently settle. Affirm that you feel calmer and more at ease. You don’t need technology at this time.
STOP BEING A SCREEN SLAVE!
1 Get into the habit of turning off all gadgets and wifi in the house an hour before sleeping, or you can even go as far as turning it off all night, once a week. Instead, take a warm bath with Epsom salts, which are great for repairing and restorative for the body. Before bed, it can make you feel clean and recharged. The bath is physically, but also mentally, cleaning away the day and preparing you for a stress-free night.
2 Create some boundaries – such as ‘no phones before the office’, or to ‘connect with the physical world after 8pm’. Make your own rules and stick to them.
3 Turn off all notifications on your phone and set a time to check your phone two to three times each day. By turning off notifications, you aren’t constantly bombarded with opportunities to check your phone. You can even opt not to have Facebook or messenger on your phone, and only check Instagram once a day.
4 Prune your social media garden. Leave online groups you never engage in, and unfriend people you haven’t spoken to in years. Stop following blogs for people who make you feel bad or anxious about yourself. Unsubscribe from lists or sites you never read. De-clutter and enjoy the feeling of Zen that comes with it!
5 A clean space can amount to a clean mind. When it comes to your sleeping environment, make sure it is quiet and ventilated, as well as dark. This will stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, helping you to restore energy. Your sleep will improve and in turn, you’ll find you have more energy and a kinder outlook on life.
6 Take time once a day to venture out for a brief walk in nature without your phone or other technology close to you. What sounds do you hear? What sights do you see that you may have otherwise ignored because you were checking your phone or listening to music?
Known for her intuitive approach, Pandora Paloma works to help guide and heal others. She is dedicated to her service to support individuals to return to their roots – their truest form – and in turn their truest potential using nutrition, intuitive eating support, life coaching, meditation, visualisations, Reiki, yoga and healing practices including energy work. For more information, visit rootedlondon.com