Updated: Sep 4, 2021
They don't call it lazy Sundays for nothing! If you were to pick one day of the week to unplug from the world, even for a few hours, what day would that be? Maybe Switch Off Sunday!
We are all attached to our phones and social media, in other words, sometimes we are slaves to technology. I admit I know I am, however, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to decrease my use to give my brain a break. Switching off is all part of improving your mental health and wellbeing.
Our brain takes in copious amounts of information every minute of every day, except when we are asleep.
There are a number of ways to unplug throughout the day:
Don’t use your phone as your alarm clock – I can hear some of you gasp, but maybe go old school and leave the phones to charge in the kitchen. This way it eliminates the urge to check social media or emails the minute you wake up. Give your brain some time to enjoy the morning without being bombarded from the get-go. This one is hard for me to let go.
Read a book instead of using your iPad – yes this is both old school and can be inconvenient especially when travelling, but if you are looking at a screen all day and then in your down time for reading you are still looking at a screen, it doesn’t give your eyes time to rest. Personally, I love reading books, just holding them makes me feel like I’m already relaxing.
Make checking social media a reward – there are times when we implement limits of social media use for our kids, why not lead by example and put in place a self-implementation that you can’t look at social media until you’ve done one, two or three things that don’t require the use of technology and once you have done those you can check your phone for 30 mins. Then you can’t use it again until you’ve done something else that doesn’t require using technology.
Be ruthless with your notifications – do you really need to be notified every time someone likes your post or an email is delivered to your inbox? Go through your notifications and see if there are some things you can turn off. Check them when it’s convenient for you, rather than being on call constantly having your phone ping causing you a distraction.
Exercise without your phone – yes, it’s handy to use it for listening to music, but how many tines do you get interrupted by phone calls. Either switch your phone to ‘do not disturb’ or get an iPod and use it instead to listen to music. The world won’t end if you aren’t contactable for an hour or so. This is your time to do something for you and people should respect that. I've actually found that I enjoy my morning walks without listening to music as it's open my eyes to see more of what is around me.
Holiday hiatus – we are all guilty of using our phone to take pictures and post every minute of our holiday on social media. Again, this is supposed to be a holiday and you don’t want to miss being in the moment enjoying what’s in front of you. Memories will last forever, but being present is a special thing you can’t get back, so why not limit your temptation of documenting your every move by making a pact with yourself that you only post your memories at the end of every day or even every few days.
Dedicate a technology free day or timeframe – this can be daunting or tricky, especially if your phone is attached to your hip, but if you can’t do a tech free day, maybe make it as simple as no phones during dinnertime; or no phones after 7pm or make Sunday afternoon from 2pm – 5pm as your downtime. If you let your family and friends know that you won’t be contactable on a certain day during a set timeframe, then they will know not to call you – unless it’s an emergency. This comes back to setting healthy boundaries.
The world won't end just because we decide to put our health & wellbeing first.
Why not start this afternoon and try a few hours without technology. Go for a walk instead; being out in nature is very healing and is great for stress relief.