Our smartphones, tablets, and computers offer a lot of conveniences. We can email, text, and call people from almost anywhere. We can watch any movie we want, anytime. Technology has enabled us to be in constant contact and to be entertained at any moment — but this isn’t always healthy.
In fact, technology addiction is a real phenomenon, and it’s interfering with our professional and personal lives. People are texting and driving, risking their own lives and the lives of others. People spend hours on social media, comparing themselves to others or arguing with strangers about politics. Many of us are doing these things instead of going out with friends, getting some fresh air, relieving stress, and connecting with real, live humans.
Your gadgets could even be interfering with your health. Have you ever skipped the gym or your jog because you got wrapped up in social media or Netflix? Have you ever found yourself still surfing the web two hours later, accidentally missing that yoga class?
If this has happened to you, don’t blame yourself. Technology can be hard to resist — but you can break free of its grip. Taking a technology break is one of the best ways to renew your passion for what really matters, whether it’s relationships, your career, or your efforts to become a healthier version of yourself.
Just like you would do with a teenager, allow yourself a set amount of time outside of work to use your smartphone or other gadgets. When that time is up, put it down and do something else. If possible, shut it off completely.
Block out time on your calendar for your tech break. Choose a time that makes sense for you. Two hours before bed without screens may help you sleep better, and better sleep provides all kinds of health benefits. Or, consider keeping your phone off from the time you wake until you get to work for a distraction-free, refreshing start to your day.
For a longer break, such as a weekend or even a week-long technology vacation, let others know in advance that you’ll be offline. Set up an out-of-office reply. Give out an emergency number to those who truly need it. While you’re offline, read books, explore the outdoors, get a massage, take a hot bath, or engage in other relaxing activities.
Social media is a time suck and can be harmful to self-esteem. And when you’re trying to get healthier, you need all the time and confidence you can muster.
If you have a strong desire to check Twitter, Snapchat, or Facebook throughout the day, put blocks in the way. Take the apps off your phone or tablet. Allow yourself a set amount of checks, like one or two per day. If all else fails, use an app to block the sites on your devices.
The beeps and blips of our devices can actually trigger a compulsion to constantly look at them. So, turn off notifications — either for a few hours at a time, or simply set it up that way permanently. Set times when you will check email and text messages, and don’t worry about them outside of those times. Put your device on “do not disturb” for several hours each day if you can — and definitely at night, when your priority should be sleep.
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