Smartphone with chain and padlock

On 1st March 2019, our friends across the pond are getting involved in a National Day of Unplugging, encouraging people to have a 24-hour digital detox.  In an increasingly digital world it is hard to imagine going without technology for any significant length of time.  Think about how often you reach for your phone to have a quick scroll throughout the day, most of us do this without even realising it.  Could you go 24-hours completely digital free?

From apps, like WhatsApp, replacing phone calls to Home Assistants, like Alexa, helping us to find recipes, play music or even control the lighting and heating in our home, digital has crept into every aspect of our lives.  So, it’s not surprising that the idea of going completely digital free can cause people to break out in a bit of a cold sweat.  But taking the time to switch off every now and then can have great benefits, including promoting better sleep, being more active and engaging with those directly around us rather than through a screen.

Why not give it a go and see if you can go without your technology for a while.  To help you with this, we’ve come up with some non-digital activities you could do instead:

1. Read an actual book

Not a Kindle, not an iPad, an actual real paper book.  Studies have shown that reading printed text, as opposed to on screen text, uses a different part of our brain and has a positive impact on our stress levels and eye health.  So, put down your e-reader and pick up a paperback.

For more information on the benefits of reading books take a look at this article on the SPS website.

2. Go for a walk

When our heads are buried in technology it can be easy to miss things going on around us when we are out and about.  You will be surprised how much you notice if you leave the technology at home and go for a walk without the distractions of music or your phone beeping away, drawing your attention.

3. Spend quality time with family or friends

With round the clock communications now so easy with Facetime, Skype and social media platforms, it’s easy to think we are connecting with people more than ever before.  But the connections we make through a screen can never replace the connections we make when we meet our loved ones face-to-face.  Even when we meet in person today, we often get easily distracted by notifications or messages popping up on our phone.  Putting your phone away and giving someone your full attention can make such a difference to the time you spend together.

4. Rediscover a hobby

We’ve all had that time when we thought we’d just have a “quick look” at Facebook and before you know it, you are in a scroll hole losing hours to mindless swiping through updates of old school friends you never see or clickbait articles full of adverts.  Think how much free time you might have if you swore off social media for the day.  Often browsing social media replaces time we used to spend on hobbies.  So, this is a great opportunity to rediscover a hobby you don’t find time for anymore.  Maybe you’ve got an inner Mary Berry itching to get out and get baking or perhaps you love to draw or go for a run.  Embrace these hobbies again with the extra time you save.

5. Do nothing

Did you know that being bored can actually be a good thing?  That doing nothing sometimes is good for your health?  One of the impacts of the digital world is that we have forgotten how to accept being bored as a positive.  Creativity and new ideas are often born out of boredom but the temptation to reach for our phone rather than be still and alone with our thoughts mean that many people today see boredom as a negative thing.  Think being bored equals laziness?  Think again!  A study at Bar-Ilan University showed that giving your mind time to wander can actually make you more productive and have a positive impact on task performance.

As you can imagine, the Cantium Marketing Team spend a lot of time in the digital world so we have decided to challenge ourselves to see if we could survive a digital detox.  Look out for updates on our blog to see how we got on!

 

Unplugging from time to time can be great for your mental health.  For more ways to improve your wellbeing, read our blog post Five Ways to Improve Your Mental Health at Work.