The Christmas holidays and New Year can be hectic. Searching for the perfect gifts for everyone, completing work in advance of the holidays, Christmas parties, getting all of the food in, preparing food, making time to catch up with friends and family. We can become very frazzled and worn out. This holiday season is a perfect time to unplug from your devices and take a digital detox.
- Take a Break from your devices
Do you find yourself spending endless hours staring at your computer or device screen? Get lost in endless links and find you have wasted hours surfing the internet. Take a break. Give yourself a rest. Get some exercise. Try yoga and meditation. Spend some time in silent contemplation. Spend quality time with friends and family. You’ll feel refreshed, you’ll have more focus, you will feel energised and less likely to become distracted.
- Turn off your devices for better posture
By switching off your devices for an extended period of time you will begin to notice a better posture. An opening of the front of your body, shoulders moving back and realignment of your upper spine. Your energy will open up, you will interact more naturally with others, you will appear more approachable and you will be more present. This will lead to better eye contact, deeper conversations, a sense of relaxation and great empathy towards others.
Winter is the time for rest, rejuvenation, reflection, time to go within and to slow down. It is important not to take devices to bed with you. Looking at screens late into the evening and in bed prevents you from switching off properly and will affect your natural sleeping patterns. The blue light from screens suppresses melatonin in the body which makes us more alert as we are going to sleep. You may find you are getting enough hours sleep but it may not be a high quality sleep. If you normally use your phone as an alarm clock, buy an alarm clock. Over the holidays you may have the opportunity not to set your alarm and allow yourself to catch up on sleep.
- Have proper conversations to feel more connected
Create bonds with others by having proper conversations. Gain insight into someone’s mind by having conversations. Conversations can be memorable and engaging, you will learn new things about others and yourself. Don’t jump on Google to find the answer, allow the conversation to develop as you explore the answers. It’s a lot more fun!
- Switch off to improve your memory
Even after a few days without technology, you are more likely to remember obscure details about others. Neuroscientists believe that this is because when people are more present in conversations, their brains are able to process and store new information more easily. With the many distractions of technology, our brains have been trained not to register seemingly insignificant details. These minor facts are actually very important in the process of bonding and learning about other people. Rather than taking endless photographs we can be present and in the moment, taking in the details and using all of our senses to absorb the information. We will have a greater recall of events when we are fully present.
- Developing New Perspectives
When you are offline for a while, it gives you space to review your career or relationships. You may wish to address your habits surrounding your health, fitness and lifestyle. You can really focus on yourself and discover areas you wish to transform.
Stepping away from your devices can allow you to find new ways to be creative and achieve a state of flow. This time and space will help original thinking and big ideas. You may wish to try something new such as dancing, singing, making Christmas cards, baking a cake, creating gifts, mindful colouring in, silent meditation. The list is endless, don’t limit yourself and give new things a try!
- Change your morning routine
Instead of checking your social media or email first thing, write down on paper three things that you are grateful for. Appreciation can make you a happier person and more positive. Doing this evokes positive sentiments, so when you’re feeling low reading over this list can be a great reminder of all the good things in your life.
Make the most of the great outdoors and lose yourself in green space. A day out without your phone can feel liberating. You will more fully absorb and appreciate your surroundings. Being in a natural environment does wonders for your clearing your mind. Getting out into daylight in winter can really help with our wellbeing and promote a more positive mood.
- Ask a stranger for directions
Try not to rely on Google Maps for every turn. Asking somebody for directions forces us to engage in human connection. It could put a smile on your face, and theirs – people love knowing they’ve helped someone out. Plus, you could get some inside knowledge of the local area that a screen digital map couldn’t tell you.
- Eat, drink and be merry… but don’t post it!
Enjoy the festive season. Have fun with friends and family. Experience great food and new places but please resist the urge to post every detail online. Switch off your phone and appreciate the present moment. Being present and mindful will make your Christmas even more memorable.
- Start a digital swear-jar
To keep your good digital habitats going into the New Year you could start a digital “swear-jar” with friends, family or colleagues. Every time someone checks their phone mid conversation, they have to put money in the digital “swear-jar”. This really highlights the amount that people use their phones while engaging with others. You can use the collection for a gadget free night out, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll raise funds!
Use this holiday period to balance and set new boundaries. Allow yourself to completely rest and rejuvenate. Take the time to gain control over your devices rather than the other way around!
Have wonderfully restful and peaceful Christmas and New Year.