If the last thing you do before you fall asleep is look at your phone for one last time, know that this simple act is making a lasting impression on your health. And it is not a good one… Yet, you alone, have the ability to change your online habits. We’ll get to the hows in a moment.
In recent years, there has been an even greater push to use – and abuse – technology.
Unfortunately, it comes with being connected all day, every day, whether it is our choice, or not.
There is a social expectation to be present 24 hours a day. Not so much for that fact that we might be missing out, though FOMO is undoubtedly real. We are expected to be present for the “what if”. What if there is an accident? What if someone you love needs your help right then and there? What if there is a disaster, or an emergency, and you need to be notified about what just happened?
What if you weren’t the only means to solve a problem that was best resolved in person with people who were actually involved in the matter? Does it feel too much like you are letting go of control if you aren’t instantly in the know? Or perhaps, that is what the smartphone gives to us: a controlled connection. One that gives us the freedom to be present from far away, but not quite close enough to actually make a difference. In most cases, whether you find out the latest news now – or a few hours later – there will be little to no difference in what you can do about it. So turn off those pings and listen up!
There are many hidden dangers to the overuse of technology
And still, many of them are yet to be discovered.
Too much screen time can lead to any of the following problems and conditions, and they can occur at any age:
- behavioral problems
- short attention spans
- constantly distracted
- anxiety and worry
- sleep difficulties
- lack of concentration
- eyestrain, back problems, wrist and neck pain
- lack – of love, of life, of self-worth, of ambition – which can ultimately lead to violence
Not to mention the fact that technology tears the creative powers right out of our minds and our hands. For children, the formative years are crucial to how they perceive the world and how they interact with it. Can too much screen time lead to unsocial behavior? You had better believe it!
It is like this: if children see you online all day, for work, emailing and play, they will want to do the exact same thing. If they aren’t allowed, it will seem unfair to them. That may be the case, but maybe the use (or overuse) of technology is in the way we frame it for ourselves.
If we, as adults, can show that there is life to be lived offline – and a wonderful one at that! – the younger generations may just follow suit.
Anyone over the age of 40 still fondly remembers a childhood of endless summer days, perhaps a week or two of camp tossed in there, with all the time in the world to be outside. How many kids can boast about that nowadays? They talk about TV shows and video games and can recognize more than a hundred company logos. At the same time they can identify less than five tree species or native plants. Some children are unsure of where food comes from, other than from the store…
It is time to turn this tide of technology around and allow the positives of tech in, with much less of the disagreeable side effects.
In order to spend less time online, the answer is simple: TURN IT OFF.
We’ve already discussed how to make a digital detox work for you in a previous article, giving advice for beginners, intermediate and advanced digital detoxers.
You can even download our Digital Detox Guide to Freedom and print it out for some offline reading and inspiration.
What we want to share with you today, is our more recent discovery of turning off all devices in the morning. In essence, a digital detox morning.
Working online, this is not feasible every day, yet we do strive to do it once a week.
As a family, we discuss plans for the morning digital detox the day before, so everyone can be prepared with things to do. It also allows us to be filled with the pleasant expectations of digital freedom to come. No emails, no social media, no senseless Google searches, no phone, no nothing that needs to be charged. Just us, our thoughts and creative desires. It is like stepping back in time for a few hours or more.
Tech goes off at 9 pm and comes back on again after 2 pm the next day.
That is a minimum of 17 hours to rest, relax and withdraw from the frenzy of the online world.
It is a time to cook, catch up on housework, garden, read, draw and make plans for the future. To think deeply about business, where we are now, where we want to be and how to make it all happen.
Taking time off(line) is a respite from the over-informed world that keeps sharing both good and bad news. Much of it we were never destined to hear, or to feel deeply in our hearts.
So, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed with the crazy online-ness of it all, take a break. You deserve it!
Practice some self-love and give that attention back to yourself, to your partner and to your children. Use your hands and your brain to do something creative that has a longer lasting impression than a tweet.
Create that heart-brain coherence that takes time in space, as well as a quiet place. For as you know, the online world is full of noise. Most of it covers up what we’ve known all along.
To feel whole, you don’t need to be connected virtually to everyone in the world or to everything that is going on. You only need to feel that universal oneness in your heart. And that is one of the things that the internet fails to give – you must find it off the line.
If what you seek is a sense of peaceful calm in your life, take time to discover once again that there is life off the screen. Shut off your smartphone, your laptop and other devices for as many hours a week as it takes to rediscover yourself in the natural world.
Walk barefoot, hug a tree, and go find your upgrade in nature!
Let this be a gentle reminder that the natural environment is waiting to heal you from your misguided indoor screen time. Looking out the window is not enough. Get outside and bask in the sun, dip in icy waters and breathe in all the fresh air you deserve. Why? Because consciously choosing to spend time offline is good for your body, it is even greater for your soul.
Happy digital detoxing!