Health Dig­i­tal de­tox, tips for wash­ing your hands

Spend­ing S too much time on your de­vices? Train your­self to break free with these tricks

Woman’s Day (Australia) - - Contents -

In a world of con­stant tex­ting, emails and news­feed up­dates, it can be chal­leng­ing g to dis­con­nect. But clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Gemma Cribb says that’s ex­actly what we should do to stay healthy.

“We need pe­ri­ods of tech­nol­ogy- free re­lax­ation to re­ju­ve­nate and get our ner­vous sys­tems into bal­ance. When we don’t get that ‘dig­i­tal de­tox’ time, we can feel stressed, de­pressed and anx­ious.”

How­ever, turn­ing off your phone, lap­top and TV is eas­ier said than done, es­pe­cially if you have a fam­ily. So Gemma has put to­gether a dig­i­tal de­tox plan to help you get back some bal­ance.

Set bound­aries


When we are al­ways avail­able to be con­tacted by work, friends or fam­ily we lose the abil­ity to com­part­men­talise and there­fore our stress lev­els can in­crease, says Gemma. She ad­vises putting in place some bound­aries for your time. Use your out-of-of­fice to let peo­ple know when you’ll be avail­able to re­spond to emails and phone calls and when you won’t. Turn your phone off for 20 mins a day


This may seem like an im­pos­si­ble ask, but Gemma be­lieves that hav­ing time with­out your phone is im­por­tant. She says when we are con­tin­u­ally get­ting no­ti­fi­ca­tions and up­dates up­dates, “our con­cen­tra­tion can de­crease, and we can feel a loss of joy and plea­sure in our daily ac­tiv­i­ties be­cause we are never fully present in them”. Her ad­vice is to try switch­ing off your phone when you’re play­ing with your kids, re­lax­ing or out with friends, and force your­self to not check it for at least 20 min­utes.

Stop com­par­ing


Apps like Face­book, In­sta­gram, Linkedin and Pin­ter­est make it eas­ier than ever to fol­low our friends and peers’ move­ments. “Us­ing tech­nol­ogy and so­cial me­dia to pay more at­ten­tion to other’s lives and achieve­ments and com­par­ing your­self neg­a­tively against oth­ers can cause low self-es­teem, anx­i­ety and pos­si­bly de­pres­sion,” says Gemma. If you can, re­duce your time on these plat­forms, but if that’s not pos­si­ble, re­mind your­self that so­cial me­dia is a “cu­rated” view of peo­ple’s lives!

Wind down with­out TV


If you like to set­tle in for a long night of binge-watch­ing or phone

surf­ing, you’re not alone. But us­ing tech to wind down isn’t ideal. “When we use tech­nol­ogy to re­lax, it can re­duce our phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity lev­els and main­tain stress lev­els.” Gemma says try med­i­ta­tion – it ac­ti­vates the parasym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem and the “rest and re­lax” re­sponse in our bod­ies. And for a real chal­lenge, store your TV in the garage for a month and re­train your­self with new wind-down-from-work rou­tines, such as an evening walk.

Catch up in per­son

WHY? YOUR FRIEND­SHIPS WILL IM­PROVE So­cial me­dia and emails make it pos­si­ble to go for months with­out see­ing friends. How­ever, a phone call or a face-to-face catch up is ac­tu­ally bet­ter for our health. “When peo­ple use tech­nol­ogy to sus­tain friend­ships, good qual­ity real-life re­la­tion­ships suf­fer,” says Gemma. “As well as this, not enough real so­cial con­nec­tion can lead to de­pres­sion.” She sug­gests mak­ing reg­u­lar monthly catch-ups with friends, plan­ning six months in ad­vance.

Have a dig­i­tal-free bed­room


We now know the ra­di­a­tion from a mo­bile phone can af­fect the amount of time it takes us to reach a deep sleep, and on­go­ing re­search is con­nect­ing the blue light emit­ted from smart­phones with de­pleted mela­tonin, the sleep hor­mone. Gemma says we can get “over-stim­u­lated and lose the abil­ity to ‘switch off’ and wind down”. In­stead, buy an old­fash­ioned alarm clock, and if you need to have your phone in the bed­room for emer­gency phone calls or peace of mind, have it as far away from the bed as pos­si­ble and keep it face down.

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