Go back 20 years to when internet was kept to the evening and calls were kept to the landline. Fast-forward to now and Australians spend on average 10 hours a day on internet connected devices.
It’s fair to say that the advancements in digital technology have impacted and improved our lives in a big way. It has broken down barriers by connecting us all seamlessly and brought the world to our fingertips. However, a constantly-connected culture does have its pitfalls.
Why we need to put down the phone.
How many times a day do you think you pick up your phone? Research shows that the average person picks up their mobile phone over 100 times a day and that we spend, on average, 10 hours a day on internet connected devices.
We’ll cover the main ways screen time affects us and suggest ways you can digital detox your everyday life without completely cutting yourself off, but still reaping the benefits.
Decrease anxiety, increase mindfulness – In a society where we are constantly connected, we no longer switch off and live in the moment. It’s no wonder research has shown a direct link between smartphone use and increasing anxiety. Work emails coming through out of hours causing stress, not to mention the overuse of social media and unrealistic expectations of the “perfect life”. The “National Stress and Wellbeing in Australia Survey” found 26% of Australians have above normal levels of stress and anxiety as they fear their friends are having a more rewarding time than they are due to what they see on social media.
Solution: Put your work apps on timers and go social app free for a week. Take note of how much more present you are and if you feel more relaxed. If you still want to capture those moments in picture, take a camera out with you instead.
Rest, recover, sleep – Screen time can really affect your body’s “internal clock”. The blue light of screens is a signal to your brain that it’s daytime, even when it’s dark outside. This makes it harder to fall asleep, more difficult to stay asleep, and makes those oh-so early barre classes a thing of the past.
Solution: Aim to have no screen time for at least an hour before you plan to go to sleep. Go one step further and make your bedroom a tech-free zone and read a book. You’ll be amazed at the improvement in your sleep quality and springing into those morning classes – no snooze needed!
Clear your mind and focus – Have you ever had something that you really need to get done at work but five minutes later you suddenly realise you’ve been sat scrolling on Instagram or replying to that text that you’ve left for weeks? It happens to all of us! Phones are one of our biggest distractions and can stop us from being more productive, efficient and generally doing the best job.
Solution: When there is something important you need to do, put your phone out of sight. If your phone is in your draw, you are less likely to be distracted by it and you’ll find it easier to focus as a result.
It’s all in the body – All of the above contribute to how tech use affects us physically: lack of sleep, no focus and increased anxiety. How many times have you been too tired to go to the gym or too anxious to step outside of your comfort zone? Couple this with the effect it has on our posture and eyesight and we need to stop and reassess how much screen time we’re getting.
Solution: If you can put the solutions we’ve mentioned into action, you’ll be sure to notice the physical benefits. Do the following each day and summer wellness will be yours for the taking:
- If you’ve finished work, your apps should finish too. Switch off those emails and don’t look again until the morning
- Need to focus? Put your phone out of sight
- No-screen time for 1-hour before you go to sleep
- Social hiatus – delete the apps for a week and roam without your phone. You’ll be surprised by how liberated you feel
Sometimes, we just need to disconnect to reconnect.