Modern life has plenty of perks. We can share information quickly, connect with loved ones via remote video tech, and can easily order everything we need within a few clicks.
However, our reliance on technology can also be overbearing. You might catch yourself scrolling through social media for hours on end, or even shirking real-life responsibilities in favor of YouTube videos or cat pictures on Reddit.
This can lower your self-esteem and leave you feeling disconnected from the things that really matter. We need to learn to take back control of our lives
and can start by “unplugging” to recharge our mental batteries.
When to Take a Break
Modern life is busy and stressful. This means that you may not even notice just how badly you need to unplug and take a break. But working too hard and with too much tech will lead to burnout, and hamper your ability to achieve your career goals or find happiness in your day-to-day life.
Spotting burnout is tricky. However, there are a few common signs that indicate you need to take a break
. First and foremost, you might find that you’re tired all the time and that your productivity is taking a nosedive. This will leave you feeling restless and stressed which, over time, will lead to illness and a constant “dull” feeling as you fail to find joy in your favorite activities.
The type of break you need to take is largely dependent upon the work you do and your relationship to technology. For most folks who work closely with screens from 9 to 5, taking holiday and limiting screen use is the perfect respite.
Limiting Screens and Recreational Therapy
These days, it feels as though everything happens through our screens. Our phones and tablets can tell us everything from the weather to breaking news, and they help us connect with our long-distance loved ones. However, excessive screen usage can be addictive and can leave you feeling fragile and fizzled out.
Start limiting your screen usage to particular times of the day. For example, you might decide that the hour after you finish work is a “screen-free” time. You can improve your chances of sticking to this routine by filling your time with recreational therapy activities
like yoga, gardening, or creative writing.
Whichever activity you choose, remember that it should actively renew your energy and give you a sense of purpose away from technology. For this reason, it’s probably best to stay away from Netflix or video gaming and instead opt for physical activities like art classes or community engagement that help you fight off feelings of depression and instead connect with others.
It’s not always possible to engage in a time-consuming activity like yoga or a spin class — particularly if you have a hectic schedule and competing responsibilities. However, you can still engage in a restful, reinvigorating practice: meditation.
There are many different ways to meditate, and finding the right style is a matter of personal choice. The best energy meditation options
are guided experiences that will help you let go of fixations, and can potentially help you find a sense of calm. These guided meditations use your whole body to help you unplug, and can help widen the horizons of your thoughts beyond the confines of a screen.
Sleep offers us a temporary respite from the day’s pressures and challenges. A good night’s sleep can improve your mental health
and reduce your chances of developing depression. In addition, sleep helps you fight off illnesses and helps you stay focused throughout a busy day.
Unfortunately, technology usually hinders, rather than helps, our sleep cycle. Many of us reach for our phones when we get into bed, and can spend hours scrolling through social media feeds and reading news that causes stress and creates a “busy” mind.
You can develop a healthier attitude towards sleep
by creating a clean, calming environment with fresh sheets and plump pillows. You should also cut out all blue light — the unnatural light emitted by our phones and televisions — at least an hour before bed, as this light frequency keeps you from mentally unplugging and drifting off.
When to Get Help
We all go through peaks and troughs in life. Periods of stress can leave us feeling burnt out, and unplugging from tech can be a great way to rediscover lost energy and protect your mental health. However, it’s worth noting that not all mental health conditions can be alleviated by limiting screen time — sometimes you need to get professional medical help for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Protecting your mental health is a vital part of your health and happiness. To strike a healthy balance between tech and health, you should “unplug” from time to time, and engage in recreational therapy like gardening or art classes. You also need to cut out screens around your bedtime, as blue light keeps you awake and prevents your body from getting the rest it needs to leave you feeling recharged and re-energized at the start of each day.