Unplugging is an area to commit to when thinking about your self-care. Unplugging from the internet highway and all the enticing apps that have us hooked is a better enticement. The reward for unplugging is the time you gain. This new found time can be used for additional self-care activities. This is a long list! I linked my Self-Care Assessment document (posted a couple blog posts ago) to remind you of the activities you can do to make you feel better about yourself once you unplug from your phone or computer.
Here are suggestions from various sources including my own to unplug during the day or night. I am particularly fond of early morning and night time unplugging.
GO ON A DIGITAL DIET
As you might count your calories or activity steps to help you drop a few pounds, start counting your technology time. Take note of how many times a day you check your emails, surf the web, or browse social media, and then try reducing it by 10%, or cutting out one or more of those sessions a day. New found time! (download self-care assessment)
START YOUR DAY RIGHT
We know that starting our day with a healthy breakfast or a nutrient-packed smoothie is good for us, so why not also nourish your mind first thing in the morning? Instead of reaching for your phone as soon as you wake up, concentrate on you. Spend some time meditating, do yoga or exercise. You may have a more productive and relaxed day. These are activities that are helpful to your self-care.
JUST SWITCH OFF
Get into the habit of turning off instead of turning on the screen saver. Don’t race to answer messages or calls — get into the habit of letting them go to voicemail and then check in from time to time. Build a routine so that you are online for part of the day, and then strictly offline for the rest of the day. New found time! (download self-care assessment)
REMOVE APPS FROM HOMEPAGE SCREEN
Remove your Facebook, email, Instagram and Tweeter apps from the home page. Move them onto a secondary page so it is not staring you in the face and tempting you to click on the icon when you look at your phone. Commit to checking Facebook once or twice a day. Or whatever lesser amount based upon your addiction. New found time! (download self-care assessment)
SCHEDULE FREE TIME
Life isn’t all about restrictions so set some ‘free time’ every day where you can go on any and all your devices to do what you want — play games, chat to friends or upload your pics to Instagram.And, when that time slot is over, just switch off again. This gets you into a pattern of using your tech-time more wisely. If you know you only have a limited slot then you’ll prioritize naturally, and you’ll know when enough is enough.
GO OLD SCHOOL WITH FLIP PHONE
Leave your smartphone behind and go back to the stock standard android of the early 2000’s (Nokia 33500 anyone?) Not only does the battery power far exceed that of any modern smartphone on the market, it also severely limits what you can do while you’re out. No more emails or checking Facebook on the go. Just essential phone calls and texts. Try it and you might be surprised how much you like it.
BRING A BOOK
Checking emails and social media on the train or while waiting in line may seem like the ultimate time management, but all those different images, clips and emails are actually making you unfocused. Carry a book with you instead, or at least use the Kindle app on your phone and switch of the mobile signal.
LEAVE WORK BEHIND
When you leave work, really leave it. Activate the “out of office” on your email, have a separate number and don’t divert calls to your personal phone, and don’t be tempted to check emails. Leave your laptop at work! New found time! (download self-care assessment)
INVOLVE YOUR FRIENDS and FAMILY
Make yourself accountable to your decision to unplug by telling your friends and family about it. Ask them to call you out if you duck off to write an email or keep your phone on the table during dinner. Even just knowing they’re watching out for you will help you stay unplug from technology and, if that fails, public shaming should keep your relapses to a minimum.
Get them involved by unplugging with you.
SET A STRICT ‘TECHNOLOGY’ BEDTIME
Research has shown for some time now that the blue light from our screens can really mess up our sleeping patterns, but I bet I’m not the only one who has a last peek at the phone before bed? Set a bed time for your technology. Experts recommend that this should be around two hours before your actual bedtime to give you enough time to wind down. You could even do this for the whole family and turn the wifi off at a set time giving yourselves time to talk, play games, read or catch up with Game of Thrones. Found free time! (download self-care assessment)
Ask others how they unplug. You will be surprised how many people are wanting to spend less time with their screen. The idea is to engage more with yourself and others, as well as to relax and simply be present.