I read this quote somewhere recently “the internet used to be an escape from real life – now real life is an escape from the internet.”
It’s quite a powerful quote and it inspired me to write this blog. It might seem strange for someone like myself, who specialises in digital marketing and content writing, to tell you to take a digital break, but I do believe it is important. Probably even more important, if you have a job where you are constantly on the computer.
We spend so much of our time looking at our phones. I’ve seen people walking dogs while scrolling through their phones, and you’d be hard pushed to find anyone sitting on a train who doesn’t have their head in their phones – and it can be quite damaging, as you’re missing out on the world around you. Of course, the internet is a hugely beneficial thing, social media is incredible and there is a wealth of information out there. The internet has allowed me to work flexibly, so I’m not dissing it, but taking a digital break is vital for physical and mental well-being. This is not about preaching, as it’s something I’ve had to force myself to do, but rather, I hope it gives you some useful advice.
These are some ways you can take a digital break.
If you are anything like me, the first thing you do when you wake up is to look at your phone, and it’s probably not the best way to wake up. Instead of reaching for your phone, take your time to get up and get ready for work, before you start engaging again with social media and emails. Scrolling mindlessly just holds you up and it’s not the healthiest start to the day.
Mindfulness is such an important part of life, and something most of us don’t do. If you are constantly thinking about what you might be missing on Facebook, or whether you’ve had a reply to an email, you will never truly enjoy ‘real life’ moments. If possible, leave your phone at home when you’re enjoying activities with friends or family, switch your phone off or keep it on silent, so you are not tempted to look at it. There is nothing worse than being in someone’s company and they’re constantly looking at their phone. I’ve experienced it with friends and in meetings, and it makes you feel like you would be better off being at home. If people have taken the effort to spend time with you, make sure you give them your full attention.
Take breaks from your computer and phone, whether at home or in work. There is nothing that can’t wait for a few hours. Switch your phone off if you are too tempted to look at it. Taking a few hours off each day, will do you the world of good.
I am a strong believer in the importance of being in nature for your health and well-being. Get outside at least once a day, even if it’s a walk at lunch time or an evening stroll. We are not meant to be locked up for entire days without seeing any daylight!
Turn it Off
What about an entire day off technology? Is there any real reason you can’t do this? We lived for many years without technology, or at least, the kind of handheld technology which is always by our sides. Spending a full day off will recharge you and make you feel more connected with your loved ones.
Is it really more fulfilling to spend a commute scrolling through stories about Brexit and looking at people’s holiday drinks or to read a good book? I know what I prefer, but then I am a bit of a book geek! Why not try reading instead of scrolling on your commute, you might get a lot more from it.
Don’t Mistake Digital Friendships for Real Ones
Your true friendships are those people who take the time to spend ‘real’ time with you, not those who you spend time talking to via text or Facebook Messenger. It can be easy to get the two confused. Spend more time with real friendships and less time on digital ones.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article. I’d love to hear your comments or any other tips you might have.