On average, Australians spend just over five hours a day online whether it’s on our smartphones, laptops or other digital devices – so says We Are Social and Hootsuite’s Global Digital reports for 2019. That’s a considerable amount of time and it certainly begs the question, “What did we do before the Internet?!”
The fact is, that since the dawn of the World Wide Web, our lives have become split between the real world and its virtual counterpart where, according to the data, we are spending more and more time. And while there was a time, pre-internet, when we were quite happy to just be while we waited for someone, or sat in the passenger seat of the car, now, if we have even a minute spare (or wake up in the middle of the night), the first thing we do is reach for our preferred digital device to chat, catch up on emails, scroll through our Instagram feed, or find out what our favourite celebrity has been up to – since we last checked 15 minutes ago.
This constant multi-tasking and “always on” state of connectedness is making it more and more difficult for us to switch off and relax and is leading to what is now being dubbed digital burnout. So, how do we avoid it? As with anything else in our lives, change starts one step at a time and taking these three will go a long way towards helping you detox digitally.
1. Set parameters for yourself. Decide what a healthy, balanced life looks like for you and your family and set limits to help you achieve it. For example, agree that you’re going to switch off all technology between 8pm and 6am, or limit yourself to a set amount of “on” time each day.
2. Find non-tech ways to relax. If your favourite way of relaxing is binge-watching a series, consider trying something that doesn’t involve being online or behind a screen e.g. hiking, cooking, yoga etc.
3. Practice being present. Make a conscious decision to ignore your devices when you’re with other people. For example, when you're watching your children play sport, you're seated at the dinner table with your family or friends. Why not leave your phone in your bag during your Pilates or yoga class - it's the perfect opportunity to consciously connect with yourself and leave the outside world outside.
You’ll be amazed at the difference a bit of digital detoxing can make. In 2015, Kate Unsworth, CEO of Kovert Designs, conducted a study of 35 CEOs, entrepreneurs and influencers she had specifically picked for the task. After a few technology-free days in the Moroccan desert, here’s what the neuroscientists she sent along (undercover) to study their behaviour observed:
People looked one another in the eye rather than down at their screens.
As people looked at one another more, they seemed to connect on a deeper level and were more empathic towards one another.
With no Google to turn to, people were pushed to have more meaningful and memorable conversations.
The participants also showed improved memory and better quality and efficiency of sleep. And, with fewer distractions, they found time to reflect and make important decisions about their lives.
Let Elixr help you restore the balance
Meditation is a wonderful way to refocus the mind and at Elixr, we offer mindfulness in our yoga classes and monthly meditation workshops in a tranquil training environment with experienced teachers. Sign up for a workshop today.