Digital-detox

How To Do A Digital Detox At Home

Australians are more digitally connected then ever, with the average person spending the equivalent of almost an entire day online every week. So is it time to do a digital detox?

RELATED: Has Technology Made us Distracted Parents?

“We live in a notification culture, where we have attention deficiencies and are addicted to the little red notification circles on our media,” says performance coach Vanessa Bennett.

“So much time is wasted letting people know we are constantly plugged in. We want to be the first to respond to an e-mail or a status update,” she says.

Bennett, who founded Inside 80 Performance, believes the answer isn’t necessarily to remove all digital connections, but rather to do a stock take and rethink the way we use technology to live and work more efficiently.

“Denying ourselves the opportunity to be productive just because we’re trying to separate work and life is a bad idea, but ‘disciplining’ our use of digital technologies is great,” she explains. “Discipline is important because it keeps us present.”

Dr John Demartini, a leading expert in human behaviour, believes constant use of our phones and social media accounts can actually lead to feeling disconnected. “Distractions such as smartphones and televisions can prevent us from following – or finding – our calling and making it a priority in our lives.”

He explains that 200 hours spent on digital devices per month- the equivalent of almost six hours a day- could be better spent to meaningfully impact our life. “You could have written half a novel or completed a private pilot’s license- four times!” he says.

digital detox, technology, health, wellbeing, social media

Follow these five steps to do a digital cleanse at home:

Step one: Do a shout-out

Going cold turkey and simply switching off every device will likely result in feelings of anxiety as you withdraw from conversations, and confusion from friends and family. Instead, post a simple note on the social media accounts you use most, such as Facebook and Twitter, letting friends know you won’t be online, and when you’ll be back.

This will avoid frustration from friends who are used to receiving instant replies from you and should alleviate some of your anxiety when you decide to switch off.

Step two: Do a social media stock take

“We need to stop being reactive and be conscious of outputting quality, not a speedy string of characters,” says Bennett. She recommends doing a stock take of the social media outlets you use most, and analysing how you use them.

“Grab a notepad and write down each social media site you use in order of frequency,” she says. “Then write down how, and why you use each outlet. Try to assess whether you achieve your goal for each. Ask yourself: ‘can this goal be reached sooner through a more disciplined approach?’”

Dr Demartini says the same applies to watching movies aimlessly or browsing the web without cause. “Whenever you find yourself watching TV, surfing the internet or about to answer the phone, ask yourself: ‘is this the highest priority use of my time I could be doing?’ If so, then continue. If not then get on with what inspires you and what produces the most fulfilment in your life,” he says.

Step three: Switch off notifications

“Technology can help us become incredibly productive but when we are focusing too much on the digital sphere we can get sucked in to click-bait- clicking ‘next’ on YouTube or tiring our thumbs out by endless scrolling,” says Bennett.

Switching off app notifications is an easy way to halt distraction and return the power to the user. Visit ‘Settings’ then ‘Notifications’ and deactivate any apps that trigger a desire to respond.

Bennett believes everyone works to a different natural pace, which should determine how we use notifications. “Slower-paced people can’t regain their focus as quickly and perform really well when they concentrate on one task for longer time frames. They should switch off notifications and access them only between tasks,” she says.

Step four: Make an emergency back-up plan

Make sure you let family and friends know how to reach you in case of an emergency. A good way to do this is to turn your phone on to ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode via the Notification centre. This allows calls to be screened without interruption, and lets you set important phone numbers in your phone who can call through.

Step five: Relax

Now that you’ve done a stock take of your social media accounts and switched off all distractions, use this opportunity for valuable ‘me’ time.

“It is wise to stop periodically and become centred, and inwardly ask yourself if you are truly focusing and acting upon on your most meaningful objectives and highest priorities in your personal or professional life,” says Dr Demartini.

Stop, relax and breath in the serenity!

Images via Pinterest

April 1, 2015

Has Technology Made Us Distracted Parents?

On the first day of the school holidays I found myself gravitating towards my phone too often. I was checking emails, browsing websites for the latest school holidays info that I had to have immediately, I even played a game. It felt like my mind was so used to going at a fast speed that slow was no longer an option. I had to keep myself occupied.

RELATED: iPhone Addiction: Fact Or Fiction

And I wasn’t alone. I watched other parents at the playground. Some of them were on their phones the whole time. Others would stop and check their devices every now and then. It was a rare parent that remained technology-free while I was watching.

Then I tried to see the situation from my children’s point of view. What does this technology craze mean to them?

  • That our devices are more important to us than they are. Far-fetched, I know, but this is exactly how I feel sometimes when my husband wouldn’t leave his phone alone and it’s easy to imagine that my children would feel the same way about me.
  • That it’s good to be connected at all times, ignoring face-to-face communications in favour of digital ones. We, parents, are role models and our children will learn from us. Do I like to imagine my kids attached to their devices at all times and hardly paying attention to anything else around them? Absolutely not, what a scary picture!

I’d love to be able to say that I changed my technology habits as soon as I realised how they were affecting my parenting, but it wouldn’t be true. It took me about a week of paying attention, setting limits and reminding myself to put the phone down before I got to a point where I consider my phone use reasonable. It’s still a work in progress and it’s still not coming easy to me, but I’m getting better at it. You can, too. Here are some tips to get you started.

  • Decide on limits that will allow you to stay connected without threading on your family time.
  • Remember to turn off your devices while you’re talking to your children and make an effort to focus on them (it’s good manners).
  • Leave your phone behind to go out with your kids for a few hours. Notice how you’re feeling without it.
  • Ask your children to keep you accountable. Are you feeling reluctant to do it? This is because you know just how effective it can be.

Sounds like too much work? It gets easier. After a few days you realise that the world is not going to end if you check your email twice a day instead of every 3 minutes and you’re not missing out on anything important if you’re not on Facebook all the time. The smiles on your kids’ faces make it all well worth it.

Image by JESHOOTS via pixabay.com

January 8, 2015

How To Beat Facebook Addiction

While you’re glued to your screen, unwilling to miss the next update from your social network, life is passing by. You fail to turn up to your yoga class, you are only half-present for your children and you miss out on precious sleep. Does this sound like you? Here’s how you can stop Facebook from taking over your life.

RELATED: Weekend Wit: The Facebook Phenomenon

Step 1: Commit

If you think it’s time to beat your Facebook addiction, the first thing to do is to commit. Think of all the ways that Facebook is affecting your life in a negative way and feel the pain. Imagine the wonderful things you can do with all the extra time you’re going to reclaim and how amazing you will feel. There’s no harm in exaggerating here, the more you engage your emotions, the more motivated you will be to make a change.

Then make a decision what will be a good alternative to your current habits. Taking a break from Facebook for a set period of time? Checking it once a day? Once a week? Never?

Step 2: Announce your commitment publicly

Let Facebook work for you. Tell your friends what you’re doing and ask them to support you. Just the power of public commitment will make you think twice before you engage on Facebook and if you don’t do what you said you were going to do, your friends will call you out.

Step 3: Take action

Sometimes willpower and no action (staying away from Facebook) is sufficient. Other steps you could take are: cancel your mobile internet, uninstall the Facebook app from your phone, unsubscribe from email notifications, use apps to block Facebook, deactivate your account. I let my mobile data plan expire while I was on an overseas holiday and I never renewed it when I got back. Now I can’t go on Facebook and I can’t send work-related emails when I’m at the playground with my kids, which has made me use my time much more efficiently when I’m in front of the computer at home.

If all this sounds too scary, here’s a word of comfort: it gets easier. No one’s dream is to sit in front of a screen and read Facebook updates. As you persist, you’ll find that you have more appreciation and more energy for the things that really matter.

Image by geralt via pixabay.com

December 11, 2014

How To Prevent School Holiday Hell

Are you dreading the impending start to the school holidays? Do you find it hard to relax yourself, when caring for exuberant littlies? You’re not alone – many, many women find family holidays stressful. In fact, family demands could see you crave another holiday as soon as you return to work!

Never fear, help is at hand thanks to wellness expert Janine Hall (pictured), the gorgeous and successful entrepreneur/founder of Escape Haven – a group of popular women’s surf, yoga and luxury spa retreats in Bali, Byron Bay, Portugal and Morocco. “There is this idea that holidays are supposed to be happy and stress-free, however that’s not often the case. There is a lot of planning and organising that goes into a holiday,” Janine says.

“Coupled with the distraction of work emails we shouldn’t be reading and families demanding our undivided attention, these factors can dramatically impact the enjoyment of a holiday.

“Every year women pour into our wellness retreats with physical indicators of stress and anxiety. However that doesn’t mean the solution is to skip a holiday entirely.”

Here, Janine, 40, gives SHESAID readers her top five tips to avoid holiday stress:

  1. Make time for “me time”: Set time aside for you: this means switching off emails and having time away from the kids. No matter whether it be taking a leisurely bubble bath, meditating or writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal, setting time aside for you is integral for keeping stress at bay.
  2. Get the kids to cook dinner: Put your feet up and get the kids to cook you dinner. It’s also a great kids’ activity which teaches them how to cook with healthy ingredients and safety in the kitchen.
  3. Take a digital vacation: Between our iPhones, computers and TVs, we’re constantly online checking emails and the news. Do a digital detox – turn your phone off and get outdoors!
  4. Book a wellness retreat: Take a break from family and work pressures by booking a solo wellness retreat and giving yourself the holiday you deserve.
  5. Go on, girlfriend, get crafty: Get creative – whether it be crafting a photo album, sewing a new skirt or repotting plants in your garden. Getting your creative juices flowing will help relieve some of the stress you’ve been feeling from work and family pressures.
    Visit www.escapehaven.com.health, wellness, school holidays, holiday stress, unwind, relax
September 15, 2014

Pick Up The Phone And Ask ‘R U OK?’ Today

In today’s society, who isn’t guilty of sending a text rather than picking up the phone to call a friend? New research from Virgin Mobile Australia reveals that almost three in five Aussies (57 per cent) are calling their family and friends less frequently since the rise of social media.

According to the survey of more than 1,000 Australians, nearly four out of five (79 per cent) believe social media and technology are causing us to lose the art of conversation, with 63 per cent saying it’s easier to text a friend or a loved one instead of calling for a chat.

Perhaps surprisingly, given these insights, three out of five Aussies (60 per cent) wish they received more phone calls from their nearest and dearest. In fact, a whopping four out of five Aussie social media users (82 per cent) admit that speaking on the phone actually makes them feel more connected to people than social media interaction.

As part of its ongoing commitment to making mobile better, Virgin Mobile has joined forces with R U OK? to encourage Aussies to have more conversations that count, signing on as the not-for-profit’s official ‘conversation partner’. R U OK? aims to prevent suicide by encouraging people to have regular, meaningful conversations throughout the year to help anyone who might be struggling with life.

R U OK? views conversation as a way to make a positive change in people’s lives, and Virgin Mobile wants to facilitate this by using the mobile phone as a force for good. The telco will therefore be supporting the cause by giving its customers free calls to their friends and family within Oz on 11 September (R U OK?Day), encouraging people to pick up the phone and ask someone if they’re ‘ok’.

So what are you waiting for? Get on the phone!

 

September 10, 2014

Give Dad Some Healthy Time Out This Father’s Day

While the typical Aussie dad is probably not expecting to receive a stay at a health and wellness retreat this Father’s Day, according to Brigid Walsh, general manager of Golden Door Health Retreat and Spa Elysia, giving the men in our lives time out from their busy lives and the tools required to achieve optimal health and wellness, could be the most important gift of all.

Brigid says:

“The archetypical Aussie bloke is considered to be strong, independent and resilient, but when it comes to their health, more often than not they only seek help when something goes wrong. The most astounding part is that only 27 per cent of men seek professional help when in despair, which suggests many men are struggling to live a balanced, healthy and fulfilling life that is also sustainable.” 

With more alarming statistics supporting men as being in some of the highest “at risk” categories in our country, The Golden Door Australia’s renowned men’s wellness expert David Ball agrees:

“Recent ABS statistics suggest that 70.3 per cent of men are overweight or obese. Not only does this substantially increase their risk of chronic disease but it also negatively impacts on their quality of life and increase their risk of early death.”

Additionally, according to beyondblue, one in eight men will have depression and one in fivemen will experience anxiety at some stage in their lives.  As we know, depression is a high risk factor for suicide and men make up 80 per cent of the ‘at risk’ group.

It may be that Australian men’s general reluctance to care for their health properly stems from societies view about what it means to be masculine underpinned by an Australian culture that endorses men to be tough, sporty and independent with a “she’ll be right mate” attitude and “never say die” approach.

David says:

“The emphasis on what it means to be a male can often conflict with health maintaining behaviours such as seeking advice about health and wellbeing, utilising health services and taking a break for ‘me-time’ when it is required.

“Further, the culture in which we live which gives us the major framing of our lives as men is derived from the sport we play, the friends we have, the school we go to, to the work choices available to us. We are often seen as the pillars of strength our families can constantly rely upon and in support of this notion, it can seem at times like there is little time left to focus on ourselves as often as we could or should.”

David Ball’s unique men’s wellness retreat is held regularly at The Golden Door Health Rereat & Spa Elysia and focuses on giving men the tools needed to achieve a life balance and become effective leaders of themselves, their work and their families.

Located just two and a half hours north of Sydney in the picturesque Hunter Valley, Golden Door Health Retreat & Spa, Elysia offers a range of world-class health and wellness programs, led by renowned professionals and developed to motivate change and inspire lasting results. Featuring luxury one, two and three bedroom villas with packages inclusive of a range of informative health and wellness seminars, an extensive program of group fitness activities and relaxation classes, holistic and alternative therapy options, indulgent spa treatments, variety of premier leisure facilities including indoor and outdoor pools, tennis court, wellness centre with meditation and yoga studio plus all inclusive nutritious gourmet cuisine. For more information go to http://www.goldendoor.com.au

 

August 31, 2014

Why You Need To Switch Off And Take A Digital Detox

We all travel to escape day-to-day reality. Scanning work emails, checking in on Facebook and uploading instagram selfies while away makes it tricky to get the most out of a well-deserved break so lastminute.com.au travel guru Louise Ryan looks at why a digital detox is more than necessary for most of us.

“New research by lastminute.com.au shows that while 64 per cent of us say we go on holidays to relax, the reality is almost a third (31 per cent) of Australians check their work emails while on holidays, 13 per cent do work on their laptop and 12 per cent even take work calls while on annual leave.

We also have attachment issues with our mobile phones, with less than half (41 per cent) of us saying we feel relaxed without our phone on holidays. 

Social media is one of the biggest distractions to people ‘switching off’, with 78 per cent of people needing a social media fix while on holidays, with one in ten people admitting they are addicted to social media and can’t bear to ‘switch off’ while away.  

From past experience, I know there is nothing more refreshing than completely switching off for a real holiday. By turning off your mobile phone and banning emails, outlook reminders and social media, you can clear your mind and focus on the destination you’re in, and the company you’re with.”

Below are Louise’s top tips for switching off:

  • Leave your work phone at home so you don’t get tempted to scan an email or two
  • Advise your family and friends know that you’ll be offline for a few days (so start panicking when they don’t hear from you!)
  • Plan ahead and organise yourself so you don’t have to stress out about work matters while on holidays.
  • Live in the moment! Enjoy your incredible holiday and the people you’re with without getting distracted
  • Go remote! If you are really addicted go somewhere you literally are unable to get phone/internet reception (check out top lastminute.com.au detox destinations below)

Need a digital detox break?

Here are Louise’s top five suggestions for a tech-free vacation in Australia (where you’ll have very little phone reception even if you tried).

NSW

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa, Wolgan Valley

Just a few hours from Sydney, this six-star resort will make you feel a world away. Not even Telstra’s nationwide network can be picked up out here.

Tasmania

Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge, Cradle Mountain  

Located on the edge of the spectacular World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, just 1.5 hours from Launceston, this is the perfect destination to relax, retreat and rejuvenate.

Northern Territory

Wildman Wilderness Lodge, Mary River

Nothing says remoteness like the Top End of Australia. Stay in this luxurious retreat in the heart of the majestic Mary River National Park Wetlands of the Northern Territory, just outside of Kakadu and make crocodile spotting your morning ritual rather than replying to work emails.

WA

Eco Beach Resort, Eco Beach

Choose between glamping in a luxury safari style eco tent or staying in your own solar powered eco villa overlooking the Indian Ocean. This Kimberley region retreat is just 90 minutes south of Broome and is all about sustainability, fresh produce and relaxation.

QLD

Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa, Daintree

 

Imagine switching off by staying in heart of the world oldest rainforest. Bliss! Situated between the Mossman and Cape Tribulation end of the Daintree National Park, this lodge & spa is escapism at its best.

*According to lastminute.com.au’s 2014 Travel + Lifestyle Report which surveyed 5,700+ Australians. 

August 10, 2014