With Christmas just a few days away, you might be thinking about how you can make the most of the holiday, whether you’re spending it alone or with family this year.
The festive period is the perfect time to switch off, put down your devices and be present with yourself and your loved ones, sharing in conversation, catching up on 2020 and rediscovering the magic of the holiday spirit, without the distraction of Instagram proposals, puppies, presents and the parlour games that are 10 X better than the ones you’re playing.
Taking a digital break can be an essential part of looking after your mental wellbeing over the Christmas period, particularly if you’re struggling with loneliness, low self-esteem or that little thief of joy – comparison culture.
By stepping away from the digital world, you can reconnect not only with the real world but with yourself and the things that matter to you. Here’s some helpful tips for reducing your screen-time over the next few weeks. We hope you have a very merry and mindful Christmas.
1 Make going online a conscious decision
If going cold turkey feels like too much of a giant leap, you can try having allocated social media times to check-in
If going cold turkey feels like too much of a giant leap, you can try having allocated social media times to check-in and respond to messages or catch up with everyone’s news, for example, 15 minutes a day. You’ll still be removing yourself from the relentless notifications, mindless scrolling and streams of content – this way, you can set some boundaries online and check-in when you’re prepared to, that way digital consumption and connectivity is on your terms.
2 Let your friends, family and followers know, you’re having some time off
Enjoying a 2-week hiatus from Instagram? We don’t bloody blame you. Much like shutting up shop or closing the office for the holidays, telling the people who need to know that you’ll be digitally unavailable is a great way to manage expectations.
3 Delete the apps
The temptation is real, and our thumbs clearly have a memory of their own. Save yourself the workout and delete your most-tapped apps from your phone altogether. Out of sight, out of mind. See ya Slack, in a bit Insta.
4 Make it work for you
Breaking up with all your digital devices might be a tad too ambitious for some, particularly if you rely on digital communication for work. If this is you, focus on practising some sustainable work-life balance habits instead. Whether that’s making sure you clock off by a certain time, taking regular screen breaks or having social media-free evenings, you don’t’ have to aim for to total disconnectedness to enjoy the benefits of a digital break.
5 Find other ways to connect
You might wrestle with the temptation to scroll into oblivion or send a quick email but positive distraction is a great way to break that unconscious cycle of digital addiction.
Use this extra time to fill your days with wholesome simple pleasures.
Whether you get stuck into a puzzle, start a gratitude journal, get lost in the fictional world or tune into the everyday magic of the real one, use this extra time to fill your days with wholesome simple pleasures. Forest bathing, walking with a coffee or enjoying an evening stretch with your favourite candle flickering away, or even eating at your favourite restaurant without the pressure to document every course on Stories.
6 Switch your screen to greyscale
When it comes to bright colours, we’re like moths to a flame. By turning your phone to greyscale in settings, you’ll be less distracted by pretty colourways. To change your colour filter settings go to: settings>accessibility>display & text size> colour filters > greyscale. Hello monochrome apps, we don’t want to open you at all.
7 Tune into your needs
A digital break should feel nourishing, not exhausting, so make the most of it by engaging in one activity at a time. Multi-tasking is often seen as the pinnacle of productivity, but it has quite the opposite effect on our concentration span. If you’re not going 100% screen-free with your digital break, try to adopt the one-screen rule. Concentrate on one type of tech at a time, rather than watching The Crown while replying to the girls’ WhatsApp group and shopping online for Christmas presents. We’ve all been there.
There’s a reason why it’s called the art of doing nothing – sometimes, it takes a certain type of skill, awareness and inner-peace to be comfortable with your thoughts and feelings.
Equally, you don’t need to fill your tech-free days with plans if stillness is what you crave. When was the last time you remember being truly stare-into-space bored? Lean into it and be in the moment. There’s a reason why it’s called the art of doing nothing – sometimes, it takes a certain type of skill, awareness and inner-peace to be comfortable with your thoughts and feelings.
Ultimately, taking regular digital breaks and reclaiming some of the control over how we let tech into our lives will enable us to have a healthier relationship with our devices.