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Is it time for a digital detox?

KITTY CHAO

If technology is making you feel busier, your smartphone is derailing your focus, or checking your feed is disconnecting you from the real world, it may be time for a digital detox. Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Kitty Chao, shows us how.

Lets face it, we are all addicted to technology.

From smart phones and connected devices, to our tablets and laptops, our lives are surrounded with screens and we’re constantly plugged in. We wake up to them, we come home to them, and we carry them around all day in our pockets. On average Australians check their phones 30 times a day, while more than half of us look at our phones within 15 minutes of waking up!

Detoxes of all kinds are the latest craze in the wellness community. While popular food-based detoxes can be beneficial to help cleanse your system and reboot your energy, most of us need to dig deeper emotionally and take an honest look at what it means to be connected to technology 24/7. When you begin to address your need to be online at all times, making healthier choices in every area of your life will become easier.

Studies show that excessive use of smart phones and tablets, along with desktop use is seriously affecting our health and may result in poor posture, rising stress levels, problems sleeping and increased anxiety.

So rather than signing off social media for a few days or ignoring a bundle of emails, here are 3 tips to cut down your digital use.

1. Set a time

Set times for using your devices to check updates, notifications, and emails. In doing this you dictate how you spend your own time, rather than spending all your time answering other people’s demands. If you are unable to switch off the device for a set period of time, then set periods each day where you take time to respond - instead of responding to every buzz.

2. Reduce screen time before bed

If you’ve read my previous article on clean sleeping, you’ll know that stopping screen time at least 30 minutes before going to bed is crucial for a healthy sleep hygiene routine. Ditch the technology before bedtime and keep it away from your bedroom - it will help your mind and body unwind and prevent problems such as insomnia-inducing stimulation.

3. Move over digital multitasking, hello mindful moments

My walk to the train and the train ride itself are a gift of 15 minutes of mindfulness each morning, instead of a time to send/check messages, make calls or play games. If the increase in the number of pedestrians getting hit while texting, and the fact that multi-tasking doesn't work won't change our behaviour, winning 30 minutes of mindful free time (it's like an early morning tea!) might do the trick. This also goes for using the phone or tablet during meal times - use this time for mindful eating, or enjoying the company of those around you.

A digital detox is a chance to get back in tune with our own rhythms and the rhythms of nature, rather than trying to ‘keep up’ with the pace of the digital world. It's time to disconnect, to reconnect - you'll feel a billion times better, I promise.

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