Group of peopleIt is hard to have a January blog post without the concept of New Year’s resolutions cropping up!

The top list probably looks something like this:

Give up smoking

Lose weight

Exercise more

Cut down on alcohol

Spend less, save more

Learn something new

Spend more time with family

And so on… and so forth, and so not happening…

But resolutions don’t have a good reputation for sticking, often they are too hard, too complicated and life just gets in the way, until we’re lucky if we made it 6 days!

But this year, I think for many people there may be a more effective resolution. And one that inadvertently may free up some much needed time for those other activities.

That it is to UNPLUG – yes, turn off your technology!

Yes, I know it is a shocking suggestion. But, have you ever sat in café and watched a couple or family – all drinking and eating, and being together except there is no conversation, because one or more is stuck in a phone or device and some may even be wearing headphones!

Be honest – has your bedroom, become a variable hideout for every type of charger known to man. Just go down the checklist:

Do you watch TV in bed?

Do you use your phone in bed?

Do you check and respond to email and work messages in bed?

Do you read on a tablet device instead of a book in bed?

Can you remember a time when your bedroom was just for sleeping and for being intimate?

Do you have social alerts set up on your phone? Do you check them even when you are eating, watching TV, are on the loo, in the bath, having a conversation?

If you recognise yourself in this article so far, then maybe it is time to take back control and remember that technology is great for many things, but that it has its place!

It is also worth checking your devices camera – how many pictures are of the world – places you have been, friends you’ve met, things you’ve seen and how many are selfies or random plates of food!

Where to Start:

Start by reducing the amount of time you spend online.

Take regular breaks from all digital devices.

Set boundaries, for example – no phones whilst eating dinner. No devices 2 hours before bedtime etc.

Set aside periods of time where technology will not play a part (save for emergencies), such as at the cinema, a weekend break or during a holiday.

Reduce down the alerts that you have – do you really need every Facebook/Twitter and Instagram ping coming through to you 24/7?

Try to check emails in blocks of time – for example in the first five minutes of every hour, rather than be distracted every time one comes in.

Change habits – when you would normally reach for your device – on the morning commute for instance, instead notice the people around you, the scenery and weather and just enjoy being in the moment.

The Surprising Health Benefits:

Unplugging from technology is likely to make you happier – focusing on the person we are with, focusing on what we are doing right now, being in the present means we are having real human interactions, rather than digital experiences and there is just no comparison to how that feels to the mind, body and soul.

Blue light that is omitted from electronic devices often disrupts our natural sleep cycles, so limiting time before you sleep should see you rest quality improve.

Without electronics you are more likely to make real connections – such as meeting a friend for a coffee, or taking part in a hobby or activity that you like such as jogging or cycling. This rest from digital activities allows your brain to re-boot and your energy and concentration levels will thank you for it!

Lastly, many people are beginning to experience pain in their bodies – sore necks and spines from leaning over/down looking at computers and phones. Unplugging for a while gives your body a break and your eyes a rest.