This article discusses why unplugging may be your best strategy to stay in the sane & positive zone at work and home.
Prior to the pandemic, anxiety, depression, and suicide rates in the US were already climbing. Throw in a calamitous political milieu and voila, a perfect storm that can be a nonstop energy-sucking vortex that eats at your ability to focus at work and be happy at home. This is why unplugging regularly from your tech devices and certain elements of the outside world can be your best strategy to preserve your mental health right now.
While keeping on top of the news and events is important, a steady diet of this can sop your energy and outlook. We know from a 2017 study in International Journal of Health & Addiction that increased use of technology is one of the biggest threats to mental health for adults. So perhaps it’s time to put down your device or turn off the TV and simply do something else. Here are some ideas on ways to make this happen:
- Daily digital detox: the studies on the benefits of unplugging from tech are now numerous. We know that too much time in front of a screen can reduce your quality of life, negatively impact your relationships, your communication with others and hamper your ability to sleep. So with a rap sheet like this what’s holding you back?
- Set aside time each day to go ‘screen-free’. A good place to start might be right after work. This is a great time to decompress. Try heading out for a walk or bike ride…without your phone.
- Be sure to stop watching a screen of any type at least one hour prior to bed. Your circadian rhythms will thank you.
- Hammock time: Rarely do we realize the ways in which our surroundings constrain our creativity. When we are always “close” to the problems of work or life, when we never silence our phones or don’t stop responding to email, we get trapped into certain mental habits. We assume that there is no other way to think about things, that this is simply how it must always be done. It’s not until we’re lazily drifting in and out of a delicious nap in a hammock in the shade of a tree – when work & life challenges seem a universe away – that we suddenly find the answer we’ve needed all along.
- Surely you’ve had one of those “a-ha” moments when you were dozing off or in the middle of a movie. Whether it was an idea for a school project, a work problem, or a personal issue that had stumped you, those light-bulb moments happen when you’re not thinking about it. A little relaxing time by the beach, chilling on the park lawn, working out or going for a run can lead to new ideas which can lead to business & personal success.
- News Diet: I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating, pull back on your daily news consumption. Catching the news these days can be traumatic. Yes, it’s important to stay on top of things but constantly scrolling on your twitter feed isn’t going to help you feel better. Quite the opposite happens, right? Figure out what might be a reasonable amount of time to check the news is, then schedule in specific times over the coming week. For example, 45 minutes every few days may be enough to keep you abreast of important events. Be sure to stick by your parameters as it’s very easy, and costly, to go down a very deep and dark bunny hole on this one.
The bottom line is that by unplugging on a daily basis and taking time away from the stresses of work and daily life can give you the break you need so that you can regularly recharge and be better equipped at whatever comes your way.