We live in a technology driven world, but what would the benefits be from a little electronics detox? Angela Martindale, owner of Meals That Transform has shared a great guest post with our readers today, check it out!
How much time do we spend looking at our electronics (phones, tablets, computers, ipads)?
The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that American children of varying ages spend a whopping seven hours a day in front of electronic media. According to CNN, Teens spend 9 hours a day using social media, report says and this doesn’t include the media time they use at school. According to the Daily Mail, the average adult person now spends more time on their phone and laptop than ever before-8 hours and 41 minutes in addition to the time they spend on their electronics for work.
What was your first thought when you read these statistics?
AM: We are in an electronic crises. We must educate ourselves on the impact of spending so much time on our devices and the impact it is having not only in our daily schedule, but on our physical health and emotional wellness of our family members, our friends, our society at large and our personal thoughts and energies. We need to find ways to get back to being grounded and present in our own thoughts and events of daily life.
What are some of the side effects of spending so much time on our electronics and how can we minimize our electronic use every day so that we can be more present?
AM: Find the Unwind
We have to find ways to unwind and reground ourselves in reality. When we are devoting so much time and energy to our electronics, we can lose touch with what is really important in our personal lives, the daily things and events of substance that impact our relationships with family and friends. We get so caught up in having 24-7 access to who is doing what, who liked our posts on social media, you tube, and snapchat, or we become immersed in celebrity gossip, latest news and what’s being marketed to us, that our brains never turn off. We use so much brain power and emotional energy on our electronics that they become almost like an escape from reality. Then when we need our energy to think clearly for our own life, spend time with kids, family and friends or mentally process a work or emotional crises, we are already tapped out and too tired to give our real life relationships the attention they need. We have to balance our electronics against the time we have with our family and friends.
Solution: Have a basket by your front door and as soon as you walk in the door, the phone gets turned off and thrown in the basket until after you can unwind from your day.
Make an effort to have family dinner or have dinner with friends so you can talk to other people about life and enjoy the company. If someone has worked hard to make you dinner and you are distracted by your phone, you will not only offend the chef, but you will miss an opportunity to enjoy the actual food. Once the phone is turned off and in the basket, make sure it stays there and distract yourself with conversation about how everyone’s day went, throw the ball with your kids, walk the dog, mow the lawn or go on a family, couple or group bike ride with friends. Putting the phone out of sight, knowing that it’s turned off, gives your brain opportunities to refocus on the things of value in your life, exercise your social skills and show those closest to you that you are interested in them because they are valuable to you.
Avoid the Bluelight Blues
Most adults spend the bulk of their electronic time in the later hours of the day and often before bed. This is so harmful to our minds and our bodies. Sleep is imperative for your mind and body to reset itself, and our electronics emit shortwave blue light which has a higher concentration of blue light than our natural light, and in high doses (like the light from our phones etc. . . ) fights against the natural sleep inducing hormone melatonin. We essentially activate the brain and tell ourselves to stay awake longer which means we don’t sleep well and when we are not getting enough sleep physically our bodies are more susceptible to irritation, pain, weakness and sickness. When we are not sleeping well we are also emotionally vulnerable, we don’t think as clearly as we need to for problem solving, our cognitive abilities are delayed, and we use all of our energy just trying to keep ourselves awake to get through the day. We don’t pay attention to the body for nutrition and exercise and basically we are a mess!
Solution: Turn your phones off at least an hour before bedtime. Incorporate a few basic yoga exercises into your routine to take the place of looking at your phone to help you breathe, relax and refocus your mind and your body to sleep mode. I recommend using an actual alarm clock instead of your phone as well, if your phone or smart pad/ipad is by your bed before you go to sleep, you will be tempted to pick it up and start perusing the internet or your social media and your sleep and overall health will suffer the next day. You can find some great basic but effective yoga moves on my Ultimate Transformation Series at MealsThatTransform.com to help you get started.
Me Before You
Looking at our phone at the gym kills our workouts! Seriously. When we go to the gym we are there to tune out the world and literally focus only on us. Looking at videos, watching TV or Instagamming while we are working out doesn’t allow the body to maximize its workout because the mind is not fully present in the exercise. Our body and our mind are tied together and if one is distracted from focusing on putting all of our energy into the workout, then we are just robbing our muscles from reaching their peak performance, while also robbing our mind of the full high our endorphins give us while boosting our energy, helping us release stress and being more in tune with our physical movement. Essentially, worrying about what we are watching, who has emailed us or who liked our posts is just a distraction and we are only achieving half of what we could be if we just simply listened to music instead.
Solution: Download your itunes library, Pandora or iHeart Radio and lock your screen for at least 30 minutes while you give everything you have got to your workout. Listening to music, although on your phone, engages your mind in a different capacity and your body reacts differently to the music than it does to videos and pictures on your electronics. Use the down time to listen to some of your favorite workout tunes and tune the world out for maximum results.
Don’t Text Me, Talk With Me
How many times have you been out on a date and you look around to see couples, sitting across from each other, staring at their phones? Our devices give us access to a million voices that distract us from listening to the voice of the person we love the most. Not only is it bad manners, it’s impacting the health and wellness of our personal relationships and it’s a habit we as couples and a society need to break. There is no one more important than our significant other, and if we are on a date, sitting across from one another, looking at our phones instead of connecting with the most valued person in our life, then we are not interacting in deeper conversation with them and definitely not fueling the relationship. Who wants to go out with someone that doesn’t talk to them the whole night because they’re looking at their phone while you are enjoying your meal. When we pay more attention to our phones than we do to our significant others, we miss out on valuable time building a stronger relationship. Our youth and our teens are growing up in an electronic world, with little understanding of how to verbally talk to one another. If mom and dad are not shutting down the presence of distractions to spend time together in actual dialogue, but are instead texting links to each other throughout dinner, then how can we teach our youth and teens to interact with their peers, have sustainable healthy relationships and problem solve in person? Navigating an electronic free date night is a big deal in growing closer together during the short time we have to enjoy our special person!
Solution: Don’t bring your phone out on date night! Have a no electronic rule when you are planning a night out on the town. Even if you are watching a movie at home, simply going on a walk together or having an adventurous weekend getaway, turn your phones off. Better yet, leave them at home and just be present together in the moment. This small act of intentional focus, will make a huge transformation in resetting your relationship and your priorities as a couple at the end of the day. What’s equally as great as enjoying the person you are with, is enjoying the food you share together right? So, meet, eat and laugh together for a healthier relationship!