Holiday Stress Series: Take a Tech Break
Last week I wrote about meditation as a scientifically proven tool for reducing stress. If you haven’t read that post, check it out. Mindful breathing meditation is not as hard as it may sound. This week, I’m encouraging you to take a break from technology.
Multiple recent studies have shown that our daily tech addiction is stressing us out like never before. I don’t know about you but I feel lost if I leave the house without my phone. I almost can’t imagine how we managed before technology. And I had over 30 years of life before the internet, email and cell phones arrived on the scene! But now most of us are addicted and the constant updates and interruptions are stressing us out.
There is also the FOMO aspect of social media that can add to depression, especially if you are at home recovering from treatment. Seeing your friends out and about having the type of fun you used to have before cancer, can really bring you down. If you notice that downward pull, could you, would you, take a tech break?
One recent study conducted by the University of Cambridge, surveyed 1,269 people and found that people who felt in control of their use of smart phones were more likely to be satisfied with their life. And 34% of 25-34 year olds feel overwhelmed by their technology.
Kids are often accused of being just as addicted to their devices, so it’s interesting that the stress results apparently apply to them as well. 38% of 10-18 year olds studied claim to feel overwhelmed, an even higher percentage than the older set.
To reduce stress during the holidays, this might be a place to experiment with how you feel. Here are a few ideas on ways to wean yourself off your device and see if you experience less overwhelm.
- Awareness is the first step. Take a note of how often you check your device throughout the day and how much time you spend looking at screens scrolling social media or checking email. You will have a better sense of how addicted you are and how much behavior needs to be adjusted.
- Try turning off your device for short periods of time. You may feel anxiety at first as you go through withdrawal so start with short periods and increase gradually. The addiction is real!
- Set some limits for yourself during your day where you don’t check email or social media. Starting your day with a morning health routine is a great idea before checking your phone for the news or emails.
- Completely turn off your phone for periods where you need to focus and get work done.
- Set an entire day each week where you don’t have your smart phone with you. This could correspond with family time where you give your loved ones undivided attention.
Give these habit breakers a try over the next few weeks and let me know in the comments below if you notice less anxiety and less overwhelm because of it.