For many of us remote working will be a permanent fixture that is here to stay. Even with the introduction of new hybrid models of working that combine working from home and the office, boundaries have become blurred between when work starts and ends. With constant access to work systems outside of office hours, it has highlighted the importance of rest that doesn’t involve the use of a screen.
But why is it important to take a break from technology? Surely watching Netflix or using an entertainment app is also considered rest?
In his bestselling book, ‘The Stress Solution’, Dr Chatterjee describes how information overload from our devices can lower our threshold for stress. He refers to emails, notifications, calls and instant messaging chats as ‘Micro Stress Doses’ (MSD’s). The build up of MSDs throughout the day increases the likelihood of overreacting in a stressful situation and experiencing responses of anger, anxiety and depression.
A lower stress threshold directly impacts our relationships and how we respond to the people around us. The constant presence of incoming notifications pulls us out of the present moment and inhibits the more deep and meaningful conversations with our partners, colleagues, children and friends.
“Whilst technology has made us increasingly more connected to a wider network of people, it has also made us more disconnected and our relationships of lower nutritional value” Dr Chatterjee
Time away from technology is essential for wellbeing and optimal performance. Not only does it promote better sleep from the reduced physiological effects of “blue light” but research has shown that being physically near technology can reduce intellectual acuity due to the level of mental effort required to resist the pull of incoming texts, notifications and emails (Nicholas Carr).
Going screen free is the fuel that will allow you to strike a balance amidst the integration of work and personal life. Rest is not a reward it is a necessity!
So what can you do that doesn’t involve a screen?
- Walk in nature
It has been scientifically proven that the repeating patterns we see in nature, such as trees and ocean waves, lower our responses to stress. These repeating patterns known as fractals activate our parasympathetic nervous system and bring us out of fight or flight!
Cooking can be a great form of meditation and self-love. Consciously preparing food and using the sense of touch can draw us back into the present and provide some grounding. For quick, balanced, healthy recipes check out Nunas Nutrition!
- Hot Bath
Soaking in a hot bath is one of the easiest ways to relax as the warm water relaxes the muscles instantaneously. You can try using some candles, essential oils or Epsom salts to truly make this a ritual for relaxation.
- Move your body
Any exercise that gets your muscles moving is going to be an instant mood booster as you reap the benefits of endorphins. It doesn’t matter how intense your workout is, your mood and energy levels can benefit from exercise over short periods. So get boxing, dancing, swimming, cycling, spinning, walking or trampolining!
Moving your body mindfully with the breath is one of the best ways to move when your stress levels are high. All movement is great but some workouts can be an additional stress on an already stressed body. If you are looking to move your body in a more gentle and compassionate way, Yoga is the one. Studies have shown that GABA, serotonin and dopamine flood the brain when we engage in Yoga and new neural pathways are built when we achieve stillness and direct our thoughts away from the wobbles. Not only is it a workout for the body, but the mind too!
- Chat with friends
Making time for friends in a schedule that is filled with work commitments, home schooling, workouts or studying can feel like a chore. However, they are crucial for protecting our mental health. Talking to a friend can be an outlet for stress and a source of emotional support. It has also been shown that social support boosts our self-esteem, so if it’s a confidence boost you’re looking for look no further than your friends.
- Read a book
There is nothing better than losing yourself in a good book and being instantly transported into another world!
- Go on a bike ride
Explore a new park, town or city by getting out on a bike ride with a friend. If you don’t own a bike there are plenty of options to hire them for the day!
Here are just a few of the ways you can reclaim your me time back from screen time and experience the benefits of improved mood, better relationships, and enhanced wellbeing whilst doing so.
Laura Jennings is a yoga teacher and a well being expert at My Method, where she consults with companies to help bring wellness into the work place. She encourages her clients to look at their lifestyles as a whole, through sleep, relationships, nutrition, mindfulness and emotions, when trying to improve their overall wellbeing. You can find Laura on instagram at @laurajane_yoga.