If you work in tech (like us) you might feel like it’s impossible to unplug. Every day is a barrage of apps, platforms, passwords, two-factor authentications, updates, alerts, notifications, pings and rings.
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However, tomorrow is National Unplugging Day, so we’re going to use this blog to look at a few ways even the most plugged-in can take a little break from the grid.
The state of unplugged 2021
Shocking research from 2020 suggests that the average adult will spend 34 years of their life using a screen.
That’s 4,866 hours a year using laptops, phones and televisions – to put that into context, you could walk halfway around the world in the equivalent amount of time – and think of all the things you’d see and experience in the process.
Other polls suggest that one in three Brits regularly wakes up in the night in order to check an email or send a text.
And further research suggests that nomophobia – aka the fear of being without a mobile phone – is on the rise – with 89 per cent of college students agreeing that they experience moderate or severe nomophobia.
So what toll is this taking on our health?
The impact of being omni-plugged
According to research too much screen time can lead to…
• Vision issues like dry eyes and blurred vision
• Shoulder and neck pain
• Sleep disturbances
• Weight gain
• Risk of heart disease
8 ways to unplug
Below we look at eight simple ways to unplug that won’t take up too much of your precious time.
4 conventional ways to unplug
Tried these and got the t-shirt? Scroll down for some slightly more unique approaches to unplugging…
Get a phone sleeping bag or phone jail
The official National Day of Unplugging team has been sending out cell phone sleeping bags to people across the world, so they can put their mobile to sleep for a little while.
If you need a little help with your resolve not to touch your phone, try a phone jail – lock your phone inside and give the keys to a colleague or family member who will act as jailer for a specified amount of time.
Read – it only takes a line
Experts suggest that reading a book that’s unrelated to your work can be a great way to unplug.
If you don’t have the time to work your way through a Bronte or Bryson, why not get yourself a box of prompt cards.
These boxes of postcard-style cards are designed around themes like calming places and kindness. Each card takes less than a minute to read and you’re meant to take a few more moments to consider and reflect on what the card says once you’ve finished reading.
Enlist the services of a digital detox app
If you can’t trust yourself to leave your phone or computer untouched, enlist the help of an app. Apps like ClearLock and Flipd allow you to block yourself from using certain other apps and platforms at specific times of the day.
Get into nature or fake it to make it
Not everyone has the luxury of a green space on their doorstep. However, research suggests that the calming impact of nature can be created to a certain degree in urban spaces – you just need to create an area in your home that has potted plants and natural scents like pine or cypress.
4 unusual ways to unplug
Create a scent scape
Scent scaping – also known as fragrance zoning – involves using scents to help you mentally transition from one point of the day to the next.
For example, you might have an awakening peppermint infuser on the go during your working hours. Once work is done, you can transition to your home life by snuffing out the infuser and lighting a relaxing lavender candle.
Niksen is a Dutch word that translates as ‘doing nothing’. In her book about Niksen, author Olga Mecking explains:
“Niksen is not a form of meditation, nor is it a state of laziness or boredom. It’s not scrolling through social media, or wondering what you’re going to cook for dinner. Rather, to niks is to make a conscious choice to sit back, let go, and do nothing at all.”
Take a cold shower
Taking a cold shower might not sound like the most relaxing thing to do, but according to the Wim Hof method method regularly taking cold showers can reduce stress, increase alertness and boost will power.
Try koe knuffelen
Okay, this one should come with some provisos. If you’re going to take part in koe knuffelen, you’ll want to do so in some sort of organised and ethical way. However, koe knuffelen aka cow hugging is being tipped as the ‘world’s new wellness trend’.
Originating in The Netherlands, the practice of cow hugging involves people taking a tour of a farm and then sitting down next to one of the cows for a few hours. According to farms that offer it, the cows’ warmer body temperatures, slower heartbeats and large sizes can make cuddling up next to them a soothing experience.
One to try when lockdown restrictions lift perhaps?
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