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How to have a ‘digital detox’

Turn off computer

Whether it’s a computer, a smartphone or even a sat nav; many of us are guilty of spending hours on end staring at a screen. Owning several devices and constantly scrolling, clicking and sharing has become an acceptance of modern life but are you in need of a digital detox?

Jan Willem Poot, founder of Yes We Can Youth Clinics, gives us four ways you can switch off:

Periodical bans – Give yourself a certain period of time in which you are not allowed to look at a screen. These periods can start off small but should increase as you lose the dependency on your device. Banning technology at mealtimes and an hour before bedtime is a great place to begin. Be in the now and enjoy your meal with the people around you and begin to wind down your brain for a good night sleep. Jan Willem says: “Looking at a bright screen before bedtime tricks your brain into thinking it’s daytime. The eyes channel the bright light directly to the brain, shutting down the sleep switch.”

Practice Mindfulness – Practicing mindfulness is a great way to switch off from the constant hubbub of technology. How many of us are guilty of watching TV with our phones in our hand, sending emails, scrolling through Instagram or texting friends? “Take just 10 minutes out of your day to switch off everything and close your eyes. Concentrate on your breathing, how your body feels as you inhale in through the nose and out through the mouth. Once completed, take note of how you feel, both in body and mind,” says Jan.

Get Outside – Get yourself out in the fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors. Whether it’s going for a walk, a cycle, or simply taking a book and sitting on a park bench. Jan says: “Fresh air and a change of scenery does wonders for your wellbeing and state of mind.”

Get an app for your smartphone – Apps have been created to monitor your device usage and report how many times you check your phone a day. Most of us are aware of being on our phones a lot but seeing specific data showing how many hours we ‘waste’ on our mobiles is enough to shock you into a digital detox. “I am also guilty of double screening, having an app on your phone will make you realise how much time you spend on your device,” says Jan.

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