Can you remember the last time you weren’t staring at a screen? If your answer is no, then you’re certainly not alone!
This comes as no surprise: our increasing dependency on technology means we can’t seem to unplug from our devices. Whilst technology can make our everyday lives much more efficient, research shows that the overuse of it is having negative effects on our mental and physical health. Here are a few examples:
- Digital Eye Strain
- Bad Posture
- Lack of Sleep Due to Blue Light
- Depression and Anxiety
- Constant Comparison to Others and Low Self Esteem
- Sedentary Lifestyle
As you can see from the list above, humans simply weren’t designed to be online 24/7. That’s why Unplug Day (March 3rd) is so important: it helps us to restore our mental and physical health.
So, what is Unplug Day?
Originally created in 2009 by nonprofit Jewish Education Group ‘Reboot’, the main aim of the day is to completely switch off from devices for twenty four hours, spend time in the real world , and allow our minds and bodies to relax, reset and re-energise.
The initiative became so popular that it is no longer just a national event. The Unplug Collaborative have overseen the mission and driven the campaign to become a Global Day of Unplugging. This year, it takes place from the 3rd – 4th March and people across the world will be participating.
What can you do to Unplug?
To make the most of the day and properly unplug, it’s important to occupy your twenty four hours with activities that will truly take you away from technology. If you don’t go in with a plan, you might find yourself reaching for your phone and falling back into old habits, which evades the whole point.
So, here are some ideas to help you make the most of your digital detox!
1.Plan digital free activities with friends and families to deepen social bonds
Whilst social media has made us more connected than ever, we have become increasingly disconnected from those around us because we spend so much time online. Digital interaction can never replace the health benefits humans get from face to face interaction.Therefore, try to think of some activities (that don’t involve devices) that you can do with friends or family. Perhaps you can try cooking from a recipe book, do some painting or play board games together. Eliminating social media and technology can help you become much more present and spend quality time with people you care about.
2. Visit a nature spot to properly de-stress
Sometimes, to truly detox you need a complete change of environment.
What better environment to detox in than nature itself?
Take advantage of the picturesque places in Oxford that will help you get away from your racing thoughts and bring your mind back down to earth. In order to get the best experience, leave your device at home so that you won’t feel the need to take pictures or post on social media. Instead, just try to just live in the moment and experience your surroundings through your five senses. Take the time to soak in the beautiful views, the warmth of the sun of you’re skin and the shrill sounds of birds tweeting. Here is a list of lovely places right on your doorstep!
3. Get active
Physical activity is essential for a healthy and happy life, but we’ve become quite sedentary as we are always on our devices. Unplug Day is the perfect time to go outside and get some exercise – it’s one of the best ways to improve our mood and health. If you aren’t too sure where to start, then have a look at some ways to get active to help you build momentum. You may enjoy it so much that it could be the start of your fitness journey!
Indeed, you’re going to also need some nutritious food to fuel your body. Independent restaurant, Oxford Brunch Bar is the perfect spot to go to after a morning workout. They have a lots of healthy options on their menu, and their ingredients are all locally sourced. If you’d rather cook at home, then why not pick up some fresh ingredients from Bonner’s. They’re a family run business with an endless supply of fruit and veg!
4. Don’t leave your devices charging to reduce electricity consumption
It’s always tempting to leave our devices plugged in when we aren’t using them so they’ll be fully charged and ready to go once we need them. However , constantly charging our devices uses up electricity unnecessarily, which isn’t good for our household bills or for the environment.
So, on Unplug Day, try not to charge your devices when you’re not using them. This well help you contribute towards saving electricity and helping the environment. If you’re curious to know how much electricity your devices could be using up, consider using a tracking app that can give you greater insight. For example, the Oxford based start up Loop, helps users track their energy usage through an app. Or, if you want to consider better ways to cut down on your usage, Cosy Homes Oxfordshire is a partnership scheme which helps households cut back on their electricity by creating an energy saving plan.
It’s clear that technology is here to stay, but that doesn’t mean we need to let it control our lives. Unlike our electronic devices, humans need to unplug in order to recharge. With these tips, you can take steps to improve your health, well being and quality of life on Unplug Day.