According to statistics, 64% (!) of users intensify their use of mobile phones during the holidays.
Holidays are the time when we tend to overindulge in things, often out of habit. You may not really want a 5-course dinner, but your relatives have cooked it, and it’s already on the table – so you end up eating at all, and then feel heavy.
The same can happen with our devices – we may intend to take a break for restoration but end up overindulging on our phones.
To make this break restorative rather than burdensome on your mind, consider following these 4 information diet principles:
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Give your full attention to others without screens.
Oxytocin, or the “love hormone,” is involved in regulating stress, supporting the reproductive system, wound healing, and cardiovascular health. However, it is only released when we give or receive full attention from others. When a smartphone is visibly present during a conversation, our conversation partner perceives us as less interested, and the conversation feels less intimate.
So, leave your little shiny friend to charge in the other room and recharge your oxytocin batteries by being fully present with the people you love.
Keep the phone away from the bedroom.
Most of us use our phones as an alarm clock and keep them nearby. However, this interferes with our sleep. Harvard Medical School research shows that keeping phones next to the bedroom, even on airplane mode, puts the brain in a state of alert. It’s like leaving the door to your house open – you can still sleep, but the quality of your sleep won’t be great, as you’d be constantly worried. Another piece of research suggests that we tend to delay or shorten our sleep when we are busy browsing through social media before going to sleep.
Now that you don’t need your alarm clock for a few days, experiment with leaving your phone outside of the bedroom and see how much better your sleep becomes. (Bonus points if you don’t use it 1 hour before going to bed and 1 hour after waking up, giving yourself time to reconnect with your natural processes.)
Be in nature (without the phone).
Spending time in nature is one of the best restorative practices for your attention and nervous system. After just 20 minutes of walking in nature, our levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, decrease. However, many of us end up combining a walk with listening to podcasts or having a phone conversation to be 'productive,' neglecting the full benefit of 'nature baths.' The truth is, our brain and nervous system need periods of non-productivity and even boredom. Aim to spend at least an hour daily in nature in the next few days without engaging with your phone.
Plan your leisure now.
Research on adolescents shows that without structured activities, individuals are far more likely to experience problematic internet use. Conversely, those with planned extracurricular activities have fewer problems with digital overuse. Take half an hour today or tomorrow to plan things you’d like to do in the coming days.
Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season!