Being Less Plugged In

When you compare our life to 30 years ago, before the advent of the web and mobile devices, a lot of things took a lot more time. Simple things like finding a product review, figuring out a journey time or making a booking were all slower processes.

Now, researching everything is easier and quicker whether it’s for leisure such as movies and books or you’re looking for reviews on something as mundane as a household appliance.

Staying in touch with people is a lot easier now too, friends who might have moved away for work or study are only a Facetime or Whatsapp away.

The worlds of news, sport and entertainment are at our fingertips too and we have access to the thoughts of millions of people on the events of the day. There’s a constant information flow and a perceived need to keep up with that flow.

Similarly with work, whereas in years gone by people might wait for queries to be answered, now everyone expects instant feedback. “I called you!” frequently means, “Why didn’t you respond more quickly?”

Without a doubt there are huge benefits to this ‘connectedness’ in terms of time and convenience. However, it’s clear there are also costs.

Beyond the well-documented mental health issues of social media, we have the psychological stress of feeling that we have to keep up, that we can’t disconnect even briefly. There are even physical changes such as ‘text neck’ and ‘smartphone thumb‘.

What we’d like to suggest are a few ways to being less plugged in to electronic media for certain parts of the day which will improve health and consequently fitness.

First, and most importantly, remove electronic devices from the bedroom. Rather than your phone, tablet or laptop, read a book or a magazine for 15 to 30 minutes. It’ll be much more conducive to winding down properly and getting quality sleep.

Secondly, during main meal times, place all devices in another room for the duration of the meal. This will allow you to relax, be present and better enjoy the food and the company.

Thirdly, if you’re on email in your work, find a window in the morning and afternoon to turn off the mail package. You’ll find your productivity goes up and stress down as you’re able to focus on tasks at hand.

Lastly, consider removing social media apps from your phone and forcing yourself to use them through the web browser on the phone. Putting barriers in place has been shown to reduce usage.