By Dr. Eudene Harry, MD
There is no scarcity of data about the addictive potential of electronics and social media in adolescents and young adults. We are also seeing these same problems in adults struggling to go even an hour without tuning into a device, especially those who spend their day on a computer.
There aren’t too many careers today that do not require us to spend an inordinate amount of time plugging into technology. Whether we are preparing for that big presentation or simply accessing or inputting data that is required as part of our daily responsibilities, many of us log quite a bit of screen time. So how do you unplug when you get home?
Here are a few tips:
- When you get home, turn off all notifications, email, social media, etc. That constant ding or buzz only serves to keep you on high alert. You may start feeling anxious that you might be missing an important message or update. This can lead to not only hours of more screen time, but also heightened stress levels. Turning off notifications may just allow you the space and permission you need to breathe and induce that relaxation response.
2. Today, when you get home, instead of turning on the TV or computer to unwind, try starting that book you have been meaning to read. Just assign yourself the first chapter. Engage the mind in a different way that allows it to use the imagination and paint its own picture instead of being constantly bombarded with other people’s visions. This might be the time to let your imagination and creativity soar.
3. Spring is coming and our days are getting longer, this is the ideal time to use Mother Nature as part of your unplugging routine. Research tells us that nature has the ability to lift our moods and decrease our stress levels. Walk through the park and notice how the leaves gently sway in the wind; allow yourself to breathe in the peace and marvel at the colors. Allow yourself to exhale.
4.Take twenty minutes to breathe and decompress. This might be a good time to try a meditation practice. Meditation has been shown to help manage stress levels, improve moods and even may help to lower blood pressure. Not one to meditate? Try a coloring book or take up painting. It is not as crazy as it sounds. You may discover a new hobby or worst-case scenario; you may just find yourself releasing some of the day’s tension.
5.Use this time after work to interact with your family and friends. Prepare dinner together. Eat dinner together. Truly give your attention to each other. Ask about their day and share the triumphs and trials of your day. Take this opportunity to connect. Look them in the eye and truly engage, this says “I see you and I hear you”. We all want to be seen, heard and appreciated. It will make you feel better and make them feel better as well.
Eudene Harry, MD, is the medical director for Oasis Wellness and Rejuvenation Center, a wellness practice devoted to integrative holistic care. She is a veteran physician with over 20 years of experience. Dr. Harry earned her medical degree and performed her residency at Thomas Jefferson University.
Dr. Harry is the author of three books designed to empower the individual to get started on their path to optimal health. Her most recent book, Be Iconic: How to be Healthy and Sexy at Any Age is available on Amazon. She has published extensively on the topics of reducing stress, healthy lifestyle choices, and regaining youthfulness. She regularly contributes to television and radio shows nationwide.