Do you yearn for better health and less stress in your life? Look to your usage of personal electronics and spend some time “unplugged” to achieve this goal. According to a report released by Nielsen Ratings on July 31, 2018, Americans spend over 10 hours of free time daily in front of a screen. This statistic stretches across all electronics, including television, smartphones, laptops, and tablets. Whether playing games online, indulging in social media or Netflix binges, or watching tv, we have become a society of “plugged in” people. What’s perhaps more alarming is that this only refers to recreational time online or looking at a screen of some kind. It excludes the time we spend at work on a computer or mobile device. This addiction to electronic devices has begun to take a toll on our health.
Connecting with Family and Friends
It eats up precious time that was once spent with family. In fact, look around a restaurant the next time you dine out. You will see entire tables of people on their devices rather than connecting and bonding. Connecting with family and friends is important to us mentally.
Your family members and friends are your support when times the rough. They are the people who are there with you through good and bad. They are the ones who congratulate you on your success, lend you a shoulder to cry on when you’ve been hurt, and will give you a pat on the tail and send you back in the game when you need a bit of encouragement. Not taking the time to nurture these relationships can have long-term negative emotional consequences.
To combat this, make a pact to leave digital devices off for at least an hour each time you get the chance to spend time together. You’ll find yourself able to share without them (or you) feeling the distraction of electronic devices.
Better Time Management Means Less Stress
One great way to reduce stress and improve your health and general well-being is to ditch the stress of poor time management. When you don’t manage time well, you’ll feel the pressures of trying to meet last-minute deadlines, constantly running late, and anxiety over completing your goals on time.
One of the best, and most liberating ways, to improve your time management is to turn off your personal electronics for one hour a day. Use that hour to accomplish those tasks that you procrastinate over or avoid altogether. Often, we avoid those tasks because they are difficult. When you ditch the cell phone, you’ll be able to focus on the task, segment it into achievable bites, and conquer it.
Once you’ve made it a habit to spend this one precious hour a day without your phone or tablet, you will begin to look forward to it! You’ll quickly relieve yourself of waiting until the last minute to complete those tasks and reduce your stress level.
Improved Eye Health
Eyestrain can cause serious side effects. Sure, you know that it can cause severe headaches and even trigger migraines. This is often because of the flickering presence of blue light.
Blue light is a high-energy, short wavelength source of light that our eyes perceive as blue. A beautiful example of this is a blue sky on a sunny day. Blue light is everywhere around us. While we can’t completely avoid its natural source—the sun—we are now exposed to it almost around the clock. This is because blue light also produced by virtually all electronics. From fluorescent or LED light bulbs to televisions and computer monitors to your cell phone screen, you are barraged by blue light almost every waking hour.
It has a flickering presence that can be almost undetectable due to the short wavelength. This launches a constant assault on the eyes. Over the long-term, the consequences can be serious. It can cause damage to your retinas, macular degeneration, or even blindness.
Find Time for Exercise
As we continue to feed our addiction to personal electronic devices, television, and computers we become a more sedentary society. The health consequences of this are that we are becoming overweight or obese, battling heart disease and diabetes, and making fitness less of a priority.
What do you think is the number one excuse offered by those who don’t follow a regular fitness program? According to Web M.D., that excuse is a lack of time. As summed up by Dr. James Hill, who co-founded the National Weight Control Registry, “We find time for the things we value.”
The time that you spend on social media sites, in chat rooms, gaming devices and watching the tube is time that could be re-prioritized to achieving fitness goals. This will help you keep your waistline in check and fight off those nasty ailments that come with an ever-growing belt size. Just 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week, will help keep you in better health and live longer.
Improved Sleep Habits
Need a final reason that unplugging will improve your wellness? Better sleep! Many of us are sleep challenged. One reason that’s often overlooked for poor sleep is simple to fix. LCD screens on your phone emit a light that can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, which causes interrupted sleep.
As a result, you awaken in the morning feeling drowsy or sleep-deprived. Naturally, this can lead to a less productive day and add stress to an already hectic life. Power off those cell phones about 30 to 45 minutes before you hit the sack. If you truly are on-call for your career, leave the volume up and the phone itself outside the bedroom door to keep that disruptive light out of range.
Technology is great, it adds convenience, and it’s a necessity to remain competitive today. However, the benefits of spending a little more time each day “unplugged” can help you achieve better health both mentally and physically. Give it a try.