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Need A Digital Detox? 10 Ways To Switch Off

Need A Digital Detox? 10 Ways To Switch Off

Considering most of us depend on our smart phones to wake us up in the morning, tell us the weather, and direct us to our next destination, having a digital or gadget free day (or hour) is no easy challenge. Technology has made life a lot more interconnected and convenient; however, it has also compelled its users (us) to feel a need to be switched on 24/7. Having to keep up with endless notifications coming from 10 different social media platforms can be stressful and exhausting. Let’s not even get started on emails.

If you struggle to break up with your phone for even two minutes, maybe it’s time to take action and treat yourself to a digital detox. Even if it’s just one hour a day, it can make a world of difference to your well-being and sanity.

Not sure where to start? Here are 10 ways to unplug and switch off. The goal is to be more productive and do more of what you love, minus the reliance and addiction to technology.

Be Ruthless With Your Smart Phone Notifications

Guilty of checking your phone every time someone mentions you on Facebook or tags you in a photo on Instagram? If self control is an issue here, do something drastic once and for all. Dedicate time slots throughout the day (or on weekends), where you turn of all incoming data notifications. Instead of spending your days with your head down, scrolling through feeds and feeds of information, why not fit in some quality face-to-face time to catch up with friends, family, or your significant other? If something’s urgent, people can still reach you by calling you. Don’t worry, your Facebook messages and Instagram tags aren’t going anywhere.

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Do a Digital Cull

Bite the bullet and delete all of the apps that you never use on your phone (or hardly ever use), as well as any unnecessary social media platforms. Unsubscribe from newsletters you’ve subscribed to, but usually delete before opening – they’re just adding to your digital clutter and causing unneeded stress.

Unroll.Me is a fantastic website to use for digital culling. Sign up to see a list of all your subscription emails – then unsubscribe instantly from whatever you don’t want with one simple click. Too easy.

Indulge in a ‘Wellcation’

Holidays are meant to be relaxing, but when you’re constantly on your phone Instagramming every perfect shot you can get and Snapchatting as you walk, it’s easy to get lost in the virtual world and forget to appreciate the moment by simply ‘being there’. If you’re ready for a break where you can unplug and de-stress, treat yourself to a ‘wellcation’ on your next getaway.

Book a flight to Fiji or any other island paradise where you can escape from the digital world, be out of range, and reconnect with nature. You will be so busy snorkeling, swinging on hammocks, getting massages, and drinking fresh coconuts by the pool, that your emails will be the last thing on your mind. If you need some extra help, the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa offers an Ultimate Business Break package where guests are able to surrender their devices to their personal butler.

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Get Smart with Emails

As most people would agree, emails can be the bane of one’s existence. Sure, it’s necessary, but it’s also a major time suck. Thanks to technology, we’re constantly ‘at work’, checking emails as soon as we wake up, when we’re on the go, on holidays, and even during meal times.

If all of the above sounds like you, it’s time to manage your emails, rather than letting your emails manage you. Set up an efficient email system where you only read your emails at set times during the day. You can also turn off all email notifications after hours and on weekends. Craft up response templates for generic or common emails to save time, and don’t be shy about setting out-of-office emails to set expectations.

Establish Some Social Rules

Ensure to practice digital etiquette when you are in company, including when you are on dates or simply having drinks with friends. This means turning your phone on silent or keeping your phone in your bag and focusing on the conversation. To make it fun, play ‘Phone Stack’, which is a game that takes place with a group of friends over a meal. Everyone must give up their phones and place them in the middle of the table. The goal is to see who can last the longest without their phone. Whoever caves first must suffer the consequences and pay the bill. Digital detoxes are easier when friends and money are involved!

Schedule Screen-Free Time

Everyday, allocate time slots in your calendar for non-negotiable screen-free time. When it’s written in your calendar you are more likely to commit to the time you have set aside and promised yourself. Treat it with the same importance as you would with a work meeting or a doctor’s appointment. Utilize this time to do whatever you wish that’s tech-free.

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Screen-free time can be as simple as reading a book in the garden for the afternoon or going out for a walk. Think of it as quality ‘me time’ or ‘down time’ – you just may be surprsied how much better you’ll feel aftwards.

Substitute Your Screens

In today’s digital world, we use our tablets to read a book and our laptops to watch movies on Netflix. Substitute these screens by visiting a book shop or organizing a night out during the week with your friends to see a movie at the cinema. You can essentially still have your fun but with less screens involved and more opportunities to interact with others.

Similarly, if at work, instead of hosting meetings or brainstorm sessions whereby everyone’s attached to their laptop screens, organize a stand up or outdoors meeting instead. Getting up and about with some fresh air can help introduce clarity of thought, resulting in more productive meetings and pleasant experiences.

Reorganize Your Bedroom

Creating a digital free sanctuary in your home is a great way to de-stress from your busy lifestyle. Your bedroom should be the ultimate zone to unplug and switch off after a long busy day. For this to work, set some ground rules. Remove all screens from your bedroom. The TV can stay in the living room, but your laptop or tablet should be out of sight. The same goes for your phone, where you can use an actual clock instead for your alarm. Invest in a comfortable bed, as well as some quality sheets and pillows. Introduce candles into the space and diffuse some essential oils every night. Do whatever it takes to design an environment that’s comfortable and relaxing – no gadgets involved.

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Find a New Hobby

If you normally fill your spare time with screen time, then you may need to seek out some new activities and hobbies to fill the digital void. Write a list of all the activities or side projects you’ve been meaning to do but never seem to have the time for, and start ticking them off one by one. Whether it’s trying out Pilates and Yoga, or taking up knitting or pottery class, now’s the time to do it. Opt for activities that don’t require access to technology and ask a friend to join you for added motivation.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

If you still need help, download the Big Red Stop on Google Play, a free digital detox app for your iPhone. If you feel like going offline for a while, all you need to do is press the big red ‘Stop’ button in the app which will let anyone who messages you know that you are taking a break and when you will be back online. Yes, it’s ironic that you’re leveraging technology to detach yourself from being switched on; but, hey, whatever works right?

Conclusion

A digital detox is all about the power of now and being present in the moment. So, next time you sit down to enjoy a sunset or get up to dance at a music gig, instead of getting your phone out to take the perfect shot, leave it in your pocket and simply enjoy the experience.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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