Thursday, 14 April 2016

Unplugged : Be Free from Devices

Considering you are currently reading my online blog I'm guessing that you are like me - you just can't get enough of technology. Not just the internet, but phones, tablets and laptops. They rule our lives. My phone is the first thing I check in the mornings and the last thing at night. When I can't get to sleep I take back out my phone and scroll through my social media news feeds.

Social Media brings it's own difficulties when it comes to looking after our mental health. I've written before about how social media made me miserable when I was depressed. It was horrible to have to scroll through posts from people boasting about their ‘perfect’ lives. I couldn’t understand why everyone was living happy lives when I wasn’t. I had nothing else to do but be on Facebook every evening. It was all-consuming and utterly devastating. Don't get me wrong, it is possible to have a healthy relationship with social media and the online world; but it's not always possible to foster a positive attitude when you have a mental illness.

But my evenings are short, and I'm tired of spending my few free hours tied to my computer, often getting frustrated because the internet has stopped working again. And so it has become part of my Be Free resolution this month - to be free from devices.

Rather than just ditching social media, I want to ditch all technology; which for me includes my phone and my laptop.

And it is scientifically proven to be better for you.
I already sit in front of my computer screen for 8 hours a day thanks to my perky office job. I don't need to spend a further four hours staring at one in the evenings.
Looking at the bright light of screens at night sends mixed messages to your body – it increases your alertness, your brain thinks that it is the morning and tells you that it's time to awaken. Many self-help books suggest banning devices altogether from your bedroom to ensure a better and more restful night's sleep.
Unfortunately, my bedroom is the only room in the house that is mine. It's where I write my blog, watch TV and catch-up with friends. So I can't ban all technology from the room.

So instead, I want to place an 11pm ban on electronics; including my phone (even if you send me a distress call at 11:01pm I will not receive it until morning) for the month.
It's something I have always said I will do, but I've never followed through on. This time I will. 

For the whole 30 days, I will be ditching Netflix in favour of a book come 11pm.
I often fall asleep mid-episode on Netflix and awaken three episodes down the line. It's not healthy, and it wastes my time the next day trying to re-find the spot I fell asleep at.
Every night as I hit the sack I will be turning my phone on 'mute' so I am not awoken by vibrations or alert tones mid-sleep.
No more replying to WhatsApp messages until I fall asleep mid-text.

The aim is to live unplugged and create a clear separation between my 'room' and 'sleep time'.
By the end of the month, I should be more rested, less cranky, and ready to awaken when my alarm goes off every morning.


It's been 14 days so far, so I am halfway through my commitment to live device free come 11pm. I already know that I sleep better when I don't continue binge-watching come 10:45pm. And I love how much extra time I have for reading books rather than spending more time in front of a screen.
So far, so good.

But as if ditching I’m going to go one further and embark on a device free evening. I want to try and live unplugged come 5pm.
Find out how I get on in my next post.

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