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In Ireland we have the highest mobile phone usage in the entire Western World. The average adult can spend nearly five hours on their phones, totalling 76 days a year! 3 quarters of Irish people use social media at least once a day, we are well and truly hooked!
While our devices are great for keeping in touch our dependence on them can become harmful. Checking social media frequently can become a compulsive habit we do without even thinking about it. Too much time spent on devices can be bad for your health, causing eye strain, repetitive strain injury, and poor posture. Our mental health can also be damaged by our online activities. We portray the best version of ourselves on social media, compare our lives to others, and often become unhappy. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt “Comparison is the thief of joy”.
Allowing our devices to take priority can damage our relationships and take away from our enjoyment of the moment. It can be hard to disconnect from work with emails popping up in the evening. Our devices can even put us and our families at risk. Almost 25% of parents were concentrating on their smartphones or devices when their child had a near miss or accident.
If you feel like your smart phone has become an addiction, stealing time, causing stress and reducing your ability to relax you’re not alone. Stressed Millennials are now even traveling to Co Westmeath to take part in a digital detox programme! We’ve put together some tips to help you unwind and take a break from your screens.
Simple tips to help disconnect
- Don’t set unrealistic goals. If you force yourself to go cold turkey you are setting yourself up for failure. Ween yourself off, give yourself a daily device allowance, set a timer and stick to it.
- Afraid of missing an important call if your phone is off or out of reach? Simply turn your phone the other way so the screen is facing down. You’ll be able to work or socialise without being constantly distracted by notifications catching your eye.
- Speaking of which, customise which apps can send you push notifications. This will also do wonders for your battery life!
- Don’t eat at your desk. Get outside on your lunch break for some much needed time away from your screen.
- Don’t rely on Google Maps, interact with people around you and ask a stranger for directions
- Try ‘phone stacking’ at family dinners – Everyone puts their phone in the middle of the table… reach for your phone and you face a forfeit.
- Make the people around you a priority, ignore the buzz of notifications. Tell them what you’re doing and so they can hold you accountable.
- Set your phone to do not disturb mode in the evening. You can set it up to still let through calls from important numbers like your parents, children or employer.
- Do a social media cull, if you wouldn’t say hello to them on the street to you really need them cluttering your Feed and wasting your time reading their updates?
- Keep tech out of the bedroom. The light from screens stops the production of vital sleep inducing hormones. Charge your phone in another room and buy an old-fashioned alarm clock so you have no excuse!
Irish Life is one of Ireland’s leading financial services companies with over 1 million customers. For over 75 years, we’ve been helping people in Ireland look after their life insurance, pension and investment needs.