Time To Disconnect.
I grew up in a world without Google, without smartphones, without Facebook and without many other amazing pieces of technology and apps that keep us connected to the rest of the world all day, every day.
A Monday to Friday job was just that; Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Now, we feel obligated to be available and connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Why should we, though?
When the internet first came along everyone was excited. It inspired an unparalleled sense of excitement and enthusiasm. Now, in 2018 it’s clear the internet can be seen as a platform that breeds negativity as much as (if not more than) positivity which can (and has) lead to mental health problems.
According to TeenSafe.com, 87% of today’s youth have witnessed cyberbullying and close to 34% of students acknowledge they have been subjected to cyberbullying at some point in the last few years. Now that the internet connects around 3.2 billion people across the world it has opened a whole avenue for hate to spread and the under-appreciation for the power of the internet and how it connects people, is one of the main factors that can lead to the abuse of it.
Without any real downtime, our minds don’t get the opportunity to rest, recover and reflect. Instead, our minds are so fixated on the now, the things we thought about earlier in the day gets pushed out and forgotten. This leads to burnout, fatigue and mental health issues.
What can we do about it?
The simple answer is plenty. Start with small things, for example, instead of coming home from work and sitting on your phone, leave it in a drawer. Or instead of checking Facebook last thing at night and first thing in the morning, put your phone on aeroplane mode at 8pm and only take off aeroplane mode at 8am. Somewhat ironically, there are a few apps that can help manage this, like Moment or Offtime.
Maybe your problem isn’t time management, but more turning your brain off for a while – apps like Calm allow you to delve deeper into “disconnection” and offer bedtime stories for adults to help with sleeping, meditation to improve mental health.
As a company, there’s also many things you can do. At Big Pixel, we will be introducing a weekly meditation session and will extend our break at lunch for an additional 15/20 minutes, however, employees will be encouraged not to use their phone or computer at all. It is strictly a tech-free time.
Of course, I’m not saying you must live your life like a caveman, as certain apps allow us to disconnect in a different way. Netflix is the perfect example; when you turn on Netflix, you are not interested in what emails you just received or how many likes your Instagram post got from earlier in the day. You are fixated on the single task at hand. This then gives our subconscious mind a chance to come to the forefront and breed creativity and mindfulness without even realising it.
So, after you share this blog on all your usual platforms, turn off your phone, engage with a loved one, read a book, watch a film or go for a walk – disconnect.