Dan Elliott, national sales manager at Center Parcs Conferences and Events, on switching off from the always-on culture.
Living in a technology rich world, our brains could all do with a rest from time to time. The average person checks their smartphone 28 times a day*, that’s at least once an hour and 10,000 times a year. We rely on technology so much in our daily lives that we often forget to simply look up and take note of what is going on around us, and to take that breather from the always-on culture that that technology allows.
Giving up our smartphones for good may be easier said than done, however there are ways to give your brain a rest and have a more restrained approach to technology – here are our top tips:
Get outside at lunchtime
Lunch breaks are the perfect opportunity for taking some time for yourself. Leave your smartphone on your desk and take a walk in the fresh air. Taking some time away from your desk to go for a quick walk or to enjoy a healthy lunch helps release stress and improves mental well-being, allowing yourself time to recuperate and come back for the afternoon refreshed and ready to work.
Use your commute creatively
The average commute is almost 30 minutes**, which is a lot of time to spend scrolling on your smartphone or tapping away at emails. This means we have less and less time each day for our brains to simply rest, as we are even devoting our downtime to using technology and heightening our stress before we even arrive at work. Try leaving your phone in your bag and reading a book or magazine, handwrite a to-do list for the day so you arrive feeling prepared ahead of the day, or simply take the time to sit and take in your journey!
When Friday evening hits, unless your job involves weekend tasks, there is no reason to scroll through those work emails. Keep a separate phone for work that you switch off out of hours, or switch off notifications so you don’t get tempted to reply to emails that can wait until Monday. If you must draft an email over the weekend, save it in your drafts until Monday morning – that way, you aren’t interrupting anyone else’s free time and you won’t get a reply that tempts you to continue!
Mindfulness is fast becoming a go-to practice to increase wellbeing in our everyday lives and involves paying more attention to the present moment; your thoughts, feelings and the world around you***. It’s hard to be aware of our surroundings when immersed in our laptops or phones, so pick a time everyday where you make a conscious effort to put these aside and really take notice of your present situation, be it during your commute, during a lunch break stroll or when you get home in the evening.
** Based on UK average of 58.4 minutes per day spent commuting: https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/annual-commuting-time-18-hours-compared-decade-ago-finds-tuc