Read Time - 9 min
With the holiday season just around the corner, you’re probably gearing up to enjoy a restful period with loved ones. However, heavy smartphone users may struggle to unplug and make the most of their time with family and friends. While digital technologies can foster connection in some contexts, research shows that high levels of smartphone use can negatively impact family harmony and happiness. After all, spending time with someone constantly scrolling social media feeds can be frustrating, demoralizing, and downright boring.
So, how can you beat the temptation to check your emails or post your every passing thought on social media? We’ve put together a helpful guide to ensure you feel refreshed and fulfilled this holiday season.
Before you log off your work emails or step back from everyday life, we recommend reflecting on your priorities for the festive period. Write a list of personal goals and remember to look at them regularly. This simple technique will ensure you hold yourself accountable for your phone use and help you stay motivated when the urge to scroll kicks in. Potential goals could include:
It can be difficult to avoid technology if you’re unsure what to do with yourself. Rather than sitting around and expecting the conversation to flow, why not plan some fun activities that will help you and your loved ones connect? Examples could include:
We know many of you are likely to enjoy an elaborate meal on Thanksgiving – but why stop there? Organizing phone-free meals for different groups of friends is a fabulous way to nurture your closest relationships, spark deep conversations, and hone your cooking skills along the way! Just remember to prepare as much of the meal as possible in advance, as this will ensure you don’t spend all night in the kitchen.
67% of Americans report feeling stressed during the holidays. 10% of regular exercisers stop working out during this hectic season. Unfortunately, this lack of physical activity can impact much more than our waistlines, leading to sluggishness and mental health issues that can exacerbate digital addiction.
Fortunately, it’s possible to avoid the holiday slump and uphold your digital detox by following a few simple tips, including:
We know posting photos of your festive celebrations can feel like the perfect way to document your holiday and connect with others. However, spending all day posting on social media will rob your loved ones of your presence and prevent you from living in the moment. Why not set aside a 15-minute slot to take as many pictures as you like, encouraging everyone to put their phones away once you’ve finished.
It's also worth noting that posting heaps of pictures of people having fun can be upsetting for those who may not have such active social calendars. If you’re willing to extend your social circle and give back to society this holiday season, why not reach out to a neighbor who lives alone? You could also consider visiting a homeless shelter or an old folks’ home. As well as helping you stay off your phone, such good deeds could help you reflect on what really matters in life. You never know – you may gain a whole new perspective on your previous digital habits.
Using apps or other technologies that restrict access to certain sites or prevent you from using your phone for too long could help you unplug and stay present. While you may believe you have the willpower to stop scrolling, temptation may get the better of you during quiet moments.
If you’re really struggling to unplug, don’t be afraid to divulge your concerns with loved ones. As well as helping you stay accountable, telling loved ones about your concerns will ensure you feel supported during a difficult time. Some family members may even be able to share their own experiences with digital addiction, providing tips on disconnecting and staying strong.
Unplugging during the holiday season isn’t meant to be a punishment. By following some of the tips above, you could help your closest relationships thrive and discover parts of yourself you never knew existed. Just remember to ease yourself back into the digital world carefully when the new year hits, using the lessons you’ve learned to pursue a more balanced approach to technology use.