Phoneless Holidays: Tips for Unplugging and Enjoying a restful Season with Loved Ones

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Phoneless Holidays: Tips for Unplugging and Enjoying a restful Season with Loved Ones

Phoneless Holidays: Tips for Unplugging

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. 

1. Write a list of your intentions and goals for the 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:

  • Reconnecting with old friends over a festive dinner.
  • Spending technology-free time with relatives.
  • Reconnecting with nature and taking long walks with your best friends.
  • Avoid checking your professional emails for at least a week.
  • Learning a new skill that doesn’t involve technology, such as knitting or baking.

2. Plan structured, phone-free activities

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:

  • Organizing a holiday movie marathon featuring cozy blankets and delicious festive treats!
  • Setting up a crafting station and creating handmade ornaments.
  • Going outdoor ice skating – perfect if you’re spending time with active kids.
  • Visiting a holiday light display.
  • Organizing a gift-wrapping party with friends.
  • Designing a festive scavenger hunt featuring clues and hidden treasures.
  • Volunteering for a good cause.

3. Organize elaborate, phone-free meals

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.

4. Get out and exercise

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:

  • Schedule your workouts in advance. Adding runs and gym sessions to your calendar will ensure your exercise plans don’t clash with social events. 
  • Don’t worry too much if your workouts are a little shorter. Even small bursts of activity can make a significant difference to your physical and mental health.
  • Incorporate physical activity into your holiday celebrations by going ice skating or taking long walks in the snow.
  • Ask friends or family members to join you on your workouts. You never know – you could inspire someone to take up a new activity!
  • Pursue mindful activities such as yoga, Pilates, or tai chi to help you relax and unwind after busy social events. These activities are especially helpful if you’re a natural introvert hoping to find your inner calm.

5. Avoid posting tons of pictures of your festive events

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.

6. Use apps and aids to mediate your phone use

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.

7. Seek support from loved ones

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.

Happy holidays...and remember to enjoy yourself!

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.

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