In our frenetic modern world, it’s important to be able to unwind, but with technology so integral to our lives it can be difficult to switch off, to move away from the screens and take a much needed break. However, this constant attachment to technology and our 24/7 society promoting a need for continuous productivity, we are deprived of any real down time. This is seriously detrimental to our mental health and our social lives. In the build up to National Unplugging Day on June 25th, when everyone is urged to switch off their tech and detach from their devices, Pen Heaven will be going through a digital detox. We’ll be making an active effort to take some “me” time, from our CEO to our warehouse staff, stepping away from our screens and finding ways to de-stress and unwind without staring mindlessly into the digital world. This is so important to us at Pen Heaven because we believe that although technology may have benefited us greatly and improved our lives in so many ways; we shouldn’t forget the time tested traditional ways, especially when they can be so beneficial to your health compared to screen time. Pick up the phone instead of tapping out an email, maybe even pick up a pen and write a letter or to-do list! Nothing beats the weight of a pen in your hand and the feel of good quality paper under your fingertips.
Pretty much anyone you speak to you will tell you that they don’t have enough time, but if you think about it, how much of your day is spent staring at a screen? Since technology advanced enough that it became integral to our daily lives, we have become so attached to our devices that we have almost no time to ourselves away from them. This was illustrated by a talk given by a psychologist from NYU at the 2017 TED conference, where three bar graphs represented the change in free time on an average work day over the last 10 years. They showed that on average we spent two thirds of our day sleeping and working, about a sixth of their time on survival activities (washing, eating etc) and the final sixth being ‘personal’ or free time. The graphs show how in a relatively small space of time, the ‘personal’ has become more and more consumed by ‘screen time’ (shown in red) meaning we feel like there is simply no time for leisure activities.1 With the rise of social media, it’s so easy to be sucked into a digital abyss, flicking through an endless stream of updates, feeling like we are connecting when we are more separated than ever. Or to get home from work, having stared at a screen all day and sit inert in front of a TV, to switch our brains off and to switch off our social interactions. Don’t get us wrong we do it too, but our brains need to unplug properly once in a while.
Switch off your devices, walk away from your screens and do something for you, which is not related to technology (or to work, even if you love your job). Even if it’s only for an hour a day, this head space will allow you to feel happier, calmer, and sleep better. We’ve given you some brain friendly digital detox suggestions below: If you’ve had a stressful day at work, it could be so simple to come home in a bad mood and stare at a screen which feeds the stress and breeds loneliness. Instead get some exercise, the fresh air and physical activity gives you time to process. Once you get home, vent your frustration into a journal entry. As pen touches paper and the words flow, you’ll feel the frustration and anger of your day dissipate completely. If you have trouble sleeping at night, it’s probably because you can’t switch off yourself. Taking some time to create a bed time routine which you stick to can really help, but for those whose brains are always whirring, a notebook and pen on your bedside table can be a god send. Any ideas, notes, feelings that won’t leave you, write them down. Your head will feel freer knowing they’re safely written down to refer to in the morning, and you’ll be able to sleep better. It also works if you’ve had weird dreams that keep you up at night, jotting them down in the morning can help you process them. Feel like you’re disconnected from the world when you’re not on social media? Take the time to reconnect. Write a personal letter to a friend or loved one. It’s a much more pleasurable and cathartic experience than instant messaging and you’d often talk about things that would never arise when briefly chatting through technological means. It’s also a pleasant surprise for your recipient to get some mail that’s not a bill!