The rise of technology has given us many modern conveniences that would have seemed unthinkable just a decade ago. The average adult carries more computing power in their pocket than it took to get the first humans to the moon, but it’s easy to take it for granted because these devices are so ubiquitous. According to the Pew Research Center, 81% of Americans now own smartphones, and almost 75% have desktop or laptop computers. Most of us can get answers to any question nearly instantly, make connections with people across the globe and shop online from anywhere.
However, there is a dark side to this convenience: It has created an always-connected culture that has led to the rise of a phenomenon called digital stress. Many people take their smartphones with them everywhere, and even sleep with them. Checking for new emails, texts or social media updates is the first thing they do when they get up in the morning, and the last thing they do before going to bed at night. Having your phone as a constant companion can become a form of addictive behavior in and of itself. What can you do to break that pattern? Here are three tips.
1. Set Work Hours
People often rely on their phones to help them be more responsive employees. Though it can be tempting to continue replying to emails or your co-workers’ group chat long into the evening or on weekends, getting in this habit doesn’t give you a break from work-related stress.
The boundary-setting skills that have served you so well in other aspects of your recovery can come into play here. Tell your colleagues you will not be available to respond outside normal work hours. Then, use your well-deserved downtime to exercise, eat dinner with your family, read a book, indulge in a bath or any other activities that help you unwind.
2. Make Your Bedroom a Tech-Free Zone
You are already aware of how beneficial a sound night’s sleep can be for your recovery. For better-quality shuteye, keep tech out of your bedroom. The screens of devices like phones, tablets and laptops produce a blue light that can disrupt your sleep schedule and make it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. If you rely on your phone to wake you up in the morning, invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock instead.
3. Do a Digital Detox
If you’re one of those people who reflexively reaches for your phone when you’re waiting somewhere, or the ping of an incoming message leaves you scurrying to reply immediately, try to designate time for a digital detox instead.
Start by taking small breaks from technology – for example, go for a walk in the park and listen to the natural music of birdsong instead of popping in earbuds. Gradually work your way up to longer and longer tech-free periods. When you choose to return to your device, you will discover life didn’t come to a screeching halt without you liking, commenting and responding to every little thing.
Avoiding Stress and Burnout
Stress can be a significant relapse trigger for many people. When you are in recovery, you need to protect yourself from stressful situations as much as possible, and that includes digital stress. At Segue Recovery Support, we want to be a partner in your long-term well-being by providing you with the additional structure and accountability you need to succeed with your goals. Contact us to learn more about our sober living environments.