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How To Switch Off
Health & Wellness Health & Wellness
How To Switch Off
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Health & Wellness Health & Wellness
How To Switch Off
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No time to sit down, let alone think? There is one persistent little pest that we can all afford to see less of – our phones.We asked three mindfulness experts for their easy-to-try unplugging tips for even the most digital-obsessed parents.

Dr. Deepika Chopra holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology with a special interest in health, wellness and optimism. She says:

1. Confront your usage

Spend a day noting every idle search and scroll. When you’ve totted up the hours aim to halve it. If that is too hard, negotiate a time limit that feels like an achievable goal. And reward yourself when you do.

2. Don’t unplug alone

The more it becomes a group norm the easier it will be. Make a plan to do something physical with friends. Hike, go for a walk, take a yoga class together – when you’re socialising you’re less likely to be on your phone.

3. Ask people not devices

No, that doesn’t include Siri. Instead of looking on your phone, approach actual humans with your questions.

4. Have a ‘no phones at the table’ rule.

Some restaurants have started to incentivise this idea. A high-end restaurant here in Los Angeles offers discounts on meals if everyone leaves their phone at the front desk. Brilliant!

Josie Bouchier is an acupuncturist, holistic health expert, writer and mum. She says:

1. Try to set digital hours

Stick to them like office hours, and then choose one day a week to be completely phone-free. That way, you get some daily digital detox as well as a big chunk of weekly digital-free time.

2. Boost your willpower

Use apps such as Freedom, which block certain sites for a set amount of time. You should also try deleting your most addictive apps from your phone so that you can only access them on your computer, and less frequently. Turn off your phone and set a timer so you aren’t tempted to glance at it.

3. Buy a camera

Choose one that directly uploads to popular social media sites so you don’t have to rely on your phone.

Pico Iyer is a writer and author of the TED Book: The Art of Stillness. His TED talk on the subject has had more than two million views. He says:

1. Follow the 20-minute rule

Try not to go online for 20 minutes before you sleep and 20 minutes when you wake. What you put into your head just before entering the unconscious and how you start your day, feeding your conscious mind, are really important.  

2. Take time out

Spend 30 minutes just sitting quietly without your devices every day – or walking alone (without earphones). That sounds a lot, but it represents only three per cent of your waking day and it can invigorate and illuminate the other 97 percent. Most of us can give 30 minutes to some physical exercise, and 30 minutes in the mental health club is even more important for our wellbeing.

3. Embrace silence

When you’re driving, turn off the radio and you can enjoy a mini-break. When you’re on the treadmill, turn off all music and visual diversion, and your mind can race around like a dog off the leash, or (if needed) just crash out.

 

Claire Brayford
@clairebrayford
Lifestyle journalist/copywriter. Former Vogue Australia Harper's BAZAAR Australia contributor
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