We spend all year rushing around, emailing, texting, calling and just generally being ‘on call.’ While the holidays may not be the most stress-free time, taking a step away from your screens can help lessen the pressure and make your holidays a real break.
Here are some ways to really disconnect.
Turn off notifications
The constant pinging of notifications has a psychological impact, making us all constantly on edge. A good first step to taking a break would be to disable notifications on your phone. This gives your brain a chance to relax without the constant need to immediately respond to a “ping” or message alert. This is also a good option for those who can’t face entirely letting go of their phones. While it is still present, it is less of a distraction.
Set-up an out of office
It is easy to be drawn into work even when you’re meant to be on leave. As emails continue to come through there is often a feeling that “just answering one” won’t matter. This might not be a major concern but it ends up taking time away from your family and friends. Save yourself the temptation by setting up an out of office reply so that people know when to expect a response, and you don’t end up feeling guilty.
Make phone-free zones
This is especially easy if you’re away for the holidays. While you may need your phone when leaving the house, consider making certain rooms or even the entire house a phone-free zone. This will make a clear boundary between yourself and your phone and make spaces where you and your loved ones can pay attention to each other and hang out.
Set-up time limits on apps
Most smartphones have a way to assist you in acknowledging how much time you spend on your screen. If you set limits on how long you can be on certain apps each day, your phone will alert you when you’ve hit this maximum. This can make it easier if you don’t want to give up your connection to the outside world entirely but do want to cut down a bit.
Only allow for emergency calls
A big concern when it comes to taking a tech break is that you won’t be able to be contacted in an emergency. In this case, there is another smartphone solution. You can set-up your phone so that selected contact calls can still come through even if you have the phone set to not allow calls. This way, important calls from your children, partner or family will mean you are contactable but not by just anyone.