How switching off digitally helped me switch on mentally

How switching off digitally helped me switch on mentally

Ever since I launched this blog and started taking it a bit more seriously I’ve been pretty attached to my devices. If I’m not on my laptop writing, I’m on my phone checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Instagram again…

I’m keen to stay involved in the blogging community and have joined Twitter chats, thrown myself into Instagram, taken e-courses – and loved every minute of it.

Then I noticed I was waking up with headaches every morning. Every frickin’ morning.

Those who know me well know I’m no stranger to headaches (we go waaay back) but this was getting ridiculous. I started Googling – what the hell was wrong with me? There were plenty of suggestions of course, from teeth grinding to crap pillows, but after trial and error I realised the answer was actually much simpler.

I wasn’t getting enough sleep.

switch-off-4

One evening, I had spent far too long on my laptop, my eyes were fuzzy and my head was pounding. I decided, enough was enough – I was going to shut everything down and start reading the pile of books that have been staring at me since Christmas.

I noted that it was 9:30 and thought, I should make this a thing. I instantly set myself an alarm and decided at 9:30 on weekday evenings I would stop what I was doing on my phone or laptop and read instead.

This tiny change has made such a difference to my wellbeing that I couldn’t not write about it. Here’s what I’ve gained from switching off digitally, after 9:30:

Knowledge

I am filling my brain with lovely words written on lovely paper. I’m getting through my pile of books in record time, fulfilling my 2017 goal to read more.

Inspiration

Stepping back from social media and doing something completely separate does wonders for your creativity. Reading fiction shifts my mind to a different gear and always provokes some spark of inspiration.

Music

I’ve been listening to my favourite songs while reading and as well as truly relaxing me, it just makes my soul smile. These little, seemingly insignificant things are the building blocks of a happy life.

Sleep!

Reading makes me sleepy, so naturally I’ve been hitting the hay a little earlier since I started this new habit. And come on, we ALL know by now that the blue light emissions from electronic devices mess with our ability to sleep, right? So sleep has come easier and felt more refreshing.

Pain-free mornings (mostly)

I won’t lie and say switching off my devices at 9:30 has cured me of headaches (I wish it was that simple!), but I will say my morning headaches have eased up a lot. And that alone is worth it to be honest.

Of course there have been times when my alarm’s gone off, I’ve looked at it and thought, nah mate, I neeeeeeeeed to finish this episode of Orange is the New Black. And right now, I am typing these words at 9:55PM. But hey, routines should have room to be flexible, amiright?

How do you balance your online time with your offline time?

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