Healthy ways to move away from technological dependence
Sometimes we need a break from technology. In a world constantly screaming at us to buy this and wear that, it can be liberating to forget about all the media nonsense for a few minutes.
I can’t think of a single social media influence worse than TikTok. Not only are you drowning hours of your day mindlessly consuming short clips tailored to fit our brief attention spans, you’re watching the same short clip over and over again.
Where is the variety? Where is the challenge?
It’s a platform scarce on creativity and heavy on repetition. What could be worse for young, developing brains than the constant absorption of the same, only slightly altered content every single day?
Imagine you’re locked in a room, forced to watch Maroon 5 music videos on a recurrent loop for hours daily. Sure, they’re all a little different in their own way and every once in a while Adam Levine even looks vaguely tolerable.
But there’s no doubt that after so many playthroughs, you’d lose your mind.
That’s exactly what we’re doing with TikTok — as well as other platforms. We’re allowing our brains to rest in that monotonous state of regularity.
How can you expect yourself to be creative and motivated all while giving yourself so little room to grow? Take a break from TikTok and social media. In fact, take a break from all technology, even if just for an hour.
Here are a couple of the ways I’ve learnt to stray from technology. Learn to treat your brain and body with respect and for the love of God, stop watching children dance to songs you’re too old to have heard of.
Read before bed
Try to spend the hours before bed away from your screens. I will admit that it’s a tough habit to break. We’ve become so accustomed to coexisting alongside our cellphones, it feels foreign and unsettling to spend time without them.
If you’re prone to unprompted late-night existential panic attacks like me, having your phone close by can be a comforting and effective distraction. But it can also hinder the quantity and quality of your sleep.
Excessive exposure to blue light signals to your body that it’s an appropriate time to stay awake—and that’s exactly what our phones and laptops emit.
This constant, late night dependence on our devices throws our body’s natural Circadian Rhythms—the internal process that regulates our sleep-wake cycles—completely askew.
Spend the last few hours of your day winding yourself down rather than amping your brain into a false state of wakefulness. Dedicate these hours to reading, meditation, sketching—anything that calms you down away from your phone.
If for some reason you must be logged on late at night—it’s playoff season, I get it—look into purchasing a pair of blue light blocking glasses.
Thanks to the yellow tint of their lenses, they restrict the amount of blue light that hits your eyes. You’ll be surprised how much these glasses affect your ability to wind down in the late evening.
Not only will you be getting exercise, it’s important to pencil in some time during your day to disconnect. Forget about your phone and learn to appreciate your environment.
Although this might sound counterproductive, I see no issue in listening to music during these walks. Just about everything I’ve ever read about the importance of disconnecting pleads that you leave your phone at home completely, simply listening to the sounds of the city.
But I see no point. If music, an audio book or even a comedy special can aid in your efforts away from the screen, I’m all for it. What warped state of tranquility is the sound of traffic and geese meant to initiate anyways?
Nature is a different story. In this case, I do believe it’s important to leave your phone in the car. The raw ambiance of nature has a calming effect on the mind, activating your biological bind to the environment.
Whether it’s the sheer size and fluid irregularities of nature, fostering new perspectives, or simply that the gentle sound of rushing water is relaxing, spending time in nature—away from your phone—can work wonders to set your mind at ease.
Having your phone on your person while strolling through the woods can also be a safety precaution. If you feel you need to, by all means carry your phone with you on your walk—just make sure to turn it on mute.
Technology can be exhausting. I’ve always found it to completely drain me of energy while still keeping me up late at night. For the sake of your own health, make an effort to disconnect whenever possible and begin to connect to the people and places around you.