The internet is a wonderful thing. In the old days, if you wanted to look up specific information, your best bet was the library. Now, all it takes is to just type it into the search bar. It’s the same for communication. Instead of waiting for months to get a reply back to your letter, you can just shoot a text through the many messaging and social apps on your phone.
But too much of a good thing is not always good. Being connected and stimulated by the vibrant world of technology isn’t great for your mental health. And sometimes, to avoid digital fatigue, we all need to step away and unplug.
Here are some activities to help you disconnect and unplug from the digital world.
#1. Cuddle with your pet
It’s time to put down your phone and focus on the cuddly thing in front of you.
Pets are a great distraction from the online world. It’s easy to pass the time when you’re engrossed in their furry belly and pudgy hands.
Not only that, snuggling up against them can actually make you happier. This is because cuddling is said to release the oxytocin hormone, otherwise known as the love hormone. Petting your furry ones can also help lower stress levels and release more serotonin, which can result in better health.
In general, spending time with your loved ones can greatly improve your health — physically and mentally. But if you’re not the type to hug another human being, you can go for the next best thing and give your furry (or reptilian – we don’t judge) friends a hug.
#2. Lie down under the sun
Mobile phones have connected us to each other unlike any other devices. But staying too long under that artificial light can strain your eyes and exhaust you. Why not go outside and lounge under the sun instead?
In fact, one study found that people tend to have higher levels of serotonin — the happy hormone — on bright sunny days than on cloudy ones. Other research has also found that UV light can help release endorphins and trigger feelings of euphoria.
Even if you don’t believe in the science of it all, there’s still something soothing about staring up at the vast, blue sky. It can distract you from all the loud stimulants online and serve as a good reminder that the world is a lot bigger than the screen on your phone.
#3. Do your laundry
Okay, so maybe being unproductive unsettles you. After all, you’ve spent a long time being involved and engaged online. The drastic change in tone might feel daunting.
If that’s the case, get off your phone and do your laundry instead. That way, you’ll still have something to do but at least you’re not glued to the screen of your phone. The task is also a perfect balance between being simple enough but not too mindless to cause you any restlessness.
Want to know what’s the best part? If you dry your clothes with a dryer, you can even lie down and bask in the warmth and goodness of freshly-laundered clothes.
#4. Clean the bathroom grout
Take a look at the spaces in between the tiles in your bathroom. When was the last time you cleaned it? Whatever your answer is, chances are it’s been far too long. Instead of scrolling the endless abyss that is your social media, why not spend an afternoon cleaning up?
Sure, it calls for some elbow grease but the work can be just the distraction you need. There’s only one goal — to clean the stained grout — so it doesn’t require your brain to go into overtime to process any information. What you have to do is just scrub away.
The chore also provides an instantaneous reward and satisfaction since you’re able to see in real-time how the stain disappears. This can help boost motivation as it actually shows you physically achieving something.
So do yourself a favour. Take a break from your phone, roll up your sleeves and start cleaning.
#5. Take a long shower
How long have you been scrolling your phone on the bed? A 2017 study found that adults who spent more than 6 hours on their devices are more likely to experience moderate to severe depression.
Now, the only correct way to deal with your mental health is to get professional help. However, there are a couple of simple things you can do to temporarily alleviate your mood and make you feel better. One of them is to take a long shower — it can be either hot and cold.
Taking a warm shower is said to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. The warm water helps relax your muscles and thoughts. Prefer your shower to be cold as ice? Cold showers have their own perks. One of them is that it can help you battle sluggishness and lethargy by boosting your energy levels.
Showers are also just a great place to meditate and reflect on life. Which can be quite enlightening after all that time spent on social media consuming other people’s thoughts and ideas.
#6. Do simple yoga routines
Connection is both the internet’s boon and bane. It’s good to be able to instantaneously reach out to someone but when you’re expected to always be online and interact, it can feel overwhelming and stressful.
Take a break and indulge in a little exercise called yoga. Known for its ability to lower stress levels, promote relaxation and relieve anxiety, practising some yoga poses will allow you to block out the noise and focus your mind.
Not only that, it’s also a great way to ease muscle aches, strengthen your arms and legs and improve your posture. So get in touch with yourself and do some simple yoga poses.
#7. Do nothing
Think the sun is too bright? Too tired to do the laundry? Don’t have the energy from some spring cleaning? In a world that’s constantly moving, perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself is to do absolutely nothing. It might sound unproductive and lazy. But so what?
We live in a world where you’re always expected to do something. There’s always new content to consume — whether in the form of social media or a new TV show — and there are always people telling you to monetise your hobby because “you have all these online resources so why not take advantage of them?”
Hustle culture and the internet’s accessibility — as good as it is — has made it impossible for you to simply exist and chill. Your body and your mind are tired.
So, instead of finding another thing to fill your time with, it’s better that you take this chance to be comfortable in simply existing. Productivity can sometimes be overrated. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to take care of yourself, even if it means spending hours doing absolutely nothing.
There’s no escaping the digital world. It’s everywhere and as technology continues to grow, its overbearing presence in our real life will only increase.
However, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck in the digital hellscape forever. You can still take some time to unplug and disconnect. And you definitely should.
Your body is a temple and it’s important that you take care of it both mentally and physically. If you feel overwhelmed and tired of all the things you see online, just put your phone down and try out these activities instead.