Do you need a screen break? Is your phone the first thing you reach for in the morning or the last thing at night?
Even though it is an integral part of today’s world, technology disrupts our daily routines and throws us out of harmony with our external world (sleep, work, relationships, etc.). When we are off-kilter with our external world, our internal health becomes compromised. We are constantly checking our phones, emails, and social media accounts, which takes away from our focus and productivity, harming our daily routines and overall mood.
- Electric lighting disrupts human dependence on day-night cycles and frequently causes disturbances to our circadian cycles. If you’ve ever had trouble falling asleep after staring at your phone for too long, your circadian rhythm has been altered by the blue light emitted from screens, keeping your brain stimulated when you should be getting ready for sleep . Clinical evidence shows that when circadian rhythms are disrupted too often, people are more prone to chronic issues such as obesity, diabetes, cardiac problems, immune deficiencies, and more .
- Another adverse effect of technology is on our eyes. The constant staring at screens can lead to eye strain, dry eyes, and blurred vision. As many as 90% of device users experience symptoms of eye strain . According to Ayurveda, this is due to the imbalance of the Pitta dosha, which governs vision. When the Pitta dosha is imbalanced, it can cause eye inflammation, leading to various eye problems.
- Furthermore, the constant use of technology can lead to shallow breathing. We tend to hunch over our screens, which restricts our breathing and causes tension in the body. According to Ayurveda, this can lead to an imbalance of the Prana Vayu, which is a sub-dosha of Vata that governs the breath and energy in the body. When the Prana Vayu is imbalanced, it can cause fatigue, anxiety, and other health problems. Shallow breathing causes uneven lung ventilation which can cause respiratory issues and an oxygen deficiency in your arteries .
Taking a break from technology is essential for maintaining good health. Here are some signs that you may need to step away from technology:
- Eye strain: If you experience sore, tired, or dry eyes, it may be a sign that you're spending too much time looking at screens. This can lead to headaches and vision problems.
- Difficulty sleeping: If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, it may be due to the blue light emitted by screens, which can interfere with your body's natural sleep cycle.
- Neck and back pain: If you spend a lot of time hunching over your computer or phone, you may experience neck and back pain. This can also lead to poor posture and other health problems.
- Brain fog: If you feel mentally drained or have difficulty concentrating, it may be a sign that you need a break from screens. This can also lead to decreased productivity and creativity.
- Stress and anxiety: If you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious when using technology or checking your phone, it may be a sign that you need to take a break. Constant notifications and alerts can be overwhelming and cause unnecessary stress.
- Feeling disconnected: If you feel disconnected from the world around you or your relationships, it may be a sign that you need to take a break from screens. Spending too much time on social media can also lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
- Physical health problems: Excessive screen time can lead to a variety of physical health problems beyond what we listed above, such as weight gain, high blood pressure, and increased risk of chronic diseases.
How to Detox From Tech
Need some ways to unplug and reclaim your mental and physical health? Here are some of our tips for reducing screen time:
Limit screen time: Set limits on the amount of time you spend on your phone, computer, or other devices throughout the day. Consider setting specific times of day to check emails and social media, and try to stick to those times. There are even apps and phone settings that will help remind you of your goal.
Take breaks throughout the day: Take regular breaks from technology to give your mind and body a break, especially if your work involves using a computer. This could include taking a short walk, stretching, or simply taking a few deep breaths. Try Pranayama, an ancient breath technique that calms the mind and balances the prana vayu (”forward moving air”). It involves controlling your breath in different styles and lengths to elevate the mind and spirit.
Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of being present and fully engaged in the moment. Practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress and improve mental and physical health. Meditation or yoga are excellent practices that help calm the mind and reduce stress.
Get outside: Spending time in nature is a great way to reduce stress and improve mental and physical health. Take a walk outside, go for a hike, or simply sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.
Connect with others: Technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected with others, but it is important to also connect in person. Take time to spend with friends and family, or join a local group or club to meet new people.