Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing

The Benefits of Switching Off from your Electronic Devices

I recently worked myself into the ground and was feeling worse for wear. I had worked every day for a month at both my day job which I work Monday to Friday and then my book/blog writing business in the evenings and weekends all of which requires looking at a computer or phone screen for many hours.

It got to the point where I started to feel a bit sick when I looked at the screen. So I knew then that I needed to take a break.

When we go on family outings or days out I never take my phone out of my pocket and can easily go for hours without looking at it but we can’t really sustain these trips every week so on the days we only go out for part of the day the rest of it I would be looking at a screen, working away.

So on Friday evening I switched off my phone and didn’t even look at it until Saturday evening and even then it was a quick social media update on my blog page then back off again. I know not a complete switch off but at least it was a step in the right direction for me.

I instead went for a walk with the kids, did some yoga and baked a lemon drizzle cake with my girls and I feel so much better for it. My head feels so much clearer now. I am definitely going to switch off more often at least one day over the weekend. Even when my girls were out playing with their friends I chose to listen to music or read a book rather than put the TV on.

The Benefits of Powering Down

Helps you relax – turning off and shutting down from technology allows your brain to relax. It is so easy keep checking into your phone or tablet every now and then to see what is going on in the world of social media. It is all too easy to worry about what you might be missing and want to stay connected. However by setting yourself a time frame where you stay away from technology and have them turned off or on silent then you can relax and not worry what every beep or ring might indicate.

Improves sleep – Studies have shown that screen time can be a factor in poor sleep. The brain creates a hormone called melatonin that regulates are sleep and awake cycles but when we look at screens at night it can affect are melatonin levels and our body’s think that we are not ready for sleep. https://www.alaskasleep.com/

Reduced body pain – looking down at a screen all the time can be bad for your neck and spine which can result in pain. The term ‘tech neck’ is used to describe the pain we get in these areas from excessive electronic use.

You are more aware of your surroundings – when you turn away from electronics and unplug for a while you are getting rid of a distraction and you will find that you then take in more of what’s around you.

Addiction – It is amazing how addictive we all are to technology and the thing is you never realise how much until you take it away. Although I wasn’t going into a hot flush and having the shakes trying to stop myself looking at my phone I did find that every now and then I would think about checking my phone and had to talk myself down from not looking at it. It then took me a few minutes going over in my head if I should look at my phone or not before deciding against it. Switching off for that long wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

Why not give it a go and unplug for a few hours or maybe a whole day and see the benefits for yourself.

I would love to hear how you get on from unplugging please do drop a comment below and share your experience below.

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Love the skin your in

Self-care tips for busy parents

The Benefits of Journaling

Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Ways to help children improve their mental health and well-being

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.


Categories
Mental health & Wellbeing Parenting Advice

Finding the balance for children between screen time and playing outside

As modern day parents we are facing a new dilemma with our children and the boom of electronics. In this day and age it is important for our children to be familiar with electronics and how they work. By having a good knowledge of electronics will help them in the future.

However it is also important for them to be outside playing, interacting with other children and being imaginative by thinking up their own games. This will help keep them fit, healthy, develop motor skills and also help improve their well-being and happiness. Read my post on the Benefits of nature and how to enjoy them post for more info on the importance of people outside.

It is so hard to find the balance or even to know what the balance should be. How much is too much time on their tablets? I have looked into it and all the advice I can find is that appropriate time limits should be set however some places say no more than 2 hours a day and some say less than 2 hours a day. My girls are early risers so they could do this before I even get out of bed especially on the weekend.

IMG_20181207_184524

If I let them they would happily spend all day zombified to their tablets/computers and although they may moan once they are outside playing they are happy children climbing trees and playing with each other in the park like we used to do as children.

P2100553

They even got their uncle into playing Roblox with them

Although I still don’t think I have the balance right here are something I have found that help.

1. In the weekday mornings they are not allowed to touch electronics until they are completely ready for school they are normally slow at getting ready so most mornings they never even get to go on their tablets. This is also a great way to get them ready for school on time.

2. After school we have the rule of no electronics until after dinner although annoyingly they do still get round this sometimes as they have homework that needs to be done on a computer, but generally this works really well. They will go out to play burn off some energy and then after dinner they can have a chill time on their electronics before heading to bed. On days with bad weather they play games or do some drawing.

OI000033

3. Weekends however are a lot harder as I want to be more relaxed with them but they would easily spend the whole day looking at the screen if I let them. They are on their electronics from the point of waking up until I decide they have been on them to long and send them out to the park. Some of the games they play or YouTube videos they watch are good and they can learn from them but others are just a load of rubbish that I am pretty sure has no benefit to them at all.

I have to admit that they probably do spend more than the 2 hours a day on their electronics over the weekend. After having breakfast they are normally on them until about 10/11am when we then take them out or I send them out to play with their friends. Unless the weather is really bad they will stay outside for most of the day just playing and being children. Then they will go back on their tablets in the evening sometimes for another 2 hours. In the summer however we are pretty much out for the whole weekend and they barely even look at their electronics. On the weekends I try to again limit their electronic use to just morning and evenings.

What tips do you have for finding a balance please comment below.

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Love the skin your in

Self-care tips for busy parents

The Benefits of Journaling

Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Ways to help children improve their mental health and well-being

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Parenting Advice

Why I Restricted my Kids Screen Time and The Benefits I Saw

My girls have always been quite good at not spending too much time on their tablets and given the chance would much rather be outside playing than sitting indoors watching YouTube.

However like most of us they start to hibernate during the winter months. When they get back from school it is either too wet, cold or dark to go out and play with their friends so they choose to stay indoors and play on their tablets.

IMG_20181207_184524

As it got more into winter the time they spent on their tablets became more and more to the point that they would get on them straight from school and stay on them until bedtime. Even when the batteries were running out they would sit on the floor and use them while on charge.

Their only break would be at dinner time!!

We always sit together as a family at dinner and normally talk about their day but when all my youngest could talk about was what had happened on her Youtube videos and couldn’t talk about anything else, that was when I realised enough was enough.

I did look into putting restrictions on their tablets so they can only go on it for a certain time limit a day but all the apps I could find charged and seeing as I would have to pay for them 3 times I decided against using an app. Instead I came up with the idea that they weren’t allowed to use their tablets or watch TV after we had dinner. While not completely banning them I hoped it would work and give them a good balance.

When I first told the girls they took it really well and didn’t moan but if I am honest I thought by the end of the week they would have broken me and I would have given in and let them have their tablets again. I was very surprised by how it went.

Two week into the electronic restriction

I have been so surprised by how my girls have taken to having their time limited on their tablets not one of them has moaned or even begged me to change my mind they have just accepted it and got on.

On the first few days they decided to play Monopoly until after dinner when they could get back on their tablets. Since then they have been playing chess (they have been teaching me how to play it and beating me), drawing, colouring, lego, baking and Lia even decided to raid through the recycling pile to build a house for the elf’s on the shelves to live in.

IMG_20181207_144644

We also acquired a huge cardboard box for a few days that took up my living room but they had great fun playing and decorating it.

IMG_20181211_161819

There are days now that dinner has come and gone and they have still been busy making and playing that they have forgotten all about their tablets.

I am determined to keep this up as long as possible. The atmosphere is so much better, we are all talking more and spending more time together and the conversation at dinner time is a lot better.

While technology is a big part of all our lives now I want my children to use and be familiar with it but I also want to find a balance so they can enjoy other aspects of life.

Please do share your comments and any advice/tips that you have on finding a balance with your children using technology.