Health • 03.04.2017 • Vera Schwaiger

How to Disconnect and Unwind After Work

Another quick look at your smartphone before falling asleep. Check your WhatsApp, scroll through your news feed one last time, set the alarm clock for the morning, and turn on airplane mode. In the morning, you open your eyes and the first thing you do is activate your phone.

36% of people nowadays start their day by looking at their smartphone. There’s no doubt that this device is much more than just a telephone. It makes our lives easier and helps us accomplish things in the blink of an eye. Like checking e-mails and text messages. Whether at work or in our free time, we are always online. 24/7. We are constantly connected to the outside world and receive a continuous stream of news, status updates, images and information. If you don’t consciously take breaks, you can easily lose yourself in the internet. Like everything in life, it’s about finding the right balance between on- and offline.

Woman looking on the screen of her smartphone.

These days, it’s not so easy for us to be offline for any length of time. On average, people reach for their phone about 76 times a day – supposedly to do “important stuff.”

In total, we spend around 145 minutes a day with our constant companion. If we want to boost our creativity, learn to relax and be in the here and now, we should take some offline breaks.

The idea is to spend a couple of hours a day offline and thus improve your ability to relax:

1. Come home and wind down
Just as we give our legs a break after a 10K run and put our feet up, our brain also needs some downtime after a hard day at work. Take at least two or three hours after work, put your phone down and do some offline activities.

Twi friends drinking a smoothie in the kitchen.

2. Put your smartphone away
If we set our phone next to us or put it in our pants pocket, it’s hard to resist the urge to check it regularly. Therefore, you should find a place in your home or apartment where you can put your phone out of reach and out of sight for a while.

3. Set up online times
When you feel the need to play or work on your cell phone in the evening, then it helps to schedule specific times for this. You can set aside, for instance, the time between 7 and 8 o’clock. Afterwards, you should turn off your digital devices and go into offline mode.

4. Don’t work in the living room
Quickly check your work e-mails one more time and answer your colleagues – who hasn’t done this? Unfortunately, we often find it difficult to switch off and relax. You can help yourself learn to separate between work and leisure by finding a place in your home or apartment- for example, your desk or the kitchen table – where you work for 15 minutes and then go offline again.

Group of friends running.

5. Good night
If you are feeling brave, you can turn off your phone one or two hours before going to bed. Instead of reading one last blog article on your screen, try picking up a good old-fashioned magazine or book.

6. Declare your bedroom a no-phone zone
Do you have a real alarm clock at home? If you do, then it is a good idea to dig it out and banish your cell phone from the bedroom. The blue light from our phones has been proven to interfere with our sleep. Using your smartphone late at night causes neurotransmitters to be released that keep your brain active. This is why you have trouble falling asleep.

7. Offline hobbies
Particularly when we spend a lot of time in the digital world, it is good for us to experience our body with all our senses. Some good options for this are bodyweight training, going for a run, riding your bike, listening to your favorite music or cooking a delicious dinner.

8. Spend time outdoors
Give your brain a break and get some fresh air. Open up your senses to the sights and sounds of nature and recharge your batteries.

Group of friend sitting outside on stairs after their running session.

9. Real facetime with friends and family
Every day, we stay in touch with our loved ones via WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, etc. And yet somehow we don’t. Physical contact with friends and family helps us to relax and wind down. Cuddling with your sweetheart, dog or cat releases feel-good hormones.

Going offline for a few hours every day can help you relax after work and come up with creative ideas for living life to the fullest.

Have fun trying these tips out!

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Vera Schwaiger

Vera has a background in dietetics and psychotherapy and lives her life according to what Einstein once said: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” For Vera, balance comes from mindfulness and healthy habits. Each day is its own journey and a new opportunity to improve. She approaches life step by step, always moving forward.
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