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Green Tips: Digital Detox at Christmas

Always available, always informed: The usage of smartphones, laptops, etc. consumes a lot of time - and sometimes it is stressful. "Digital Detox" - digital detoxification - is the recipe against the stress of constant accessibility. Many use the Christmas season as an opportunity for digital devices to take a break. We show what tricks can be used to achieve this.

The smartphone is our constant companion: When we want to know something, we ask Google, for dinner we arrange Whatsapp, music and movies we stream. If the battery is empty, it quickly triggers panic. All this creates stress, makes us restless and dependent. But also short-sightedness, concentration disorders and a smartphone neck are possible "side effects" of the permanent use of smartphones & Co. And it consumes a lot of time: We spend an average of 3.25 hours a day on our mobile phones, taking the device around 80 times a day and carrying out around 2,600 activities. Time lost to "real life".

The Christmas season as a time for contemplation and family time is the perfect opportunity to simply switch off smartphones, tablets and laptops and take a deep breath offline. The idea of Digital Detox: Reduce stress through phases of digital abstinence and consciously turn to the environment and your fellow human beings. The following seven tips help to reduce the use of smartphones:

1. Digital-free rooms - especially in the bedroom

The mobile phone is our constant companion. Even in the apartment, you can carry it from one room to another or place it on the table while eating. It is not unusual for a smartphone to land next to or even in bed. If you take your smartphone with you to bed, you sleep more unhealthily. Not only the blue light of the display, but also the constant messages disturb the night's sleep. A smartphone-free bedroom can do wonders for a peaceful sleep and a restful night. If the smartphone is out of range for the first and last hours of the day, the first glance in the morning is no longer at the device, but at the surroundings. In the evenings, you could also pick up a book instead of scrolling through the apps.

2. Analog wake up

For waking up in the morning, many use the smartphone alarm clock. If you're woken up early in the morning by your mobile phone and it's so close at hand, it's tempting to check messages. Switching to an analogue alarm clock can help to start the day stress-free in the morning and not spend the first few minutes with your mobile phone. Other digital services can also be "outsourced" to other devices: for example, the good old wristwatch replaces the clock function of the smartphone.

3. Digital detox apps: tracking your own use

An app for the Digital Detox? Sounds paradoxical at first, but sometimes it helps to look at the hard facts. There are apps that are designed to help limit the use of mobile phones. Apps such as Moment, Offtime and Quality Time, but also the operating systems of the smartphones themselves, record how often the user activates his smartphone and what he does with it. It is also possible to set a daily time limit for apps. At the end of the day, the balance sheet comes up and can be roughly called: "Today's usage: 2h 50min - screen unlocked: 120 times". The apps are therefore a means to self-knowledge, to create an awareness of how much life time one spends on the mobile phone.

4. App in the garbage or go offline for a while

As soon as the biggest time wasters are identified by digital Detox apps, the most difficult step comes: deleting time wasters apps! Start trying to get by without the time wasters for a while and spend the time gained with other things. Likewise one can insert during the vacation, at weekends and holidays whole off-line days, on which one switches off the devices completely or switches off the WLAN and the mobile data use. Christmas is the perfect first opportunity.

5. Fewer apps, more browsers

Many apps send their users regular push messages. The result: the mobile phone keeps ringing or vibrating because someone has sent a message, published breaking news or something has clicked on social media. The solution: Reduce push messages or uninstall apps and use offers in the browser.

6. Back to Black

To reduce smartphone addiction, it can help to switch the display to black and white mode. This sounds pretty simple, but actually scrolling on the technical device loses its appeal with this new look. Color has a signal effect on us in the truest sense of the word. Colour stands out and makes it clear: this is important! That's why, in the colourful world of smartphones, everything seems to be always important to many people.

Activate grey mode:

  • Android: Settings / Input help / Visual aid and switch on grayscale there (may vary depending on model).
  • iPhone: Settings / General / Operating aids / Display adjustments / Switch color filter to On (default: grayscale).

7. Flight mode or switch off

Radical and particularly effective: temporarily cut off the connection to the Internet or set the smartphone to flight mode. Then the cell phone no longer responds automatically - and it's much easier to keep your hands off it and simply switch it off completely.

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