Smartphones and devices are supposed to make communication easier, but this Sunday it’s time to switch off and rediscover the art of talking, says a Wales-based mental health expert supporting National Unplugging Day.
As the third annual screen-free celebration arrives on June 25, Swansea psychotherapist and counsellor Lynette Evans, one of NUD’s guest bloggers, is encouraging families to be screen-free and spend quality time together. And Lynette, who’s known to her clients as The Listening Helper, hopes parents will use the occasion to rethink busy schedules and make small changes in their lives to help them slow down.
“More and more, when I ask people how they are, I hear the word ‘busy’. ‘Busy’ has replaced ‘fine’ and turned into a currency to measure how successful we are,” says Lynette. “But what’s successful about being so exhausted you don’t have time for your partner and family, or to enjoy the moment you’re in?
“Being busy and unable to switch off doesn’t enhance our lives; it depletes our energy while we try to find more hours in the day. When many parents come home at the end of the day, we find ourselves still working, thanks to ‘marvellous’ modern technology. We’re terrified of being unavailable and dispensable, so we spend our evenings on call, checking emails, engaging with colleagues and reading paperwork instead of switching off and recharging ahead of the next day.
“The weekend used to be a time of rest and relaxation, but it’s now a time for shopping as we have to make sure our family has the latest gear, gadgets and technology. We use shopping as a form of relaxation – the oft-quoted retail therapy – yet the desire for more ‘stuff’ is just a part of the conveyor belt of stress. We no longer have a weekend to recharge and unplug, either as a family or together as parents – we’re simply too busy!”
Lynette says NUD is the ideal time to introduce regular ‘screen-free Sundays’ into family life, or at least set aside a few hours on the weekend to switch off in order to switch on to relatives and friends. “Families need to unplug, regularly and together’” she says. “Have a think about the steps you can take as a family to minimise the build up of stress in your life. There are lots of stress relief activities that you can enjoy together, such as a digital detox; just turn off all devices and gadgets and give your mental inbox a break from the constant stream of new information and expectations!”
National Unplugging Day is asking families to ‘go gadget free’, have fun and rediscover their inner child during a day of celebration and fun. The event is the brainchild of family finance expert Gemma Johnson and is backed by myfamilyclub.co.uk, part of the DC Thomson publishing group. To read Lynette’s blog and other fabulous unplugging ideas, visit http://nationalunpluggingday.co.uk/
For help with issues including stress, depression and anxiety, visit www.thelisteninghelper.co.uk or contact Lynette on 07720 849263.