"Unplug" from the digital world this holiday season and reap surprising health benefits.It’s perhaps the busiest week of the holiday season. Plus, the New Year will be here in a few short days! There’s so much hustle and bustle going on that you may find it hard to “be present” and rest, too.

Our digital relationships don’t make this any easier. We’re always connected and struggling to unplug — whether through work emails, social media, internet browsing, etc. From our phones and tablets to our television sets and video games, the world is at our fingertips.

In general, this is a good thing. Staying connected helps us keep up with the times. But on the other hand, too much of it can have negative consequences on your health.

The Art of Being Fully Present

It’s easy to lose focus and spend hours sitting in front of a screen. How often have you checked Facebook only to notice that an hour later, you’re still scrolling through your news feed? How often have you lost track of time while watching television at night or playing a video game until you’ve unlocked a few new levels?

But don’t feel too guilty. Most of us do it. As mentioned, it’s deceptively easy to get lost in the digital world when it’s constantly there in front of you.

That’s why it’s useful to believe in balance and practice it. Too much time with technology can worsen your health and take away from valuable experiences — like sitting on your phone at a park picnic table instead of taking a nature walk. And if staying digitally connected on the regular impacts your health, you can bet that it has an impact on your weight, too.

This is where mindfulness comes in particularly useful. It’s the art of being fully present and paying attention to everything around you — sights, smells, tastes, sounds, all of it.

It can help you stay grounded, find peace in the chaos of the holiday season and gain awareness for what’s around you. It can also help you connect deeper with your body and recognize what it needs, like a glass of water if you’re thirsty instead of a sweet soda.

When it’s a Good Time to Unplug

If you find that digital distractions might be affecting your overall health, it’s a good time to unplug and practice mindfulness. This is also a good practice in general as we reach the climax of the holiday season. Consider these “warning signs:”

  • You’re under stress and you need to recover
  • Time feels like it’s slipping away
  • You’ve noticed a negative change in your exercise or eating habits
  • Your sleep is suffering
  • You frequently lose awareness of your surroundings
  • You feel physically cramped, fatigued or restless
  • You’re spending less time with people than before

Conclusion

Balance is key to a healthy and happy life. It’s okay to keep in touch with your social media feed or read the news online. Just make sure you do these things in moderation. Instead of watching two hours of mindless television each evening, try limiting your T.V. time to only half an hour and take an additional hour to walk through your neighborhood. It’s important to unplug every so often for not just your physical health, but also your overall well-being.