Are you guilty of “phubbing?” That is, snubbing someone you’re talking to and looking at a cell phone. Many of us are. A study referenced in a Time article “found that the mere presence of a cell phone during a conversation — even if no one was using it — was enough to make people feel less connected to each other.” The same Time article also cited two studies that concluded that “when spouses phub each other, they’re more likely to experience depression and lower marital satisfaction.”
We live in a world inundated with technology. We spend a lot of time using our devices so much that we often lose track of how much time we spend using our devices. In fact, according to research by Simon Kemp released in 2020, we spend an average of 3 hours and 40 minutes per day on our devices.
COVID-19 has exacerbated this problem and demonstrates the necessity for human connection. While we are living in an unprecedented time, consider these digital-free tips for Valentine’s Day to reconnect with your partner.
1) Leave Your Devices Outside of the Bedroom
In order to reconnect with one another during a time when we were constantly distracted by our devices, we started a #PhoneFreeBedroomChallenge. We quickly discovered the benefits this simple behavior change could bring to people, especially couples like us. This is why we created Bagby. To this day, we still leave our phones outside of the bedroom.
Leaving your phone outside of your room “removes the temptation to pick up your device first thing in the morning or in the middle of the night,” according to human connection expert Holland Haiis. Also, a study by Chang et al. states that the use of light-emitting devices makes it harder for us to fall asleep, “delays the circadian clock, suppresses levels of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, reduces the amount and delays the timing of REM sleep, and reduces alertness the following morning.”
2) Spend Time in Nature
Based on numerous studies, a University of Minnesota article affirms that “time in nature or scenes of nature are associated with a positive mood, and psychological wellbeing, meaningfulness, and vitality.” The same article also asserts that “time spent in nature connects us to each other and the larger world.” Take a walk or hike together and enjoy nature. Not only does nature exposure improve your physical wellbeing, but it also benefits your mental health.
3) Cook a Delicious Meal Together
There’s nothing better than a home-cooked meal. It’s usually healthier that way, too. Make your favorite meal or try a new recipe that inspires you both. You’ll certainly feel satisfied knowing you made it together.
4) Express Gratitude for Your Partner
Multiple studies have shown the benefits of gratitude on your overall wellbeing. According to gratitude expert Robert Emmons, “Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.” Do a gratitude exercise with your partner where you share things you appreciate about each other and compliment one another. Make it a regular practice.
5) Digital Detox
Digital dependency is a problem faced by many of us. We often spend more time on our devices than we would like. Although it’s unintentional on our part, big tech companies have designed things to be this way and are constantly developing new ways to hold our attention.
Many of us are unaware of the negative effects of the omnipresence of technology, social media, and screens. Meanwhile, some people have realized these consequences—they have consciously made a change in their lives and are inspiring others to take action. These people who are shifting the narrative and inspiring others to take action are DIGITAL DETOX HEROES.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, leave your devices behind for the whole day and see how you feel. For some people, a digital detox is no easy task; nevertheless, we’re willing to bet you’ll end up feeling better both mentally and physically and more connected to each other. If you practice this habit regularly, you’ll find it gets easier, and your relationship may improve over time. We recommend you practice one digital detox a month together and go from there.
Now is the moment to change things for the better and develop a more mindful and human relationship to technology. Interested in joining our “DIGITAL DETOX HEROES” community? Contact us.
Human connection is essential for our survival. We aren’t perfect, and we don’t expect you to be, either. Instead, we hope you will practice digital wellness habits where you are mindful of your relationship to technology and your devices and how it affects the people you are closest to. Use this Valentine’s Day as a time to reconnect with your partner and reflect on your relationship with technology. Be honest with yourself regarding your tech habits and if you aren’t satisfied, consider making a change. We know it isn’t easy, but we are fairly certain it will HELP your overall wellbeing and your relationship.
Author: Rebecca Cohen-Lindfors