The irony with technology is that while it can be part of what causes you stress, it can also be an integral part in helping you de-stress.
As important as technology is in helping us do our jobs, complete school assignments, and communicate with others, we all need to take a step back and relax once in a while. And yes, you can still use technology to do this.
Here are some of my favourite ways to de-stress with tech.
Take a Brisk Walk with the Fitbit Flex: Even if it’s just a quick walk down the street, or a circle around the house (likely chasing after my son), a brisk walk while wearing my Fitbit Flex can be thoroughly rewarding. I can quickly review my progress by tapping on the face (the number of LEDs that light up indicate how close I am to my goal) or by checking the app. It might just be 5-10 minutes away from the go, go, go nature of daily life. But that short breather can really help me wind down from a tough day.
Watch Some TV: I’m a self-professed lover of TV. I watch and record a lot. (To give you an idea, my PVR currently has almost 350 hours worth of recordings saved!) One of my absolute favourite ways to de-stress is to simply curl up on the couch with a bit of mindless reality TV. Sometimes, I’ll even check out an episode of my latest binge-watch treat on Netflix using my MacBook Pro or a nice, large-screened smartphones or tablet, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab. If you’re looking for a show that’ll let you escape from reality for an hour or so each day, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, and House of Cards are a few of my favourites, and are all awesome choices.
Wind Down with Wine…and Baking!: I love to cook and bake. And I find whipping up an awesome cheesecake or fresh set of homemade granola bars can be very therapeutic. (With a glass of wine while I work, of course.) My ancient hand mixer recently broke (right smack-dab in the middle of mixing up some yummy cream cheese frosting for a carrot cake!) So I’m on the market for the right replacement to help me get back into the baking groove. One like this model from Cuisinart has me salivating at the very thought of the scrumptious goods I could be creating as I de-stress. I especially love that it has 3 additional power outlets for optional attachments as my skill level rises.
Let’s Just Dance: I’ll admit that I’m not much of a gamer, but jumping in on a game of Just Dance 2014 for the Wii with my nieces is a great way to let loose, get some exercise, and de-stress in the process. You’ll find (and be able to unlock with practice) a wide selection of genres and tunes, and can even go karaoke-style and sing along for extra points. It’s more fun to play in pairs or groups, but there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy some de-stressing (not to mention a quick dance workout!) while solo.
Gaming on Your Phone: OK, so playing mobile games means you’ve still got your smartphone in hand, which can make it tempting to check e-mails and answer calls. But playing a few minutes of your favourite guilty pleasure can allow you to clear your head and decompress from a busy day. Before you know it, being fully-engaged in a game of Candy Crush and Angry Birds can make you forget all about those annoying notifications that keep popping up…for a short while, at least. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m not into those super high-tech games. I still like to indulge in the occasional game of Draw Something or Bejeweled 2.
Relaxing With Tunes: Sometimes it’s important to just do nothing. And technology can still be involved in this process. If you take public transit to work or school, a good pair of earbuds, like the Plantronics BackBeat GO 2 and your smartphone to enjoy a calming playlist so you’re well-rested and relaxed once you get to your destination. The BackBeats are wireless, so pesky cords won’t get in the way when you’re bundled up during the cold winter months. And they’re sweatproof, so ideal for use outside in the summer, or during your de-stressing workout sessions. There’s also a built-in mic and iPhone controls.
At home, use a system like Sonos to play tunes from a connected smartphone. Lounge on the bed, in your favourite chair, or out on the patio and control playback from the phone, tablet, or remote Sonos controller. Then, let your worries slowly subside, even if it is just for a song or two…or three. OK, maybe just four.
Curl Up With a Good Book: There’s nothing like immersing yourself in a good book. And these days, you can do just that with tech. Grab a dedicated e-reader like the Kobo Arc, which can hold 16 GBs worth of ebooks and has Wi-Fi so you can connect online to browse and download your favourite titles. Or opt for reading on a tablet like the iPad Mini instead, using books downloaded from the iTunes, the Kobo app, or other sources. Add a folio-styled case and it’ll be almost like holding a real paperback book.
Take a Break From Tech: All that said, it’s still a good idea to take a complete break from tech every now and then and truly chill. Maybe do some yoga. You can get started with a kit like this one. Put your feet up and enjoy a quick home massage, or undress and let the stress melt away in a comforting, aromatherapy bubble bath.
I’m a Type A person, so I know all about stress. And while I’m constantly connected, surprisingly, technology also plays an integral role in allowing me to figuratively disconnect from the daily stresses of life. These are just a few of my favourite ways to do so. Give them a try!