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The Power Hour: Using Your Screen-Free Break for Personal Growth

When was the last time you went screen-free? Like proper screen-free, i.e., no time spent on TV, phone, or laptop?

Where you are completely unplugged – not staring or striving for a screen.

Don’t get me wrong – I am a big fan of technology, and I appreciate the positive impact it has had on our lives. I can’t imagine life without it.

However, as with many good things in life, too much can be harmful.

Whether we are working, playing, or socializing, we can live our lives on screens, and that won't change any time soon. So, the onus is on us to use them in a way that serves us rather than harms us.

Why do we need a screen-free break?

If you've been staring at a screen for too long, you know how it feels on your body.

You may experience dry eyes, headaches, eye strain, or muscle stiffness (particularly in your shoulders, neck, and back). Besides the immediate impact on your body, there are other long-term risks as well.

A constant exposure to blue light can disrupt your sleep, resulting in insomnia. It doesn't stop there. Too much screen time can negatively affect our mental health, resulting in feelings of comparison, inadequacy, and anxiety. Stepping away from screens allows us to hit the reset button, giving our minds and bodies the chance to recharge and rejuvenate.

Here comes your rescue: The Power Hour

The Power Hour is a dedicated 60 minutes of your day where you consciously disconnect from all screens and focus on activities that promote personal growth and well-being. Think of it as a mini digital detox, a time to unplug and reconnect with yourself and the world around you.

It's kind of like Pomodoro—involves dedicated, distraction-free, time-restricted work sessions to maintain focus and productivity. 

During a Power Hour session, ideally, you should focus on one or two related tasks. This can be deep work on complex, demanding tasks or completing minor (and annoying) to-do tasks. By doing so, you prevent unproductive multitasking.

Why it works, and what are the benefits?

The reason it works is because it helps us to break free from endless digital distractions and tap into our inner creativity. We can imagine, explore, and innovate without the constant buzz of notifications. Moreover, the Power Hour offers an opportunity for self-reflection and introspection, allowing us to gain clarity about our goals and ambitions.

Power Hour benefits are far-reaching. From increased productivity and focus to reduced stress and anxiety, the positive impact it can have on our lives is undeniable. Not to mention the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes with personal growth and development—a real treat.

21 ideas to use your screen-free break to power up!

To maximize your Power Hour, here are 21 ideas for utilizing your screen-free time for personal growth.

1. Dive into a new book and get lost in a different world.

2. Take a stroll in nature and let the fresh air invigorate your senses.

3. Try your hand at a new hobby like swimming, knitting, or podcasting.

4. Meditate and find your inner zen amidst the chaos of daily life.

5. Write in a journal and let your thoughts flow freely onto the page.

6. Practice mindfulness with a relaxing yoga session.

7. Get creative with a DIY project or craft.

8. Jam out on a musical instrument and let your rockstar side shine.

9. Play board games or chat over coffee with loved ones.

10. Go for a run or hit the gym to get your body moving and release those endorphins.

11. Learn a new skill or language through online courses or tutorials.

12. Do a digital declutter and organize your files, photos, and emails.

13. Experiment with new recipes in the kitchen and unleash your inner chef.

14. Enjoy a nutritious meal or snack slowly, noticing flavors, textures, and sensations.

15. Explore your creative side with drawing, coloring, or doodling.

16. Practice gratitude by reflecting on the things you're thankful for.

17. Connect with nature by gardening or tending to indoor plants.

18. Volunteer your time to help others in your community.

19. Plan your next adventure by researching travel destinations or day trips.

20. Get lost in a puzzle, whether it's a crossword, Sudoku, or jigsaw.

21. Simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the peace of your screen-free sanctuary.

How to use screens mindfully to get the most out of technology?

Obviously, screens are not inherently evil. In fact, when used mindfully, technology is a powerful tool for learning, creativity, and connection. The key is finding a healthy balance and being intentional about how we use our screens. 

Often, we pick up our phones to check the weather but end up checking emails, browsing social media, or watching YouTube, then realize 15 minutes later we didn't check the weather!

It happens because of habit formation. Our minds crave familiar patterns, so checking email or scrolling through feeds becomes second nature. So, despite our initial intention to check the weather, we end up taking digital detours.

You can break this habit of mindless scrolling by dedicating "screen time" hours or limiting your time to each app or website with time-tracking apps. You can also separate online and offline lives in your home by creating screen zones. Stay mindful throughout; and if you catch yourself scrolling mindlessly, refocus that time to something fulfilling.

Remember: Pausing, reflecting, and resting are essential for personal growth, well-being, and unleashing your creative potential.

So, for the sake of your well-being, make an effort each day to turn off the television, close your laptop, or put down your phone to have some proper screen-free me-time.

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