Enjoy Some Digital Downtime Over the Holidays

During the holidays, so many things compete for your attention: gift-buying errands, family obligations, work-related holiday parties, wrapping, baking, and so on, and so forth. Add a steady stream of iPhone notifications related to scary world events and the many unattainable things Instagram influencers are spending the season doing to that list, and you might just not feel awesome about yourself. In other words, it’s a great time to disconnect. Doing so lets you actually enjoy quality time with the great people in your life.

NOTE: THIS IS NOT A DIGITAL DETOX! Rather than shutting things off for two weeks and dealing with the anxiety of digital withdrawal, simply apply a little more consciousness to your tech habits so you can rein them in just enough. Think of it like making some healthy swaps rather than going on a full-blown cleanse.

Here are some tips:

  1. Turn off your notifications

    Between Christmas and New Year’s, if you’re not working and aren’t required to respond to your manager’s “urgent” requests, the only “ding!” that should interrupt your time is the sound of jingle bells. Go through your apps with push notifications, and ask yourself whether you really need to be getting them this week.

    Even if you can only silence or snooze a couple of apps, the change will be helpful. When you get a notification, you’re distracted from what you’re doing in real life.

  2. Set a tech schedule

    Another way to shift your tech habits from reactive to proactive is to have a plan for how you’ll engage with your phone and other devices during your downtime. For instance, maybe you need to check in on email a bit, so you set an hour each day for this task, then ignore your inbox the rest of the day.

    Apple’s new Downtime feature can help a lot with that: It grays out apps after you’ve reached a pre-set time limit.

  3. Shift your media go-to’s

    Buy a newspaper, a few magazines, and/or a new book. Doing so will cut down the time you’d normally spend engaging with tech each day and your eyes on a screen.

  4. Go old-school with your thoughts

    Instead of posting your thoughts on social media, write them down in a journal. No, you won’t get the same feedback from the online masses, but writing with a pen or a pencil actually feels really, really good. In fact, research shows that journaling can help to regulate emotions and make you happier.

  5. Do something where you can’t bring your phone

    Another smart, surefire way to build digital downtime into your holiday is to plan activities that won’t allow you to use your phone while you’re there. Schedule a yoga or meditation class, or even a spa or sauna session. Better yet, invite your family members to go with you, so you’re getting holiday bonding time, too.

If you live in the Los Angeles/Westlake Village area and are interested in therapy, I invite you to contact me via email at: tanyasamuelianmft@yahoo.com . I provide a complimentary consultation. Contact me now to see if we might be a good fit to work together! Or book your appointment now!

Easy Ways to Save Money this Holiday Season

The days are getting darker, the leaves are falling off the trees, and all of a sudden it feels like the holidays are just around the corner. If the holidays sneak up you on every year and you end up spending January and February paying off your lingering credit card balance, it’s time to do a little prep work.

Don’t worry, it’s not too late to actually save for your holiday presents and plans. Here are some ways to help you save, starting today:

  1. Keep It Separate - As you’re saving up for the holidays, open a separate savings account specifically for your holiday spending.

  2. Give Something Up - Try giving up one thing that you regularly spend money on. You could give up eating out, you could bring your lunch to work every day, or you could cut out buying coffee. Give it up for a month (or more!) before the holidays and you might be surprised just how much extra you can save.

  3. Make a Little Extra Cash - If you’re starting to save for the holidays a little later than you had hoped, you may need to give your savings a boost by bringing in some extra cash. Pick one thing that you can do without a lot of heavy lifting. Try offering dog sitting services to a family who is going out of town over the holidays. Or earn a few dollars a day by filling out surveys from Survey Junkie while you’re waiting in line. You can even offer to babysit for other busy parents who are searching for childcare to help with their holiday plans.

  4. Sell Things - This pre-holiday period is the perfect time to clean out some unwanted items from your home and collect a little cash in the process. Pick a few hours to tackle an area of your home that has a lot of unwanted items (think: clothes, books, and kids toys). As you’re putting things in the “to sell” pile, snap some quick photos. Then list them for sale anywhere!

  5. Collect Spare Change - Technology! There are some really great apps today that allow you to save the extra change. Qapital lets you move money automatically from your checking account into a savings account; it will round-up to the nearest whole dollar and deposit that money into a savings account. The app is free to use and will make saving automatic and painless.

  6. Reset in January - Get your savings started now! Start your planning early. It’s easy to put off saving — the holidays won’t roll around for another 12 months, after all. With just a little effort you could have your holiday savings for 2019 done by the time spring rolls around.

If you live in the Los Angeles/Westlake Village area and are interested in therapy, I invite you to contact me via email at: tanyasamuelianmft@yahoo.com . I provide a complimentary consultation. Contact me now to see if we might be a good fit to work together! Or book your appointment now!