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    Here’s How To Actually Do A Digital Detox, According To Experts

    It’s 7 am. Your phone alarm goes off and, after snoozing for twenty minutes, you grab your phone. Inevitably, you’re littered with notifications: Uber Eats, that workout app you never open, WhatsApps from while you were asleep and some viral tweets are all demanding your attention. Of course, you open one and before you know it, it’s 8:30 am and you’ve got 30 minutes to be at your desk.  

    Like it or not, we’re humans enslaved to our digital devices. Come evening, mindlessly scrolling TikTok on mute while simultaneously watching Netflix is the norm. It feels impossible to just ignore every ping and vibration. It stands to reason, then, that our interests pique when someone says they’re taking on a digital detox. The international practice, used by celebrities, CEOs and regular people alike, allow us some distance from our devices.

    “It’s a period of time where you intentionally disconnect from technology, including phones, laptops, tablets, and social media, yes, that means even a quick WhatsApp,” says Melissa Lain, health coach.  

    But there’s more to it than that. Every time you open your phone, your brain is flooded with dopamine, the body’s innate reward hormone. It’s the same thing that makes you feel so satisfied after eating chocolate or winning an arm wrestle. But being exposed to it 24/7? That’s flooding our brains with the stuff, making us addicted to our tech. And, per a new survey, South Africans are spending upwards of three hours a day on social media alone. A digital detox, also called a dopamine detox, can help. “The idea is to take a break from the constant stream of information and stimulation that comes with being connected all the time,” says Lainn.

    How to tell when it’s time for a digital detox

    There are various signs that it’s time to shut down those reward centres for a while. First, if you’re spending excessive periods of time in a scroll hole, it’s time to put the phone down. Zahraa Surtee, counselling psychologist, notes that sleep disruptions – and checking your phone in the middle of the night – is also a tell-tale sign.

    Also, pay attention to how you’re feeling when you’re not on your devices, notes Melissa. “If you feel like you can never switch off, are constantly checking your phone or emails, even when there aren’t notifications buzzing, and feel overwhelmed by the amount of information you are consuming, it might be time for a digital detox,” she says. Zahraa agrees. Are you feeling anxiety when your phone’s not within reach? You’re likely in a dopamine rut. You might even find a feeling of disconnect with the real world, says Melissa. “If you find yourself spending more time online or watching other people live life rather than creating and experiencing your own, it’s a sign that you need to intentionally disconnect for a while and re-engage with the present moment.”

    Then there’s the physical ramifications: “Spending long periods of time in front of a screen can cause eye strain, tension headaches, neck and back pain, and other physical symptoms,” says Melissa.

    How to detox, digitally

    Zahraa sees digital detoxes as a way to carefully curate what you’re exposed to. “It’s not about giving up screen time completely,” she says. “Rather, it’s firstly about recognising that the media we consume DOES affect our mental health and the way we choose to show up in the world.” Spend some time curating your phone. Go through your apps and disable those notifications that annoy you, or that cause you to scroll endlessly. Do you really need a notification every time someone likes your Reel? “Just as we get to choose the type of foods we ideally want to nourish our bodies with, so we do get to choose the type of content we’d like to nourish our minds with,” says Zahraa. “Digital detoxes are ideally about spending screen time more mindfully and in moderation.”

    To Melissa, the digital detox you embark on can be individualised to you. “It can be as short as a few hours or as long as a week, or even more,” she says. “During this time, you commit to disconnecting from digital devices and focusing on other activities that promote stillness and well-being. Don’t overcomplicate it, an hour or two a day is a perfect way to start, especially when there’s load shedding.”

    Keen to try? Instead of using the time to stare into space, itching to check your phone or Netflix, try scheduling a tech-free activity. Maybe that’s a bubble bath, some colouring in time or just some tea and time with your thoughts. More

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    3 Things To Look For When Buying A Hiking Backpack (Plus, 8 Amazing Ones To Buy Right Now)

    Heading out for a hike is the perfect way to spend time with your friends, family or yourself. But before you search for your nearest mountain, there are things you need to know about hiking backpacks.

    We’ve got the lowdown on what to look for in hiking backpacks, the best ones and the essentials you need to pack.

    3 Things To Look For When Buying A Hiking Backpack

    1. Comfort

    A hiking backpack needs to distribute weight evenly. Seriously, the most important factor to keep in mind is comfort. No matter how many cool features it has, if the bag doesn’t sit comfortably on your back and shoulders, it’s not right for you.

    2. Size

    The backpack’s size is important; work out if you’d prefer a wider and shorter or longer and thinner bag. Obviously a bag that isn’t absurdly huge is first prize. But think about the duration of your hikes and how much you would need to take. Your needs for a short day hike (snacks/water) are different to a full-day hike (lunch, water, additional clothes). Internal storage becomes a big component here; it’s the difference between having enough room or having to take multiple bags.

    3. Padding

    The key to a comfortable backpack is a balanced load. Too little padding will not protect your body from the strains of weight and can cause painful chafing. Similarly, too much padding will cause awkward and uncomfortable pressure against your body, which might lead to soreness… or you standing in a strange way to ease the pressure. A decent backpack should have padding on the back panel, shoulder straps and hip belt strap.

    READ MORE: The 6 Greatest Recovery Tools That Ease Tight Muscles

    Best Hiking Backpacks You Can Buy Right Now

    1. Thule AllTrail

    Best For: Day Hikes

    All your gear is within reach thanks to the easy-access side zippers and front shove-it pocket. The dedicated hydration sleeve frees up space for other essentials like keys and snacks. There’s even an integrated rain cover so the weather will never be a problem.

    MRP 22 litre Hiking Backpack

    Best For: Budget Hikers

    Who says you need to spend a fortune to get a pack with great features? This quick-drying and durable day pack has cushioned straps, a padded back panel and a sternum strap for extra security and comfort. And the webbing and elastic cords allow you to attach a variety of accessories and items. Love!

    Salomon Outlife 20 Unisex Backpack

    Best For: Versatile Hikers On The Go

    Drawing on their trail-running expertise, Salomon has created a robust yet versatile pack that adapts to life on the move and new destinations (hey digital nomads!). Combining a comfy harness with multiple pockets, compartments and carrying solutions, this pack is just waiting for you to make it your own.

    Thule Stir

    Best For: When you need something lightweight

    The simple, clean design offers quick access via the top zippered mesh pocket and über organization for all your items.  If you want it even more streamlined, simply remove the sternum strap and hip belt. Plus, you can stash water bottles and other essentials in the expandable side pockets.

    MRP 30-litre Hiking Backpack

    Best For: Budget Large Day-Pack

    With many of the same features as the 22-litre pack above, you’ll get an extra 8 litres for those long day hikes where you need to pack food, water and perhaps a change of clothes. And at R899, you can’t go wrong.

    READ MORE: Long-Distance Trail Running: Here’s Exactly How To Prep And Push Through

    Salomon Out Night 30+5 Unisex Backpack

    Best For: Overnight Hikes

    Engineered for comfort on the go, this pack is ready for any fast-paced adventure up to 2 days. Clean, modern and with a harness system that lets the pack move with you, it doesn’t get much better than this. Bonus: there are gear attachments that put your poles, ice axes or accessories within easy reach. And a removable lid adds 5L of capacity.

    Thule Sapling

    Best For: Hiking with kids

    This child carrier is safe and comfortable, plus quick and easy to adjust to fit any parent. On-the-go adjustments are made even easier, as you can load your child from the top or the side of the carrier. The deployable sunshade means that your precious cargo is protected from the harsh sun. Plus, store water, nappies, clothes and other bigger items in the zippered compartment and use the extra roomy zippered mesh pockets for emergency items like snacks, toys and keys.

    Hiking Essentials To Take With You

    1. Comfortable shoes and socks

    2. A hat & sunscreen

    3. Water & snacks or a light lunch

    4. Flint / matches and a warm jacket

    5. A hiking backpack and accessories

    Women’s Health participates in various affiliate marketing programmes, which means we may get commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.

    Kelleigh Korevaar

    Kelleigh is the Managing Editor of Women’s Health. When she’s not convincing her colleagues to try the latest TikTok trends, you can find her planning a holiday that never leaves the group chat, binge-reading or eating her way through Cape Town. More

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    The 6 Greatest Recovery Tools That Ease Tight Muscles

    Recovery tools are clutch when it comes to stretching out and massaging tight, sore muscles, whether from injury or a hard workout. We’ve rounded up the top recovery tools that’ll get you from “eina!” to “aaaaah….”

    READ MORE: This Cardio Abs Workout Takes Only 20 Minutes But Works All Your Major Muscles

    Asoka Yoga Acupressure Energy Mat, R435

    Don’t let the spikes scare you; they activate energy points said to relieve pain, fatigue, insomnia and even combat anxiety.

    TriggerPoint GRID 1.0 Foam Roller, R650

    The hollowed-out roller gives as solid a sports massage as you can get alone on your bedroom floor. For best results, go slow as you can and remember to use your body weight as pressure.

    Theragun Mini, R5000

    The gold standard of percussive massagers now comes in a compact, waaaay less expensive model that’ll still pound out muscle tension like a pro.

    READ MORE: The 18 Best Swimwear Pieces That’ll Flatter Every Figure

    Hyperice Vyper Go Vibrating Roller, R3000

    You can roll out those DOMs at home or on the go thanks to this vibrating massage roller that’s designed for portability.

    TrueLight Energy Square 2.4, R6 695

    Red-light therapy is all the rage, but no product is easier to use than this energy square. Pair it with your morning coffee or post-workout stretch to target tension.

    Stryke Cryo Trigger Massage Ball, R420

    Combine the benefits of cryotherapy, heat therapy and massage therapy for pure muscle relief. *sigh*

    READ MORE: Sculpt Your Body With This 15-Minute HIIT Workout More

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    10 must have gadgets to own for the tech addict in all of us


    by Dan Robinson
    2 hours ago

    It’s the time of year when we’re all traveling to far-away destinations to visit family or friends so you might start thinking about updating your trusty I-phone or Laptop.
    Whether you’re heading to a winter escape or flying solo to a beach retreat, one thing for sure is we’re all reaching for our tech to help us get there. (You can switch it off and relax when you get there, we won’t tell anyone)
    To save you the legwork, Emirates Woman has created the ultimate tech-inspired gift guide to ensure you’re inspired this season.

    – For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
    Images: Supplied, Main image @Bellahadid instagram  More

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    “I Tried The New Apple Watch Series 7 And I’m Totally Upgrading ASAP”

    It’s no secret that I’m an Apple Watch devotee. At this point, it feels a little bit like Christmas morning when I get word about a new watch model being released. But part of the magic of the Apple Watch is that every iteration really does feel like you’re getting a new, novel product with bells and whistles you didn’t even realize you wanted – until you have them. After getting a look at the Apple Watch Series 7, that was the case for me once again.
    The Series 7 (as well as the latest watchOS 8 software) boasts some subtle upgrades that make it more wearable than previous models, like a larger screen display, gorgeous new colourways (I love my gold-silvery Starlight watch face), and better battery life. But after wearing the Apple Watch Series 7 for several days around the clock, it’s clear to me the upgrade will only make my wellness routine even stronger with some surprising new bigger and better features.
    READ MORE: 15 Best Running Shoes for Women + How to Pick The Right Trainers for You
    Ahead, a rundown of the fresh features I’m most excited about, and how they’ve helped me day to day. (The Series 7 officially launched October 15 and you can order it here.)

    It has multiple new health and fitness features.
    The Series 7 includes a new Mindfulness app that prompts you to take a minute to reflect throughout your day. The Reflect feature in the app instructs you to pause and use the time to notice your thoughts as they go through your mind. As a busy person constantly hustling from a workout to a meeting to an event, even those reminders for 60-second pauses make a difference for my mental well-being.
    When it comes to working out, the Series 7 also includes Tai Chi and Pilates as workout types in the Workout app. But the workout update (on watchOS 8, so you don’t need the Series 7 to use it!) that really blew my mind is the new fall detection feature that can now detect falls during workouts, like if you tumble off your bike while outdoor cycling. Safety first!

    READ MORE: 12 Bonnie Mbuli Wellness Quotes To Keep You Motivated
    Lastly, I started noticing a little cheerleader voice coming from my wrist when I would, say, close my Move ring or hit a mile marker on a walk or jog. The Series 7 includes new voice feedback via the built-in speaker (or through your AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones) that automatically announces workout milestones and Activity ring progress. For me, this means less glancing down at my Watch to check my stats, distance, time – and more head in the game during all my workouts.
    It charges faster than before.
    The Series 7 has a battery life of 18 hours, and it juices up 33 percent faster compared to the Series 6. This is super-helpful for me right before bed, when I need a little extra power on my Watch in order to keep it charged through the night to track my sleep.
    It includes a keyboard to make responding to texts and emails a breeze.
    As much as it pains me to let the outside world interrupt my workouts, there are plenty of times where I need to respond to a time-sensitive text or email. Up until now I’ve used voice dictation when absolutely necessary, which isn’t always the most accurate on loud city streets.
    READ MORE: Busy With Work All The Time? Try This 25-Minute Total-Body HIIT Workout And Torch Calories Fast
    The Series 7 has two larger font sizes to make messages more readable, as well as a special keyboard that lets you slide your finger over the keys to “messy type,” as I like to call it – and it autocorrects spelling errors and anticipates your next words to make your communication quicker (and less disruptive!).
    *This article was originally published on Women’s Health US

    READ MORE ON: Fitness Gear gear tech WH Tests It More