By Sandra Quinn

Many of us will have finished up for the Christmas holidays by now and have left the offices, printers, phone lines and hectic meeting schedules behind (hopefully).

Christmas is a time for family, reminiscing, vegging out, lazing about, swapping gifts, eating and drinking too much and generally just being merry.

No matter how busy our working lives are, Christmas is not a time for checking emails, checking in with the office, diverting calls to your mobile or keeping on top of your workload while away from the office.

Take this time to reduce screen time, take a real and meaningful break from work and really enjoy what the festive season has to offer.

Christmas offers families of young children and teenagers the opportunity to lead by example – think about it, if you are checking emails, updating social media statuses or checking voicemails, then it will be very difficult to chastise your child for being stuck to their mobile phone.

According to recent statistics, between 2013 and 2017, screen time for children aged up to eight years old has tripled from an average of 15 minutes a day to 48 minutes a day, while teenagers are on their screens for an average of four hours and 36 minutes a day and most adults spend up to six or nine hours a day on their phones and devices.

If you are on your phone a lot of the time checking news, emails, phone calls, and more, you are exposing your child to more screen time, as they will copy what their parents are doing.

The American Academy of Paediatrics Council on Communications and Media argue that too much screen time can lead to poor sleep, obesity, aggression, mood swings and a reduction of healthy activities.

Most of us rely on our phones for so much more than just phone calls and text messages and this means that it can be very easy to get lost in the rabbit hole and end up doing work tasks unintentionally.

For the time of year that is in it, turn off email notifications and do not divert work calls to your mobile (obviously, if something goes horribly wrong, you may need to check in, but that is a world apart from checking routine things while you are meant to be off the clock).

Take the time to switch off, relax, unwind an rejuvenate. If you take the time off to destress, you will find that you will return to work in the New Year invigorated, revived and will be more productive.

Happy Christmas to all of our readers from all of us here in Horizon Globex.