My Top Ten By Sonya Quinney

“I’M A model and aspiring actress based in the UAE. Originally from Mumbai, I began my modelling career working with local designers. I love experimenting with style and believe fashion has no rules. I also believe in real connections during an era where digital media dominates our lives. I am of the belief we should strike a balance between the digital revolution and human interactions. With that in mind, here are my top tips to reconnect with the real world,” said Sonya.

Change settings: Dive into your phone settings and turn off most of the notifications. Why? Because those notifications light up your screen every few minutes and have you addicted to checking your phone, which of course can be very distracting. Do this and you’re ready for what’s coming next.

Time it: What casually starts with scrolling usually proceeds to no stopping. Before you know it, an hour has passed. This calls for a change! Set aside some time for social media and stick to it. It’s great to stay connected and give the world updates about your experiences, just don’t let it take over your life. Remember, balance is key.

Let the wallpaper talk: If you’re the type that gets tempted to keep checking your phone screen for notifications, this should do the trick. All you need is a ‘phone wallpaper’ that says: ‘No, this can wait! Use some willpower to follow just what it tells you. This doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your notifications for days; you can check it every few hours. If someone needs to speak to you urgently, they can choose to call you instead.

Real expressions: Instead of using emojis or reactions, wouldn’t it be nice to actually express. The sight of someone smiling with a thumbs up gesture when they see your outfit of the day is definitely better than a mere emoji over your post. Express yourself more. Look around you, there is so much waiting for your real reactions.

Don’t take it along: Think about the times when you can make do without your phone. A fun evening with friends or a jog by yourself perhaps. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to just soak in what’s happening in the moment rather than letting your device capture stories? Give it a try, you won’t regret it!

Save it for later: We just love sharing updates with close ones. The internet makes it a lot easier to keep in touch. But what would you discuss when you finally meet after weeks, months or even years of waiting? Would you even miss each other? Save the updates for later and bring back the charm of long distance relationships as you disregard the power of being online.

Time to replace: Many would admit that their phone screen is the first thing they check when they wake up and the last before going to bed. Replace this with rising up to watch the morning sky and something like reading your favourite book before bedtime. A bonus tip is to replace your morning wake-up call from your phone alarm to a traditional alarm clock. This way, you wouldn’t be tempted to check updates.

Create real stories: With social media platforms offering you opportunities to publish ‘stories’ that last 24 hours, you often fail to create the real kind, which will be told for years to come. These are the kind of stories you would share with people in exchange for a connection you could label as true friendship.

Let your eyes see: The urge to capture every moment with the perfectly fantastic smartphone camera lens is real. Maybe if you try to control this urge to post the image about the heavenly breakfast, you would enjoy indulging in the taste better. Let your eyes capture the sight, remember the details and your heart feel the moment.

Check into reality: Not everything you see online is real. The more you dwell upon it, the more you’ll tend to compare yourself to perfection that doesn’t exist. While others may be busy ‘checking in’ to the fanciest restaurants or dreamy destinations, be sure that they’re only putting the best of their lives online. Let them live in a fake reality while you find the right balance. Being online can give us the greatest strength to reach out to millions, but don’t centre your life around it. I hope these tips help you reconnect with the real.