From watches that ping, when you’ve got a new text to the Instagram feeds you can’t stop scrolling through all the time, there’s no denying that we’re more plugged in than ever before. Sure, this level of connectedness has benefits—it’s simple to stay in touch with friends and family during the lockdown; you can express yourself on social media; multitasking is easier—but there are also some pretty serious drawbacks. Staring at our devices may be pleasurable at the moment, but pleasurable behaviours are addictive.
Ultimately, a digital detox is a way to disconnect to reconnect.
Digital detox refers to a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices connected to the Internet, such as smartphones and computers. Moreover, a digital detox is an opportunity to reduce stress and focus more on interaction with others. And it can also help prevent addiction to tech devices. In addition, a digital detox provides time to experience nature, get physical exercise, spend more time with family, and practice mindfulness. Unplugging regularly helps us maintain a healthy balance between IRL (in real life) activities and the digital world.
Five Signs You Need A Digital Detox
1. You Spend More Time Than Intended
Technology can be quicksand, sticky and challenging to escape. Everyone has gotten hooked after one article and stayed for another article, comment, like or share? You open social media to look at one thing but what if you continue scrolling down your feed endlessly? Before you know it, you’ve spent 15-20 minutes mindlessly scrolling. By setting intentional blocks of your schedule for checking, you might gain awareness for your use and successfully achieve phone detox.
2. You Feel Guilt/Dissatisfaction Afterwards
Technology use has a reward-regret curve. Each site and article provides a little nugget of instant gratification. Too many, and you might be inclined to regret this use of time. Reflection is the best medicine for examining how you move forward in the world. If you’re filled with negative emotions, it might be time to ask, was that “time well spent?” If your answer is no, then it is time for a technology detox.
3. Digital Connectivity Can Make You Feel Like You’re Missing Out
Fear of missing out, known as FOMO, is the fear that you are missing the experiences that everyone else is having. Constant connectivity can feed this fear. Every time you see a curated image or post about someone else’s life, it can leave you feeling as if your life is less exciting than theirs. You might find yourself overcommitting to social events out of the fear that you’ll be left behind. FOMO can also keep you constantly checking your device out of fear that you are going to miss an important text, DM, or post.
4. You Have Urges To Constantly Check
While people often feel that they can’t imagine life without their tech devices, research and surveys have found that technology use can also contribute to stress. From phantom vibrations to wondering whether the screen just flashed on, the motivation to check our phones is one of the strongest adaptations. Proactive preventions from checking might help curb cell phone addiction. For instance, you might choose to turn your phone off when socializing with loved ones or putting it on a do-not-disturb mode.
5. You Don’t Have Enough Time & You Have A Disturbed Sleep Cycle
At the end of your day, it’s not uncommon to feel incredibly busy. This busyness and stress is real, but if you were to reduce smartphone usage, might it help you feel calmer and be available for things that matter? Imagine you’re in bed after a long day, thinking how fast the time went and how there’s never enough time in a day, but then you turn to social media to relax for some time before sleeping. BUT heavy device use, particularly before bedtime, can interfere with sleep quality and quantity. It has been found that using social media when you are in bed at night increases the likelihood of anxiety, insomnia, and shorter sleep duration. This is why phone detox becomes necessary, especially during nighttime.
Prioritising your mental health is extremely important. And long hours on the phone or computer can affect your mental health. Watch the video to see the few personal habits that can drain all your energy.
Benefits Of Digital Detox
1. Improve Mental Health
Many people with addiction also have mental health conditions that contribute to their addiction. Your attention span also gets affected. A digital detox can reduce the mental health symptoms associated with excess technology use and help make Recovery a little easier.
2. Reduce Stress
Constantly checking your social media or news leads to stress. And by reducing the stress that comes from social media and other technology through a digital detox, you can better control your life and the adverse mental health issues it causes. Eye strain can also cause headaches and stress, learn about 5 ways to deal with digital eye strain caused during the lockdown here.
3. Discover New Hobbies
Using our digital devices takes up a surprising amount of time, time that could be put towards picking back up an old hobby or even discovering a new one. Use the time you would spend on your devices doing yoga, reading, drawing, or just about anything else and you are sure to feel much more fulfilled.
4. Enhance Sleep
Evidence shows that frequent device use can disrupt your sleep schedule and make it harder to sleep. Improving your sleep through digital detoxification allows you to better rest your body as it recovers from addiction.
5. Break The Cycle
For many, actions such as checking your phone or other devices have become an unconscious habit, we do it without even thinking about it. However, it is a habit you don’t need, especially when it has you itching to check your phone no matter the situation or occasion. It can be difficult to get out of the cycle, but a complete break on a digital detox creates the perfect circumstances to finally give up this bad habit.
How To Do Digital Detox
You can use many strategies to take a break from screen time. Different methods work for different people because of our unique lifestyles and personalities. Try these five ways to do digital detoxification. But giving up all your screen time? It’s just not practical. Thankfully, experts agree that you don’t have to break up with your phone completely, just detach yourself from your devices. Also, learn about various applications that will help with your digital health here.
1. Set Time Boundaries
Schedule technology-free hours every day, stay away from your phone during meals or add technology-free activities to your schedule like classes. While it isn’t always possible or even preferable to completely disconnect, setting limits on when these digital connections are allowed to intrude on your time can be good for your mental well-being.
For example, you might want to use your phone to play your Spotify or Apple Music playlist while you are working out, but setting it to aeroplane mode will make sure that you aren’t distracted by phone calls, texts, other messages, or app notifications during your workout.
2. Remove Distractions
Another way to start your digital detox is to turn off push notifications on your phone. Many social media apps including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and news websites send alerts every single time you get a message, mention, or new post.
Rather than checking certain apps or websites every time a new story or post hits, set aside a specific time each day when you’ll check your messages or mentions. Then set aside a certain amount of time, around 20 or 30 minutes, to devote to catching up and sending responses.
3. Use Your Phone With Purpose
Always ask “why” when you pull out your phone. Sure, our smartphones are handy tools for finding out answers, keeping in touch with friends, or even checking the time. But often, more often than we think, we use our phones to distract, avoid, or ignore whatever is happening right in front of us. When you want to use your phone, consider the reason. If it involves negative coping behaviours like avoidance of an activity, think about how you can better handle that feeling.
4. Set Physical Boundaries
If you have trouble putting down your phone, try storing it in another room to discourage yourself from using it. When you are reading, do not keep your phone beside you because it might cause distractions. Setting boundaries on the type and timing of connections you’ll attend to helps ensure that you can enjoy real-world activities completely free of digital diversions.
5. Try Using The Rule Of Thirds
Divide your life into thirds—8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, and 8 hours free. Working more does not make us more productive. Setting personal goals and working smart and keeping time free allows our minds to wander in ways that make the hours we do work more effective. So if you let your smartphone be your work ball-and-chain, you’re not doing yourself any favours when it comes to productivity.
There’s no denying that every individual who uses gadgets needs a detox, not just the working adults, but also the kids and the elderly who have been stuck at home during this lockdown.
- While applying these detox methods, also try to spend more time with your family
- It can be through various offline activities planned like reading books, board games, exercising, cooking and eating comfort food which will also help de-stress
- You can try out various flavours of cookie dough from Doughp Shope at the Red Dot Shop here
- Or maybe have a routine set for a much-needed champi by the end of the day with all-natural homemade hair oil from the Red Dot Shop here
- No matter what your method is, unplug yourself from this all the time connected world and lead a free life
Going device-free can be uncomfortable and stressful at times. You might feel annoyed, anxious, and even bored without your mobile phone and other tech tools. While it may be hard, digital detox benefits are rewarding and will help you better understand your relationship with your devices and be more present and mindful in your other activities and experiences. Despite conscious efforts to minimize material goods, information and technology can weasel their way in, pushing out what matters. Taking intentional efforts to take part in a digital detox might free up far more time than you realize for the things that matter most.
And isn’t that the goal of all this? To live a life that matters.