It Is Time To Try A Digital Detox

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A digital detox is when you are not using technology for a certain timeframe.  This can mean stepping away from your smartphone, televisions, computers, tables, or even social media sites.  A digital detox usually is for a temporary set time.  The time can be whatever you feel like you need.  This could be a few hours in the day, at a certain time a day, or even for an entire weekend. 

When asked 61% of a group of people admitted to being addicted to the internet or digital screen.  

A digital detox does  not have to be where you give it up completely; it could be a decrease in how often you check your device.  A detox could be from an app that makes you feel anxious, or stressed.  Your digital detox could be at a specific time of day, or one day every single week.  A digital detox has lots of benefits and in a world where technology is becoming more and more prominent in everyday life, it can be nice to step away for a little while. 

Digital Overdose

Too much time online can lead to a whole list of negative things.  It can cause self-image problems, and low self-esteem.  It can cause depression, anxiety, and sleep problems.  Too much time online can cause weight gain, lack of exercise, lack of time management, and even work ethic problems.  People who make apps want you to spend your time on their apps.  So they make it to where you want to check your phone.  The average amount of time someone spends on TikTok per time they are on the app is 90 minutes.  The scrolling or swiping you do in certain apps sends a spike of dopamine to the same areas in your brain that respond to addictive and dangerous drugs like cocaine. 

How do you know if you need a digital detox?  

There are some red flags for you to watch for.  One is if you ever have had anxiety or stress when you can’t find your phone.  Another sign is if you are compelled to check your phone within minutes of the time you have just checked it.  This can also lead to fear of missing out on something if you don’t check a post, story, or video when posted right away.  If after being on social media you feel depressed, anxious, or sad it may be time for a detox.  If you are overly focused on how many “likes” you are getting on social media apps may also be a sign you may benefit from a digital detox.  Other signs are if you are staying up late or getting up early to be on the phone or if you have trouble concentrating if you can’t check your phone. 

Digital Detox Benefits

So now you know if you need a digital detox, but why would you want to?  There are lots of benefits people use digital detoxing for.  One of them being to improve their mental health.  Digital detoxing can also help you live in the moment and connect with the friends and family that are around you.  It can help you relieve stress that is caused by your technology.  As well as enhance your sleep.  For some people digital detoxing can help you develop a healthy work/life balance.  With social media it can be so easy to start comparing yourself to strangers, digital detoxing can help you focus on your own life without comparing yourself to strangers.  It can also help you to relieve fear you have of missing out on what other people on the internet are doing.  Digital detoxing can also help boost your productivity.  It can be so easy to mindlessly scroll for hours on end without realizing how quickly time is going by.

Getting Started On A Digital Detox

When starting out with your digital detox, be reasonable in what you are wanting to achieve.  Complete no technology may not be feasible.  So don’t set yourself up for failure right away.  Be mindful of how and when you are using your phone.  When you pick up your phone ask yourself why you are getting on it:  Is it to mindlessly scroll?  To check if someone on social media has posted something?  Or do you really need to call or text a friend to check in with them. 

Set time boundaries.  This can be setting no technology during dinner time, bedtime, when you are doing a hobby or out with friends or family.  Start small and set a fifteen minute break of no technology one day, and as the days go by increase your time.  If you have trouble just setting time boundaries, set location boundaries as well.  This can mean to leave your phone in a different room while you are eating dinner.  Or no phones at the dinner table at all.  Some families have a room that is just for toys, or board games with no television or other electronics.  When out with friends keep your phone in your purse, or jacket pocket so that you aren’t tempted to look at it. 

Learn what apps are toxic to you.  Toxic meaning that they cause you to feel sad, anxious, or stressed after being on them.  This could be a social media site, or even after scrolling through a news site.  Assess how you feel after using each app so you know what may need to be cut down on time or cut out completely.  If someone on social media that you follow causes you to have anger, or feel stressed, unfollow them or block them.  Remove yourself from seeing their feeds and posts.  You can also turn off push notifications for certain apps.  This will stop your phone from buzzing or lighting up if someone posts something new.  You won’t be tempted to have to check right away if your phone isn’t buzzing every time a notification goes off. 

There are apps you can download to help track your usage.  When you decide to detox make sure you tell your close friends and family, so they don’t worry if you don’t respond to them.  Telling people can also help hold you accountable as well as let others know to try and not bother you during that time.  Keep busy during your first few times of detoxing so you don’t dwell on not having your phone or yearn to check what is going on.  Technology free family time is important as well.  Getting outside with your family or sitting and playing a board game together can help you all be in the present and connect. 

Learning when is the right time to step away from your technology and connect with the moment is important for everyone.  Knowing how to step away from your technology and phones, can help you improve your mental health, physical health, and help your body become less addicted to the internet and devices. 

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