To stay sane in today’s hyper-connected world, performing Digital Detox can be a recommended self-care experiment. Taking a break from technologies not only saves time, but also has real benefits for cognitive abilities. The level of connectedness certainly has benefits as well – it’s easy to stay in touch with friends and family. Being socially active and multitasking can also be easier as a result. However, there are also some pretty serious drawbacks associated with such a lifestyle. Fortunately, there are options for limiting screen time as well as lifestyle changes that can have a positive impact on the mind and body. Here are some ideas for a so-called digital detox that can relieve the pressure of being constantly connected to electronic devices.
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Good reasons for Digital Detox as a fresh start in life
Constantly staring at electronic screens may be enjoyable and interesting in many cases, but such behavior can also be addictive. In addition, there are potentially negative physical effects of always being online, ranging from neck pain and wrinkles to increased blood pressure. But is it even necessary to say goodbye to digital devices completely? The simple answer is “no,” as this doesn’t even seem practical these days. Instead, you can simply limit your use of technology and be more casual about it. Moreover, you don’t have to completely part with your cell phone or television, but you can simply have a healthier relationship with the devices.
So, you can try yourself to fill the time spent on the TV or computer with other activities. Accordingly, Digital Detox can help improve the quality of sleep, interpersonal relationships, as well as overall mood. The definition of a digital detox is a break from using electronic devices or certain media for a period of a few days to several months. But the specifics vary from person to person. Things people avoid during a digital detox include:
- Checking email
- Playing video games
- Scrolling social media
- Using smartphones or tablets
- Watching news or other television shows
Beneficial lifestyle change by giving up digital media
Detoxing digitally for a while can be a great way to find out if technology is keeping you from living your best life. The results of switching off can be far-reaching – from being more productive at work to deepening your relationships with family and friends. With frequent beeps and push notifications on your electronics, it’s easy to get distracted from what’s going on around you. During Digital Detox, you may also find that you become more aware of your immediate surroundings. This allows your brain to focus much better on daily tasks.
In addition, too much information can cause enormous stress for some people. So if you reduce your consumption of news, you can start doing something relaxing to feel calmer. Eliminating digital distractions also creates more opportunities to pay attention to those around you. For example, when you don’t have devices nearby at dinner, you naturally interact and connect more with your family. Or if you don’t have your nose buried in your smartphone, there’s a good chance you’ll meet someone new in the checkout line. If you make texting taboo, you’ll be more likely to reach for your phone to chat with a friend.
When should you stop using digital devices?
So you’re wondering if you actually need Digital Detox? If you experience any of the following when using electronic media, it’s a sign that you may need to disconnect:
- Depressed mood
- Increased irritability, frustration or anger
- Feeling unsafe
- Loss of sleep or interrupted sleep
- Feeling obligated to consume, respond, react, or check in
You should also be careful about how your use of digital media affects other areas of your life. If you’re ignoring responsibilities at home or work because of the amount of time you spend online, consider a digital detox. Another red flag is if you lose interest in being social in person because you’d rather just connect with people online. But what’s the best way to make such life changes? The following steps might help you get started with an analog lifestyle.
Guide to digital detox through sustainable habit change.
First, determine the problem. Are you always connected to your smartphone and stressing out about messages? Are you spending too much time on social media? Figure out what activities you want to reduce or eliminate. Set a goal based on whether you want to reduce or eliminate the use of a particular device or type of media. Make it specific. All day or only at certain times? For example, you might decide to spend just 15 minutes a day on social media, move your phone to another room at night, or make Sunday a tech-free day. So, if you’re ready to start a digital detox, you can follow these steps:
- Turn off push notifications – Getting constant updates about what’s happening in the world is informative, but it can also be distracting. If you get interrupted five times in half an hour, you’re never really focused during that time. A simple solution is to turn off as many notifications as you can live without.
- Set devices analog – One reason technology is so enticing these days is that it’s true to life. Be retro and use your devices analog. For example, many smartphones allow you to change the settings so the screen is grayscale.
- Rediscover paper – Reading a book can feel more satisfying than doing so on a tablet. Not only do books offer fewer distractions, but reading on paper can be more efficient and deliberate than reading on a screen. Also, consider getting news from a newspaper.
- Limit screen time – Scrolling, when combined with multitasking, can impair brain function. When you’re focused on a task and distracted, it takes a few minutes for the brain to recalibrate. So make it a habit to stare at fewer monitors.
Set yourself up for lifestyle change
It takes time to break strong digital habits. Therefore, plan on at least two weeks. You should get to the point where it feels like you have broken the habit. In addition, it is recommended to have yourself or a partner, family member or close friend to encourage you and keep you accountable. Share your goals with people who support you. You can even ask them for ideas on how to stop your goal-directed behavior. A few days after you begin, review how Digital Detox is going for you. Beware of swapping one digital habit for another. For example, if you’re spending more time on Instagram after quitting Facebook, you may need to consider removing social media entirely.
Also, follow the 20-20-20 rule to avoid eyestrain . After looking at a screen for 20 minutes, you should look at a distant object for 20 seconds. While doing this, you should also remember to blink more often. To avoid bending your neck, hold your phone higher so you can look at it directly and avoid inflammation, irritation and pain. To avoid thumb pain, mix up the way you type by using different fingers. Above all, remember to take frequent breaks from your phone.
So, Digital Detox is about taking responsibility for how you spend your time and energy and where you focus your attention. This will help you identify what you want more of or less of, so you break unhelpful habits and create new, more meaningful lifestyle changes.