Why You Should Digital Detox
How many of us spend an enormous amount of time online, checking our phones, and watching TV? I know I’m guilty of doing all those things for both business and pleasure. But there is such a thing as a digital overload and it can really fry your brain if you’re not careful!
That’s why in this writer wellness post I’m exploring digital detox. As writers, we spend even more time than the average person in front of a screen. Stepping away to recharge is helpful to maintaining our creative energy.
What Is a Digital Detox?
A digital detox simply means taking a certain amount of time each day to unplug and not use any electronics. This means no internet, no TV, and definitely no phone. Smartphones are great in some ways but the hours of scrolling on a tiny screen actually isn’t healthy for our minds.
Why Digital Detox Matters
Many experts believe in a connection between behavioral problems and device overuse. Now, with Meta becoming a new addiction it’s becoming something of a Black Mirror episode or Ready Player One. People are logging into virtual worlds and zoning out from reality which can lead to withdrawing socially with psychological and even physical problems.
A digital detox can offset these issues by taking time in the day to focus on real-life social interactions without the distractions of tech. Read on to find out how to do a digital detox.
Focus on real-life social interactions without distractions.
How to Do a Digital Detox
I’m not about to suggest a full-on digital fasting but maybe just an intermittent fasting to start. Only you know the best way to integrate a digital detox into your daily routine.
An example might be that on the weekend, you stash your phone and head outside for a hike, a walk in the park, or a swim in the ocean. Meet with a friend for coffee but put the devices away and really be present in the moment. You’d be surprised what you’re missing with your head buried in a phone all day.
I remember when I was in Venice, Italy on the gondola rides and the people sharing the boat with me seemed more interested in their phones than the amazing experience we were having. That’s sad.
When they say “pictures of it didn’t happen” well, I’d rather have the pictures in my head than worry about the ones that are going to get me likes or whatever. Many of my best memories I don’t have pictures of but I can recall every second of the moment it happened because I was present.
Take a Realistic Approach
Realistically, some of us are tethered to our phones for work and family. If you can’t go a full day without your phone, at least schedule some time to step away from it.
I remember when I was a personal trainer watching people in the gym sitting on their phones instead of engaging in the workout. That’s silly. If you can’t spare a half-hour to get in a proper workout then your priorities need to be shifted.
Why? Because taking care of yourself first is not a crime. In fact, it is warranted that you allow for a complete disconnection now and again to recharge your own batteries before plugging your tech back in.
Setting boundaries could be the answer for busy professionals. Instead of being on-call 24/7 there needs to be a buffer zone where you aren’t glued to your device. You can set up boundaries to make sure certain activities or times of day are free of distractions.
Times to limit your digital device use:
Spending time with friends or family
The suggestions here show that "me time" is a good reason to have boundaries in place for digital distractions. Research has shown that limiting social media usage improves mood and decreases the symptoms of depression or loneliness that can be caused by FOMO (fear of missing out). Remember too that people only post their best moments on social media. No one sees the real life chaos going on behind the capture of that perfect picture so don't do comparisons.
Many people are now understanding the impact of social media on their mental health and taking time away. It's alright to take a break from social media for a day, week, or even a few months. You're not going to lose your place, but you may lose your mind if you're obsessed with what's going on in the digital world.
Restricting the use of tech before bed is also very important. I'm guilty of sleeping with the TV on which causes poor sleep patterns. Inadequate sleep can cause sluggishness throughout the day and also impacts your overall health by increasing cortisol levels. So, skip playing on your phone, checking emails, or watching TV right before bed.
Digital Detox Tips
Find ways to stay distracted
Delete social media apps from your phone
Power off your phone
Start by giving up your device for a short period of time, then extend it
Make It Work for You
However you implement a digital detox, make it work for your schedule and lifestyle. Just like any type of change, it will take time to get used to not being tethered to your device. Even though it might be hard to give up at first, in the end you'll find a much richer life by not being chained to digital devices.
Signs You Might Need a Digital Detox
You feel anxious or stressed out if you can't find your phone
You feel compelled to check your phone every few minutes
You feel depressed, anxious, or angry after spending time on social media
You are preoccupied with the like, comment, or re-share counts on your social posts
You’re afraid that you'll miss something if you don't keep checking your device
You often find yourself staying up late or getting up early to play on your phone
You have trouble concentrating on one thing without having to check your phone
Cynthia writes fantasy fiction about outcast and anti-heroes overcoming the odds. Her fantasy crime fighters come in the form of superheroes, vigilantes, and bounty hunters with an edge. Cyn is also a freelance content writer and former fitness competitor.