We all know how it feels to veg out on the couch after a long day of work, binge-watching Netflix, and scrolling through Instagram. But we don’t usually think about the impact our “digital habits” are having on our mental health.
Though technology is meant to make our lives easier, that’s not always the case. A study published in Computers in Human Behavior found that people who watched TV or read on digital devices before bed actually had lower quality sleep than those who didn’t. And another study published in Preventive Medicine Reports revealed that using a smartphone for two hours a day was enough to increase participants’ depression and anxiety levels.
So, it might be time for a break from your devices — even if it’s just for a few days.
What is a digital detox?
Digital Detox isn’t just about staying away from your phone – it’s about staying away from anything that has a screen. This means no emails, no social media, no texting, no video games, and no TV. It’s all about getting back to basics and spending time doing things that don’t involve screens.
This is hard because these devices are so ingrained in our daily lives. They’re how we communicate with others and how we stay informed about what’s going on in the world. It’s hard to imagine life without them. But then again, it’s hard to imagine life without your car, too. Yet you can survive without a car.
Reasons You Should Try a Digital Detox:
Digital detoxes help us unplug and recharge. Being “always-on” is exhausting. When you’re constantly plugged in, you’re always being bombarded with information and things to do. It’s exhausting! A digital detox gives our brains a chance to rest and recharge so we have the energy we need for our work, our families, and the other things we love.
Why is digital detox important?
Digital detox can help you to experience life in a way that’s not filtered through a screen. Imagine seeing a sunset without capturing it on your phone; experiencing new places without checking in on Facebook; taking a walk through the woods without posting photos. These are experiences that you will only get if you are fully present in the moment.
Digital detox can be a powerful tool in managing stress and anxiety because it removes some of the external triggers for these emotions and gives you space to reflect on what causes them. Without the constant pinging of notifications or an unending stream of news headlines to process, digital detox allows you to focus on your breathing and shift your attention to things that are immediately in front of you like the people you’re with, the food you’re eating or the environment around you.
Benefits of digital detox
Studies show that digital detox can:
Increase sleep quality
Lower blood pressure
Improve productivity (at work or school)
Improve your relationships with friends and family
How to start your first digital detox
If you are thinking about having a digital detox, there are a few things you should consider before setting out on your journey.
First, it is vital to find out what the cause of your problems is. Are you finding yourself scrolling through TikTok for hours on end? Or are you checking the email every 15 minutes? If you own a smartphone, you can easily access your screen time report in the settings to see the real numbers.
Second, set up goals. If you want to go on a digital detox, it is important to know what you are doing it for. Do you want to get more done in less time? Do you want to make more money in your business? Or do you simply want to take a break from all the notifications, messages, and emails?
Third, plan your time commitment. You have probably heard that even small changes can have a huge impact on your life if they are regular. So just like with exercise and nutrition: start small and build up the habit slowly.
Fourth, reward yourself. As with any other change in your life, it is important that you find incentives in order to keep going on the path of change. Maybe have a day off every week where you check your phone in the evening or something else that makes sense to you but without losing sight of why you started this.
If you enjoyed reading this article, check out 4 ways to reduce stress.