No matter how you think about this, the average person spends over four hours a day on their phones. That’s the equivalent of a little over 60 days glued to your phone each year. Of course, taking a break from social media or your phone is one thing. But, with most of us working on computers, being bombarded with TV shows every day, and books being read on our tablets, it seems that almost 24 hours of our days are spent on the digital world. Is it time to break up?
What’s a Digital Detox?
We’ve heard about the benefits of disconnecting from social media, which is usually considered part of the digital detox. However, a digital detox is when we decide to quit or suspend the use of digital equipment, which includes our phones, TVs, tablets, fitness trackers, laptops, and so on.
The idea behind a digital detox is to avoid getting addicted or obsessed with our digital devices and to take time for ourselves by engaging in the physical world.
Why You Should Try a Digital Detox
Even those who believe they have a healthy relationship with the digital world are still regularly exposed to media. According to this study, the average US adult spends about 11 hours each day exposed to media. While digital addiction is not a recognized disorder, it’s still a behavioral addiction that leads to detrimental psychological and physical issues.
It’s Stressing You Out
While technology was meant to make our lives easier, it’s adding unnecessary stress instead. In the US, around 18% of adults using technology recognize it as a source of stress in their life. In Sweden, one study found a connection between heavy technology-users and sleeping problems, increased levels of stress, and depression symptoms.
It’s Messing Up Your Sleep
By now, you should know that using your smartphone at bedtime is terrible for your sleep. Various studies have found a connection between digital use and disrupted sleeping patterns. This study found that children who use digital devices had worse and less sleep. Another study also found that checking your social media account when you’re in bed increases insomnia, anxiety, and promotes shorter sleep duration.
It’s Impacting Your Mental Health
Media is meant to give the appearance of perfection. Ads are photoshopped, photoshoots have the perfect lighting; vacations are meant to look like a dream. This exposure can create issues with our self-image. One study found that the use of technology increased the risk of mental health issues among teenagers, increasing their risk of ADHD. Another study also linked the use of feelings of loneliness and depression.
How to Do a Digital Detox
If everything signals that you need a digital detox, take charge. A digital detox can help you reconnect with yourself and others and learn healthier habits to manage your digital exposure. Keep these tips in mind:
- Be realistic – Choose the devices you’re willing to detach from and choose the length of time you’re eager to commit to.
- Set limits – If you cannot disconnect fully, set limits to when you’re not allowed to use your phone or digital devices. For example, when you’re eating, when you wake up, and when you’re in bed.
- Remove distractions – Turn off all your notifications for social media and email. Set aside a certain amount of time per day to respond to emails and catch up, 20 minutes should be enough.
A Note from GR8NESS
To make this work, the detox needs to adapt to your lifestyle. Let your friends and family know about your intentions to go on a detox. Try to schedule the detox during a time when you know you’ll have plenty of activities to stay distracted. Keep scheduling digital breaks until you’re able to create healthier habits towards your digital use.