A digital Detox? Is that really a thing?
A digital detox is a new phrase describing a period when a person voluntarily refrains from using digital devices such as a computer, smartphones, tablets, U tube streaming and social media platforms. The motivation behind the process may include concern over developing additive behaviour that requires you to stay connected all the time. You may choose a digital detox to reduce the stress and anxiety associated with the overuse of technology and to help you better refocus your energy toward in-person social interactions.
On some level, all of us are dependent on our phones and digital devices. The digital platform has enabled us to connect with family and friends worldwide. It provides numerous benefits for enhancing our daily life, from shopping to entertainment, research, education, etc. Most of us cannot function or work without the connection to digital devices, but when is it enough, and how can we disconnect from a world we depend on for everyday life?
When has it become too much?
- If your work day is done, but you cannot disconnect for personal time
- When you find yourself endlessly scrolling social media platforms but rarely engage
- If you find yourself overly engrossed in the portrayed lives of others on social media and not living your own life
- It may be time to disconnect as much as possible if you have developed the “fear of missing out” FOMO syndrome and need to connect to be in the know.
- You find yourself obsessed with how many people have liked or commented on your social media posts
- If you become more isolated and pull away from in-person social interactions and opt for online interactions instead
You know when enough is enough when digital technology consumes too much of your thoughts and conditions how you behave towards yourself or others. You will know you need to pull back when it interferes with your life and becomes an obsession beyond its benefits.
How can you disconnect but yet stay connected?
The reality is that our world today does not lend itself to completely disconnecting from technology. But you can take a few steps to scale things back.
- Examine your use of digital technology; what makes you feel worse or stressed?
- It may be hard to avoid computer screens all day but try taking a break whenever possible during your work day, eating away from your desk and setting a timer to walk away for a few minutes every couple of hours.
- When you are done with work, shut it down. It is very easy to get addicted to working, especially if we have convinced ourselves that it cannot get done without you. Yes, it can, and yes, it will. Maybe differently, but it will get done. You work when you are paid; when the pay stops, you shut it down. It may take time to retrain yourself to shut it off at the end of your work day. So, find other things to fill in the gap for a while. Spend more time with family and friends, projects around the house, hobbies, etc. Try to fill the new downtime with more digital time.
- Schedule or limit your time with your digital technology by adjusting your phone settings to limit the use of certain apps.
- If you are going to surf and scroll social media, limit how long you do this. And when scrolling, attempt to connect with your social media group. The point of social media is to stay connected. Staying in the background only increases your anxiety and potential loneliness. If you do not want to interact, then disconnect entirely rather than get caught up in the perceived happy lives you see when only scrolling
- Unless there is an emergency reason, keep your phone on all the time. Turn it off at night or set up “ do not disturb” messages to silence all alerts, notifications and calls.
- Create areas or situations where no phones are allowed. For example, you may not permit them to be used at bedtime, from the dinner table, or in the company of friends and family. Engage in the moment before you.
- Set the ring tone for people in your life that may require immediate action from you, and when you are in a no-phone area, your stress of missing their call and responding to their needs is diminished
- Turn off notifications or reduce which apps you are notified on. Do you need to know every time a person responds to your social media posts or posts something of their own? The continuing chimes and dings of every notification, from texts to social media to emails, can keep you on edge and create an unhealthy need to immediately check in on what you may have missed. If the situation is urgent, your family and friends will know how to find you
Tips for your digital detox success
- Let your friends and family know you are on a digital detox and ask them to help support your process
- Encourage family and friends to join you in a no-phones policy when you are together
- Fill the time you usually would reach for the phone with other things that you find enjoyment with
- Try physically removing yourself from technology, go for a walk, meet up with a friend
- Do not wake up to your phone. It is an instant reminder to check on what you missed while asleep.
Doing a digital detox is about taking charge of how you spend your time and energy and what you choose to give your attention to. It may help you realize what you want more or less of in your life and help you break unhealthy habits, and create new, more meaningful ones.
Give Yourself Permission to Breathe
Remember to breathe!
Wherever you are in your life, we hope you give yourself permission to breathe. We hope that you take time every day to take stock of all the amazing parts of yourself, and you check personal criticism at the door.
The world we live in today is not easy; demands and stresses are bearing down on us every day. Our hope for you is that in a world that is always rushing, you can find a moment of stillness in your life to just be in the moment. Whatever that moment is.
If you feel grief, give yourself permission to feel it. If you feel tired, give yourself permission to take a rest. If you feel joy, then allow yourself to celebrate happiness. If you are not sure what you are feeling, release the pressure of trying to define the feelings and just be in the moment
Whatever happened today, this week or this month, give yourself “Permission to Breathe
- To remember
- To honour
- To celebrate
- To nurture
- To practice thankfulness
- To laugh
- To cry
- To Breathe