Have you ever found yourself randomly pulling your phone out of your bag or pocket to check your newsfeed? Then to check it again about two minutes later and wondering why on earth did you just do that? This seems like a digital dependency and maybe it’s time for a digital detox! Our lives today are going at such a fast pace that it is feels like we are drowning in information, an overload in information can just do that “overload” our systems and often leave us exhausted from constantly “connecting” with people via social media, email and speaking on our mobile phones.
Why do you need a digital detox?
Having to be on your mobile phone or on your iPad constantly can leave not only your social life and relationships in ruin but it can affect your judgement of reality. Often we find ourselves so pre-occupied with finding out about what other people are doing with their lives we forget that we spend far too much time chasing up mostly irrelevant information, that almost always doesn’t apply to you – and most of this stuff is extremely negative and does not help with improving your self esteem and self worth one bit. I found that escaping from the news or what other people are doing helps me to focus on the things that I need to do to get my goals accomplished, work more efficiently and live my dreams day in and day out. Incessantly checking updates via social media has had us more and more disconnected with ourselves and it is about time we started to re-connect.
What are the benefits of a digital detox?
The benefits of starting a digital detox are as follows:
- Frees up time: We spend so much of our time checking emails, reading emails, replying to emails, checking updates, tweeting, texting, commenting and liking. Imagine how much time this equates to per week. According to Nielsen, a study conducted in 2013 states that most Americans spend around 23 hours of their time doing exactly this! Almost an entire day a week spent on irrelevant and non-progressive tasks. An entire day that you will never get back!
- Reduces stress: Often we see news about different things via social media that we do not want to see. We get angry over nothing and then later wonder why were so angry about the whole situation, it doesn’t even relate to you in the first place. Emails always pop up and can seem overwhelming and just coping with the huge inflow of emails is incredibly stressful. Stress plays a major role in promoting all sorts of ailments, diseases and shortens your life span. So if you want to stress less – just unplug, even if it is for a little while.
- Allow you to reboot: This aspect of a digital detox is so important. Rebooting or recharging your batteries gives you more drive, more focus to get things that you have been putting off for a while done in no time. Rebooting allows you to step back from your day to day and gives a new perspective on life.
- Lessens stress on the body: There is without a doubt a huge risk when it comes to RSI (repetitive stress injuries), we are constantly whipping out our mobile phones and staring at them with our backs, shoulders and necks hunched over and always looking downwards. This act repeated time after time has consequences on the neck, shoulders, back and also a role to play with eye stress, leading to headaches and migraines. Radiation and EMF (electro magnetic fields) have an unseen effect on the body, and just reducing yourself to exposure for even a short period of time is beneficial.
- Increases Positive thinking: The interwebs has a strange way of sucking us all in, before we know it we are reading articles about devastation caused a world away that we don’t have any control of. We read these things and our sub-conscious reacts to the information we consume. By cutting out all of the death, destruction and stupidity we begin to regain our faith in our lives and live less in fear, worry and paranoia.
How long should I detox?
Detoxing can be an on-going thing, if it just means using your digital devices and social pages less per week and focusing your time and energy working on bettering yourself, than that is a great start. If you are a person that lives by the rule of “All in or All Out” then taking a week off would be perfect to help you reboot yourself. Even turning off everything for the weekend does a world of good. The trick is to incorporate the below steps into everyday life to see continuous and sustainable results.
6 steps to unplug in the digital age and reconnect with yourself Below are 6 steps to unplug from your busy digital lifestyle:
- Tell people you are unplugging: Tell your friends and family that you won’t be checking your social pages, responding to texts or emails and if there is something of urgency to contact you via a landline number (if you still have one that is).
- Turn off your devices during meal times: This means every possible digital device you own. Eat with peace and enjoy your food, take in the company of good people rather than the company of your newsfeed!
- Allocate time for emails: This might be a huge risk, but allocating or batching time for emails allows you to focus on what needs to be done immediately. Focus on the tasks that matter the most, not the tasks that take up too much time and amount to nothing – thank you Tim Ferris, check out The 4-Hour Workweek.
- Purchase an alarm clock: Yes an alarm clock, this is so that you don’t use your phone as your wakeup call in the mornings. This also ensures that you don’t pick up your phone first thing in the morning and be tempted into checking your newsfeed, emails or twitter feed. This way an alarm clock allows you to get up immediately and go for that run that you have wanted to do for a while or the yoga session you have missed with your friends.
- Remove your TV, laptop or PC from your room: Simple, get rid of them. Keep your room available for sleeping and sex! Leave all the distractions in another room all together. This helps you regain a good quality of sleep. Being addicted to digital devices and social media you tend to check your emails, newsfeed or tweets before bed which sends your brain into over-drive.
- Allocate your digital time: Allocate a time slot where you can read emails or check your social pages, preferably not as soon as you wake up or not before bed. Allow an hour a day to do this. This is only after you have done your initial digital detox.
How to spend your digital free time effectively
So now you have all this free time that you didn’t have before, how can you spend the time wisely? Easy!
- Work on yourself: This means putting in time to better yourself. This could be going for a jog in the morning or getting up and going to yoga or a gym session. Work on yourself so that you can improve all aspects of your life.
- Read: Read as much as possible. And no, this doesn’t mean turning on your computer and reading articles on blogs. Buy an interesting book that you have wanted to buy for a long time or better yet, pick up a book that you have wanted to read but didn’t have the time to read it. Read the book outside on the grass in the sun and with your shoes off – read more about earthing and grounding here.
- Meditate: Meditation is a great tool to incorporate when you are on a digital detox. Meditation allows you to calm your mind from incessant thinking and worrying, allowing you to live in the moment. Not to mention that meditation has amazing physical and mental benefits too.
- Go for a walk: Go for a walk and take in your local area, be sure to look at the world like a child and find how utterly amazing our planet really is. If you live near a body of water, go for a visit and take in all the surroundings.
- Do something you haven’t done in a while: Start doing something that takes your mind off things, like a hobby which you use to love.
- Learn a new skill: Go for an hour of guitar lessons perhaps or take a pottery class, there are numerous ways to spend an hour of your time that will help you tenfold.
- Hang out with friends: It’s time to actually hang out with friends in real life – not via a screen of your preference.
If you are still having trouble digitally detoxing – try these tips
Still finding it hard to unplug? Drastic calls for drastic measures.
- Take a long drive to the country: Go and visit an old aunt or grandparent. Leave all your digital devices back at home.
- Password change: Get a loved one to change all the passwords on your devices and social accounts. But make sure they have written down the password and kept in a safe place where your sticky fingers can’t find it.
- Turn the internet off: Unplug your modem and router combo and put it away for safe keeping. This ensures that if you do have all your devices still available to you that you realise that the internet hasn’t been turned on – which in most cases imprints the realisation that you really can’t do a lot without the internet.
- Sell all your stuff: If all of the aforementioned is still not helping you then you need to sell your stuff and use the money to buy you a ticket to somewhere amazing that you wanted to visit for a long while.
So, hopefully I have helped you decide how and why you should do a digital detox but it’s entirely up to you to take action on the information you have just learned. Start small first, and then work your way up.
To your health and wellness!
Photo Credit: pmquan