So Why would we need a digital detox?
Are you stressed, anxious, feeling constantly on edge; always checking social media pages, worrying about people’s comments, feedback, thumbs up and likes? If the answer is Yes, then you’d probably benefit from a Digital Detox. It needn’t be a total cold turkey give it up completely kind of Detox; a conscious “I’m going to switch off for 30 minutes a day / week” would be a start, giving you complete me time to relax, unwind and sooth your tired mind. A digital detox of any kind is incredibly good for your mental wellness.
We are continually surrounded by gadgets, smartphones, tablets and more recently by smart hubs; all of which are an intrusion mentally and physically.
More and more we are feeling the pressures of being constantly connected and often don’t realise the adverse effect its having on us. It’s becoming harder and harder to find time for relaxation because we’re too easy to contact. How many times have you sat down for a quiet five minutes only to be disturbed by your smartphone; whether it’s a call coming in or the constant whooshes and bleeps as social media updates and emails fly in, it’s all a disturbance. A disturbance that’s putting us on edge all the time as we juggle with balancing life against the constant connective world we live in. With the rise of ‘The internet of Things’ it is becoming more and more difficult to escape connectivity.
According to the Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey conducted last year 35 per cent of us check our phone within five minutes of waking up in the morning, while 70 per cent use phones during mealtimes with family and friends.
Take your Digital Detox with Friends or Family
If you are thinking of taking a digital detox, let your friends and family know so that they don’t worry if you suddenly disappear off the scene for a while or don’t engage with them so often. They’ll be able to help you and may even want to join in.
Doing it as a family or as a group is a great way to detox, that way you are less likely to feel isolated. You can organise group activities and days out where you can re-engage with each other without the need for technology. It’s a great way of experiencing the outdoors and natural environments, cleansing and clearing the mind and improving mindfulness.
If we do it regularly it becomes easier and helps us develop our down time which in turn helps us to deal with our work life balance more readily.
Monitor and limit your use of Tech
Smartphones and tablets are never far away these day but they’re having a profound effect on our mental health and general well-being.
Both android and Apple have inbuilt apps that will tell you how much time you screen time you’ve been using. Apple’s Screen Time app is particularly good as it enables you to set limits. If you take a look at your usage you’ll probably be quite surprised at just how much you do use it, and the social media side of the statistics are likely to be quite high.
Blue Light is affecting our sleep patterns
Many of the connected devices like TVs, Smartphones, Tablets and Gaming devices work off of LEDs which emit blue light, and this light is tricking our brains into thinking its daylight when it isn’t. Scrolling through our mobile phones late at night catching up on the day’s events, or playing one last game on our X-Box is sending our brains into overdrive, preventing us from sleeping due to the blue light’s effects on our melatonin levels along with adverse mental stimulation.
Mental Health is suffering due to Social Media Pressures
The whole point of social media is that of enjoying the companionship of others; to feel friendly sociable and connected, it should stop you from feeling isolated. But how many of us find it stressful, conjuring up unrealistic expectations of how you should look and feel when we see these so-called perfect people with their perfect lifestyles. We all know that the camera lies and yet we still believe what we are seeing.
Take a Social Spring Clean
Not only is social media intrusive but it also takes up a huge amount of our time; time when we could be out and about enjoying the fresh air, taking a walk or exercising; even just plain sitting down and reading a book or meditating.
Social Spring Clean Plan
Whether you’re looking at making a full social spring clean or just want to cut down and improve the experience a little, here are some things you could think about
- Take a look at your social media accounts and delete or stop following any that no longer make you feel good. Maybe start following some inspirational ones instead.
- Monitor when you use it and set yourself a specific time of the day to take a look and catch up with what’s happening.
- Don’t check it first thing in the morning, you’re opening yourself right up for negative feelings for the rest of the day.
- Go without it once in a while and take a whole day off. You’ll soon realise you may have missed a few things but its nothing you can’t catch up with or reconnect with later.
- Turn off push notifications and instant updates. They’re intrusive and disruptive causing us to lose focus on what we’re doing; turn them off and you’ll be more productive.