What is a digital detox?
The buzz phrase of 2019, this year is all about looking after both our bodies and minds and being a little more selfish in the best way. A digital detox is when someone makes a conscious effort to spend less time looking at screens! It may sound easy, but actually, many of us are more reliant and attached to our devices than we might think! So today, we’re here to tell you how and exactly just why you NEED to give it a go!
How can I start my digital detox?
First things first let’s get one thing straight! No one is telling you to throw your phone in a bin and begin an off-grid lifestyle. Rather the contrary technology is an important way of staying connected with loved ones and finding out important and valuable knowledge which shapes our lives…in moderation!
Small changes can go a far way, here’s a couple of them:
Most smartphones now have inbuilt functions which allow you to set time limits on certain apps of your choice, USE THIS! I personally have had limits on all my Social Networking Apps for about 6 months now and my timer, set at 40 minutes per day, reminds me when I am close to reaching my limit for the day. I can, of course, ignore my limit for the day but even if I do that, the reminder still makes me conscious of how much time I’m spending on my phone and to go and do something else to entertain myself (or to study a little harder!).
It’s a gift believe us! There’s nothing better than being able to disconnect from the world for a little while whilst you get on with your day to day tasks, even when your phone is on you’re a lot less likely to pick it up every few minutes if there are no notifications. Putting your phone on flight mode, even only a little per day is a great starting tool in achieving less screen time.
Try deleting certain Apps and integrating others more. Some social network or consumer based apps can easily take up a lot of scrolling time and actually don’t add that much to your daily routine. Deleting these Apps may sound a little extreme but the chances are after a few days you won’t miss them as much as you thought you would and you’ll forget about them altogether! Think about the Apps on your phone or available to you which add value and can translate into achieving other goals such as audiobooks, podcasts or SPRT which connects you with other people and sports events to get you up and active.
What are the benefits of taking some time out?
There are many reasons why looking up from your screen is beneficial for your mind, body and people around you but here are the most important ones which we believe would be able to convince anyone to swap their screen for some social time!
Did you know the constant stream of information your phone provides you is not a completely positive thing? Well, actually the information you are fed by your devices, especially when using the internet can overload your brain and make it incredibly difficult for you to absorb new information you need during the day or are having to process at work or whilst studying. Furthermore, now that phones especially are second nature to most of us we actually reach for our devices just as a reflex, even when we don’t necessarily need them or without even a notification having popped up. One study showed that the average person picks up their phone every 8 minutes, this level of interruption whilst trying to complete any task is a huge obstacle and not many of us are aware of it. There’s a lot to be said for turning your phone onto flight-mode, or even better, turning it off whilst trying to focus.
2. Better Sleep
In our article on how to make the best of your mornings, we briefly mentioned the effects of phone screens before bed but it’s so important we wanted to repeat it again! Time off our devices before sleep calms down the brain and body after a busy day and allows us to fall asleep quicker and even sleep deeper. Make sure in the few hours before bed you’ve got the nighttime setting on your phone, making it emit a softer, yellow light rather than the blue toned one it displays during the day to wind down and turn it off altogether a minimum of around 40 minutes before you are wanting to get to sleep.
3. New Hobbies!
Ever wondered what you could do with all the time you spend on your phone? Well, what about reading that book you’ve been meaning to get round to for ages? Catching up with family or leaning that instrument you’ve been putting off practicing? Or even finding time for that workout that seemed so impossible to fit into your schedule before?! Whatever it is, time is precious so surely putting down your phone for a while is an easy sacrifice to achieve something you’ve been wanting to start doing for a while…
4. Self Care
There’s nothing more important than taking care of our minds, and just as you’d brush your teeth before going to bed, we should all take a moment to think about building in a little mindfull-ness to our bedtime routines. Because of the busy world we all live in unfortunately it’s natural for our bodies to experience an amount of stress, however, this can easily be exacerbated by the amount of time we spend online. The role of social media has become so all-consuming that most of us spend a lot of time subconsciously comparing ourselves to others or content online. It’s vital to take some time out of the online world and to focus on ourselves. So ditch the phone and do something for yourselves instead.
5. Being Present
This is probably one of the most important benefits on this whole list. There is a lot to be said for reflecting on the world around us and being more aware. This could be by talking more with those around us to develop our relationships and connections with others or appreciating the world around us by going for a walk or run outside. The sense of perspective that being more present can give you is priceless and should not be taken for granted. See what it can do for you by leaving your phone in a drawer for an hour today.
Still hanging on to that Nokia 3310 or an Instagram addict?
Whatever your situation and however much you use your devices, do a little experiment with yourselves today and see what you can achieve or how you can feel by making an active effort to have some time away from your screens!