Given how much we rely on our screens and devices to work, relax and connect, doing a digital detox could seem like a bit of a stretch. But is it something you can afford not to try? Controversial or transformative, embracing a digital detox is definitely being talked about right now, Forbes even included it in their top ten wellness trends for 2021 and there is even an increase in ‘unplugging’ incentives like getting paid to explore the National Parks without Instagram. Perhaps the main reason for this is that more and more people are recognizing the negative impacts of our digital existence. The toll of quarantine, the rise of remote working, and the separation of families and friends means we rely on our phones, tablets, and laptops more than ever before. That is why a lot of experts are suggesting we reduce our URL schedule for a little more IRL experiences. So how can you include a little digital detox in your life?
Why you Should Consider a Digital Detox
Simply put – because you probably need it. A recent study showed that three-quarters of Americans would say they are addicted to their phones, which they check on an average of 160 times a day, and that they consume an average of nearly 57 hours of TV per week. While experts still disagree on ‘technology addition’, everyone recognizes that the constant need to check emails or texts or social media is having a stressful toll. In Sweden, research showed that heavy technology use in young people was directly linked to sleeping problems, depressive symptoms, and increased stress levels. If you are one of those people who feel anxious without their phone, has trouble concentrating when you can’t check it, or can be frustrated after going on social media, then you might be in need of a digital detox, and the benefits can be huge:
A digital detox can help:
Positively impact mental health
Contributes to better work/life balance
Improve sleeping habits
Free up time to expand skills/hobbies/social groups
Your Digital Detox
As with most things, choosing the right digital detox for you is key. Depending on your work schedule or checking in with loved ones (or that Bridgerton obsession), you may not be in a place to walk away from your online portals for very long. But there are plenty of ways to get the benefits of a digital detox in a way that works for you.
Little Bits or Big Chunk?
The first step is to decide which type of detox works for you. Do you think you would benefit from a regular ‘shut off', like a few hours or even a day a week where nothing electronic is allowed? Would you be better off with a specific detox around particular apps or social media? Would you rather store it up and take a full week or two off once a year? If you are interested in a long-term break to refresh the mindfully, you might want to check out these top ten detox and wellness spa retreats in America. Check your phone at the door and get ready to feel ultra-rejuvenated and luxuriously pampered.
Pick your Timings.
This is a little easier for the longer break, as it is similar to booking holiday time that doesn’t clash with anything important. Just make sure loved ones know they will have to call the hotel to actually reach you! For the small but regular digital detox, it is likely to most effective if you stick to a schedule, a set time for each week or month, so you can prepare around it. Every second Sunday or the first half or every Saturday, or perhaps a full hour every weekday during lunch or after work? Setting boundaries for switching off during meals or family time or just before sleep is a great way to find the right boundaries to balance your URL/IRL worlds.
To really make sure you can get the full benefits of disconnecting, you need to make sure you have a plan. You don’t want to find yourself halfway through an IRL day and then stuck needing to order a cab or food when you’ve locked your phone up or caving prematurely because you didn’t have anything planned to keep yourself entertained. If you need to download that playlist or podcast for a walk outside, make sure you have done it before you switch on airplane mode!
What to Do
Spend time with great people. Go for dinner or on an outing with family or friends without taking your phone along.
Curl up with a book. Get comfy, grab a glass of wine and snacks and start working through Oprah’s reading list.
Learn something new. Go to a class in your area where you can learn how to cook or paint or some other skill or hobby you’ve always wanted to try.
Explore your Surroundings. Why not go for a walk and see where you end up. Ditch the google maps and set out for a little fate-late discovery.
Try some in-house fun. There are probably far more non-digital activities available in your house than you realize. Why not try a puzzle or play cards, host a board game competition or paint a wall that needs brightening up.
Feeling ready? Why not give it a try with Reviews.org’s 2021 Digital Detox Challenge? If you can last 24 hours, you could get paid $2,400!