It comes as no surprise that people spend more time in the digital world than ever before. With a majority of work transferring over to computers, and social media right at the tips of our fingers every time we unlock our phones, it seems almost impossible to live a life free of all things digital. While the digital world has made certain activities easier and more efficient, there are a lot of downsides to experiencing digital overload. Whether you are interested in doing a short-term digital detox, or rebalancing your life to include less time in front of a screen, below are a few important steps for leading a life less reliant on the digital world.
How To Digital Detox
One of the most important steps to take during a digital detox is the process of setting boundaries. One of the reasons we feel the digital world has such an impact on our lives is because most of us do not set healthy boundaries. Whether you are someone who has their work email on their phone and compulsively check it every few minutes, or if you are someone who gets notified every time a friend posts on social media, setting healthy boundaries can be extremely helpful in achieving a successful digital detox.
Boundaries can be set in a variety of ways depending on your wants and needs. You can choose to set aside specific times during the day for various activities (ie allow yourself to check your work email only during work hours, or allow yourself to check social media once in the morning or once at night). Another way to set boundaries is setting a period you must wait before responding digitally. For example, if you get a work email, give yourself a day to reflect on the request before responding. Or, if someone comments on a post or messages you, wait a day before addressing it. While this seems simple, most of us will find it extremely difficult to adhere to these boundaries at first.
Mindfulness is something we should all practice daily. If you have ever found yourself going through your daily routine and suddenly realizing it’s already the end of the week or end of the year in the blink of an eye, it likely means you are not practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware of where you are and what you are doing. In other words, living your life with intention. Many of us have a 5-year or 10-year goal but oftentimes forget that the small actions each day are what eventually get us to that goal. Practicing mindfulness is key to a digital detox because it helps to prevent mindless scrolling through the internet or social media. Any time you use any form of digital media, it should be done with intention. Some great alternatives for spending time on digital platforms include adult coloring books, and using analog alarm clocks in place of the one on your phone.
3. Use Your Phone’s Technology
While our phones were designed to encourage us to use them often, they have also been improved to include various features that are helpful to a digital detox. One of these features is “Do Not Disturb.” If you are working, reading a book, or in the middle of a meditation session, be sure to turn on your do not disturb feature to avoid getting digital notifications that might distract you. You can also opt to turn off social media and email notifications as well as rearrange your home screen so social media and email apps are not on the first page.
4. Blue Light Glasses
Blue light glasses have been an absolute game-changer for me. While in theory, I would love to cut off the whole digital world cold turkey, it just isn’t realistic. However, these have been excellent in helping to reduce the damage from being online so often. One of the most damaging parts of screen time is diminished sleep quality and eye strain. Blue light glasses can greatly help to reduce the amount of strain your eyes are put under, which can lead to fewer headaches and better sleep quality. These are an absolute must, especially when I am working at night.
A digital detox is truly what you make of it. Some people need to cut off all online access for a short period of time to help them reset their frame of mind. While others need to cut back on their day-to-day usage of digital tools. I truly believe everything in life is about balance. We live in a world where it is virtually impossible to completely cut off digital access. Our work is online, our friends are online, marketing is online. However, I also believe most of us spend far too much of our free time in the digital world. I believe a balanced life, one where you can use digital tools when truly needed, but spend your free time outside with those you love, is the healthiest way to utilize the digital world for its positives, and avoid the negatives it can bring.
Benefits Of A Digital Detox
We live in a world where so much is digital. Many people find themselves aimlessly scrolling through social media or blindly refreshing their emails every few minutes as opposed to getting outside and enjoying a day in person with friends and family. Unfortunately, this has led to a variety of health issues such as headaches from eye strain, anxiety, and even higher rates of depression.
Undergoing a digital detox can be an extremely healthy process. It can help to reset your frame of mind, help you to feel calmer and in control, and help to propel you into a healthier lifestyle. The benefits of a digital detox will look different in every person. However, what we do know is that undergoing a digital detox can help break negative cycles and allow for more time to exercise, read, and practice mindfulness. Below are a few key benefits you may experience from undergoing a digital detox:
- Reduce Stress
- Improved Mental Health
- Maintain Work-Life Balance
- Improved Sleep
- Improved Happiness
- Stronger Relationships