WE LIVE IN AN AMAZING TIME IN HUMAN HISTORY.
Although we are more globally connected to each other than ever before, life in the digital age is far from idyllic.
We spend more of our waking life online and in front of a screen, than offline. This is impacting our relationships, our emotional well-being and society as a whole. Something needs to change.
Creating new rules around technology and social etiquette and raising awareness of destructive habits, while staying focused and in the moment is vital.
The key will be finding balance in this era of extreme technological advancement and by developing healthier relationships with our devices we will determine the future of humanity.
So when was the last time you switched off for 24 hours? Do you sleep with your phone on your bedside table? Do you experience the fear of missing out (FOMO), if you’re not connected constantly?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may very well be in need of a digital detox.
By periodically switching off, you can start to retrieve real-life experiences that these devices take from us on a daily basis, by the way, with our full permission. It may hurt at first, but isn’t reconnecting with what you truly value and allowing your mind, body and soul to feel more complete more beneficial than checking the latest news on social media?
So what is a digital detox?
A digital detox is turning off all your technology, including, laptops, mobiles, tablets, smartphones, gaming devices and computers for a defined period of time.
This time can be spent doing activities that you enjoy or spending time with those who mean the most to you.
A digital detox should last at least 24 hours. Slowly building it up to 72 hours, if possible.
A digital detox helps you stay creative and balanced in a constantly online world.
Every day, we face continuous demands for our attention. This can result in burnout and unproductiveness, if we don’t take the time to revitalise and reboot. So with a digital detox we can take a step back and gain a different perspective.
Other benefits of a digital detox are:
It’s good for our relationships.
It helps us retune with nature and our natural body rhythms. This in turn helps us decide how we spend our time, rather than replying to other people’s constant demands.
It’s great for your overall well-being. Harvard researchers have found that our electronic devices can disrupt our melatonin production, our sleep quality and mood. Being constantly connected, results in us sleeping less, with poorer quality sleep, which can in the long run result in chronic health problems.
In a nutshell, a digital detox provides us with an opportunity to spend time on people and activities that really matter to us.
So how is it done?
It’s as simple as pressing a button, so why do so many people find it difficult to do?
It might be due to a number of things:
Motivation. What is your motivation for doing this detox?
What rules can be established to help with the success of the detox? Removing all technology from your bedroom and out of sight, perhaps?
What activities/ hobbies can you plan and engage in while completing the digital detox?
Can you plan when to do the detox by scheduling it in your diary and announcing it on social media?
Are you prepared to be bored and to deal with boredom? We are so used to needing to be constantly stimulated that we forget to live in the present moment. We have become human doings, not human beings, as Mindfulness guru Jon Kabat Zinn said.
Upon completing the digital detox, remember to use the perspective you gained, redefine what is really important to you, unsubscribe from email lists that don’t bring value to you and set new ground rules. By trying new behaviours, such as, checking social media and emails at certain times of the day and turning off any notifications, getting balance will get just that touch easier.
Lastly, not leastly, repeat your detox. It shouldn’t be a one-off. So schedule your next digital detox by committing it to your diary straight away.
Overall, a digital detox gives you permission to pause, reflect and reconnect with what’s most important to you. It helps you question your online usage, develop conscious habits and to remember to look up and enjoy the wonderful things around you.