A digital detox is something we should all implement in our lives to improve overall well-being. It is essentially taking a break from your smartphone, computer, and all other electronic devices that connect to the Internet for a certain amount of time. There are many benefits to a digital detox, but the point is to reduce stress, “unplug,” and become more connected to the present moment and people around you.
Reasons for a digital detox
As heavily as we rely on our devices, the research suggests that constantly being online can be destructive for our mental and physical well-being. When we disconnect our phones and digital devices, we have a chance to reconnect to the things that matter, such as the people we love, the present moment, and nature. Instead of being glued to your screen, take a walk or have a coffee date with a friend.
Research has shown that individuals who take a digital detox and reduce their screen time have improved mental health, including fewer feelings of loneliness, depression, and anxiety. It also reduces stress and feelings of FOMO— the fear of missing out. We often compare our lives to others on social media, which leaves us feeling as though our lives are not as interesting or accomplished. Doing a digital detox allows us to become fully immersed in our own lives instead of constantly comparing. We can become more present in the moment and give our loved ones our full attention when we are with them.
The research also shows that digital detoxes can be good for our physical health. Limiting screen time improves sleep and gives us more time to be physically active and healthier.
How to do a Digital Detox long term
It’s not easy disconnecting from our digital devices, so you need to make a digital detox plan that works for you. If it’s not realistic to take off the entire weekend, then don’t feel pressured to do so.
A simple way to incorporate a digital detox into your life is to pick one day of the week for it. If you can’t take off an entire day, try a shorter time frame, such as the evening or the mornings.
You can also pick one app at a time— maybe you can’t fully unplug, but at least you can stop checking one social media app that consumes a lot of your time and energy.
If you need to check your emails for work, turn off notifications for the other apps that you don’t need.
It also helps to put your phone on “do not disturb” mode or set time limits for specific apps. For example, an hour before bed and an hour after you wake up, try to put your phone away.
On the days that you do your digital detox, make sure you have other things that you can do, such as a self-care day, physical exercise, going on a day trip, or seeing friends— whatever you enjoy. If you are free of your devices but have nothing else to do, you’ll feel bored and tempted to check your phone.
Give it a try and reap the benefits.