It’s almost the time of year when we take a break from work and the fast pace of everyday life to celebrate the holidays with friends and family. It’s also the perfect opportunity to take a break from the digital world. In other words, disconnect from your phone and your laptop, and embrace a digital detox.
Technology has brought us limitless opportunities and sculpted the world in a way we couldn’t have imagined, but there are also distractions and side effects that come with constantly being plugged into tech. If you’re as attached and reliant on technology as I am, you may be thinking: why would I want to disconnect? Well, here are 4 of the most compelling reasons why you should give yourself a nudge to unplug this month.
Escaping the noise is good for your health
The majority of us share the daily habit of frequently checking our phones for texts, emails, social media notifications, and the list goes on… throughout the day. In fact, a recent study by mediakix reported that on average, a person spends 40 mins on YouTube, 35 mins on Facebook, 25 mins of Snapchat, 15 mins on Instagram and 1 min on Twitter every day. (If you want to be really startled by those stats, check out their infographic to see how long that equates to over a lifetime!)
A side from the time spent absorbing all of this digital flow of information, being constantly plugged into feeds and conversations is distracting and exhausting. Disconnecting is good for your mental health, it will help you slow down and clear your head.
Research also shows that staring at a screen for excessive periods of time can lead to digital eye strain (or computer vision syndrome). So giving your eyes a break from screens during your detox will help them relax. (Bonus tip: when you are in full digital immersion at work, try to take regular breaks to look away from your screen to allow your eyes to adjust).
It’s also been proven that excessive phone usage impairs your sleep. It’s not uncommon these days for our phones to be the last things we look at before we go to sleep, and the first things we glance at in the morning. During your detox, try reading a book before bed and relying on a trusty alarm clock for the morning. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much more relaxed and refreshed you’ll feel with the digital-less routine.
Disconnecting frees time for important things
When you disconnect from digital, you reconnect with the world around you. Spend quality time with your family and friends this holiday season. Be present in conversations, not distracted by your latest WhatsApp or a Facebook notification. Instead of snapping moments to share on Snapchat or Instagram, treasure them as they happen or why not track down your old camera and start capturing moments the old school way?
There are also plenty of other meaningful ways to spend your time during your detox when you find yourself itching to grab your phone or laptop and head online. Instead of a Netflix marathon, why not read a book or complete a jigsaw puzzle? Instead of focusing on what’s going on with people on the other side of the world, why not reconnect with an old friend, or get the family together to play a board game?
A digital detox is also the perfect opportunity to reconnect with the world outside. Go on more walks, find holiday events going on in your area, visit a museum or a gallery, take your book to a local coffee shop and settle down for the afternoon, or if you’re feeling extra productive, take one some of those household odd jobs you’ve been meaning to get to for months.
Recharge and recalibrate
We weren’t meant to have our eyes and ears bombarded with artificial light and our brains open to an unlimited flow of information. Use your digital detox as a chance to listen to your mind and body and truly relax. Get lots of sleep, eat well, and indulge in the little things that make you happy offline. If you allow yourself to recharge and find balance, you’re guaranteed to go into the new year with new energy, a fresh perspective, and increased productivity.
Embrace the challenge of a digital detox
There was a time (not that long ago) when you didn’t have a mobile phone to coordinate your social life, there wasn’t a virtual map in the palm of your hand to get you from A to B, movies had to be rented from the video store, and patiently waiting for dial-up internet access was your only option. Today, a lot has changed and we now rely on tech for all of these tasks, and so many more from our everyday lives.
When you digital detox, you remove all of the support that you’re used to and no longer have the instant resources that you’re used to at your disposal. You’ll find yourself frustrated, but once you’ve settled into your detox and adjusted, you’ll find yourself more patient, productive, resourceful and proactive.
Whether you detox for a few hours every day, a few days, or the duration of the holidays, you’ll experience benefits from unplugging. You may even find yourself holding onto a few good digital detoxing habits, and as our world continues to become more integrated with tech, now is a good time to start them!
Tune in later this week for some tips, tricks and recommended tools to help you kick off your digital detox.