What are the benefits of detoxing digitally?
Based on a research done by Ofcom in 2018, Brits check their phones on average every 12 minutes per day. Around one-third of people say they feel either cut off or lost without the internet, 17% say they find it stressful, and half of all adults (50%) say their life would be boring if they could not access the internet.
But how can we spend less time on social media when we still feel physically disconnected from the world? The tendency is to use our mobile devices as coping mechanisms for stress, boredom and uncertainty.
Well, it turns out that these are the same devices fueling us with anxiety. Psychologists have recognised the negative impact of overusing mobile devices and social media platforms. It’s much more common for sleeping problems, panic attacks, mild depression and anger issues to result from the overuse of mobile devices.
Social Media Addiction – Picture by Becca Tapert
Surely, we need a tech detox to get rid of most of the problems resulting from the overuse of technology. But how? Well, we have got the solution.
Here are 3 steps to start ‘tech detox’:
1. Getting started
There are many temporary and long term changes you can make to help detach yourself from your phone. Start with a simple act of keeping your device on aeroplane mode when your attention is fully required i.e. working, studying, sleeping, etc. A bigger action would be to delete social media apps you’re tempted to check regularly on your phone. You will notice that you may not need to fast for all social media networks.
Take baby steps and leave your smartphone in a box by the front door after a long day. You can also dive right in by going “Cold Turkey” and keeping your device in a drawer for a couple of hours. Or you can keep it in for a morning, a whole day and eventually a weekend – increasing this over time.
2. Set morning and evening routines for a digital detox
A great way to draw a distinction between work and personal life is by creating morning and evening routines (Check Urban Yoga Lab’s Beginner’s Guide on ‘Habit Formation’). The same applies to your efforts in eliminating time spent on your digital devices. A great way to do so is by turning off push notifications on your phone. Having all social media alerts on mute will allow you to concentrate better and increase your attention span where you’ll gradually diminish the need for public approval. You will, ultimately, find yourself engaging in long conversations or reading an entire book without reaching for your phone: detoxing digitally have never been this easy!
3. Announce to your friends and family
If you don’t know where to begin in terms of strengthening your commitment to starting a digital detox, here’s a good idea! Let your friends and family know about your decision. Having their support can make the ‘device-free’ journey less challenging. When others are aware of these changes you want to make, they will be understanding and encouraging to help you reach your goals. Having your friends and family help and support is quite important. You can also start by publishing a social media post where you inform all your social media groups that you are going on a “digital fast”.
Another question is, how would you know that this is the time you need a Social Media Detox? Well, here is the answer.
You may need ‘Social Media Detox’ if you are feeling:
Addiction signs – Picture by Niklas Hamann
- Anxious if your phone is not by your side
- Tempted to check your phone every 10-20 minutes
- Tired and/or drained of energy after spending time on social media
- Constantly wondering about the number of likes, comments, or followers on your social media
- Afraid/worried you’ll miss something ‘important’ if you don’t have access to your device
- The need to check your phone before going to sleep and as soon as you wake up (Click here for a Better Sleep Hygiene)
- Trouble focusing on one specific thing without having to check your phone
Some suggestions that you might consider trying:
- A digital detox: Try giving up all digital devices for a day or up to a week.
- Recurrent digital abstinence: Pick 1 day of the week to go device-free while you are detoxing digitally. The weekend is a good time to try this as you can practice self-care and focus on goals as well.
- A specific tech detox: If one app, site, game, or digital tool is taking up too much of your time, focus on restricting your use of that problematic item.
A social media detox: Focus on restricting or even completely eliminating your social media use for a certain period of time.
Join one of Urban Yoga Labs mindset session here!
Written by Alexandra Kafka