Ditch the devices: How to have a digital detox.
Updated: Feb 17
Originally posted: 10th March 2021
Do you spend most of your time looking at screens? Do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling social media until the early hours of the morning? If you have, do you ever for a moment stop to wonder what effect this is having on your mental well-being?
We are all guilty of it, we all have a slight social media addiction. Whether it be just popping on to see what our friends are up to or to read up on the news or simply just glued to TikTok or Instagram looking at how amazing other people’s lives seem online.
The thing is, social media is pretty fake, whether its fake news or fake smiles… Not everything is as black and white as it seems.
Now more than ever, we are using our phones and social media to stay connected with family and friends. It’s perfectly fit for purpose, with free video calling and messenger services, but have you ever been scrolling through and one post and has turned your good day into a bad one. Have you ever read something that’s made you angry, or a controversial comment or topic upset you? This is where it begins to have a negative impact on your daily life.
So, what is a digital detox exactly?
A digital detox is as simple as turning off your tech, like your phone, laptop or device, putting it away and having time to focus on other things in life. Rather than staring at your phone screen, it allows time for actual, physical conversation with your family, partner or roommate. It’s having a total break, and switching off, even if it’s as little as a few hours a night, it’s going come along with some pretty great benefits.
and what are the benefits?
1.) Better communication:
When we aren’t glued to our phones, we engage in conversation with each other. It’s something that has probably caused plenty of arguments and upset, where one person is paying no attention to the other, or even that you’re missing out on precious moments with your children through just being addicted to your phone. Taking time out means you can be truly present within the moment and feel better for it.
2.) Better Sleep Patterns:
Our phones emit Blue Light which keeps our brain very active, it tricks our mind into thinking it's daylight, so that mindless scrolling at night, is affecting your sleep, MASSIVELY! By switching your phone off, putting it away and just lying down in the darkness, your mind will begin to relax. Paired with things like Meditation or quiet music, it makes for one hell of a good night sleep. Following this routine will not only bring your body clock back in sync but will improve your mood and general well-being. It will also save you from physical complications such as blurry eyesight, dry eyes, and in some cases macular degeneration.
3.) You’ll begin to feel less anxious
One thing our phones are great at is making us feel anxious about everyday life, and at the moment, that is something we already have to contend with. For someone prone to anxiety, the negative impact of the news, what people are doing or saying, and feeling the need to be posting up you “living your best life” is something that causes so much stress and unnecessary health issues. By being less engaged with what’s happening on your phone, you can start to do things you enjoy and not worry about sharing them with all your followers on Instagram or all your friends on Facebook. Again, just being more present in the moment and grateful for the people and things around you will turn that frown upside down, and stop your nail-biting, and rumbling tummy.
Tips for a digital detox:
Make sure you have times of the day where you have technology-free moments, try an hour and work it into your schedule in a way where you won’t notice it’s gone. Could it be when you’re cooking dinner, maybe it’s at night-time, an hour before bed, to try and relax your mind before bed.
Introduce offline activities to your day:
Just go back to basics, before your phone… what did people do? They read books, they would get a sketch pad and draw, they’d do something they enjoyed. We have plenty of offline things we can do these days that will help our mental well-being too, things such as mindfulness colouring, journaling, and meditation. If that sounds too hippy for you, then even just turning the TV off and putting the radio on, you can enjoy music and no screens!
Literally, hide your smartphone:
They’ve become such a big part of our lives that simply switching the notifications to silent isn’t enough to break the habit of us picking our phones up and just looking at … well NOTHING most the time. Put it in another room and leave it alone!
Give meditation a try:
Seems so hippy, and you feel like you'll feel silly, as you imagine meditation which people sitting cross-legged saying "Ohmmmmm..." that's not wrong, you can do that, but not all meditation is the same. Sometimes meditation can be guided, and with simple breathing techniques, gentle music and a calm voice talking you through a walk down the beach, or in a forest. It's simply using your imagination and allowing yourself switch off for that moment. Here at Earthbound Holistics, we are. currently about to launch a group meditation class if you'd like to enter a world of like minded people who just need a break from all the chaos... but If you're new to it and feel a little embarrassed, try it on your own. Head to our Mindfulness coaching page to hear more about what we have to offer, but it's all about doing what's right for you.
Make bedtime a tech-free zone:
I think this is where we don’t even realise we are doing it, we go to bed and put the TV on… it defeats the purpose of bedtime. We should be shutting the light out as Harvard Researchers have found that our much-loved devices, actually disrupt melatonin production, sleep quality and mood! Relax, make it a time where you are slowly calming your chaotic mind and can fully enjoy your night sleep. If this is something you struggle with, then look into mindfulness, purchase a subscription to Headspace or Calm app’s, go on YouTube and listen to a guided meditation (you will be asleep before you know it.)
Give it a go, what have you got to lose?