Digital Detox

Digital Detox: Why It’s Important For Your Mental Health

Defining Detox

Detoxing is the process or a time in which a person abstains or tries to get rid of toxins and unhealthy substances that are in the body to improve their health.

The Different Kinds of Detox

There are all kinds of different detoxes. Some people detox from alcohol after a heavy night or weekend of drinking. Others detox from bad diets by drinking lots of water and doing juice cleanses. And yet another detox is when people fast and don’t eat anything at all.

When people talk about detoxes, most people are thinking about detoxing for your physical health. But in this blog post, we’ll be discussing what a digital detox is, how a digital detox is beneficial for your mental and spiritual health, and how to do a digital detox. 

Continue reading on to learn more about what a digital detox is.

Digital Detox

A digital detox is when you abstain from using digital devices such as your cell phone, laptop, iPad, tablet, electronic devices, and social media. It’s all about removing yourself from the digital world and reconnecting with everything around you here in the present.

There are a lot of people who are glued to their phones and don’t even bother to look up. They miss out on being present and observing things around them. 

There have been times when I’ve had to repeat myself because the person I was talking to wasn’t paying attention and looking at their phone. 

How Attached Is Everyone to Their Devices?

According to statistics, more than half of Americans admit that they are addicted to their cell phones. 

  • The average American checks their smartphone at least 144 times per day. (Fortune)
  • The average person spends approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phone a day. (ExplodingTopics)
  • 44% of American adults admit they get anxiety if they do not have their phones beside them. (YouGov)
  • Cell phones cause 14% of fatal car accidents. (TheZebra)
  • 71% of people spend more time on their cell phones than with their partners.  (SellCell)
  • 31% of American adults say that they’re constantly online. (PewResearch)
  • Studies found that cell phones can damage relationships and lead to depression. (Baylor University)

The Harmful Effects of Being Glued to Our Digital Devices

Blue Light Emitted from Phones Disrupt Our Circadian Rhythm 

The screens from our phones, tablets, and televisions emit blue light. Blue light is a type of light that can influence our hormones, circadian rhythm, and melatonin production. 

When you’re online and scrolling through your social media feed, it keeps you alert. The blue light emitted from your phone can also inhibit and lower melatonin production. Melatonin is a hormone that our bodies naturally produce when it starts to get dark outside. It helps us sleep better. If you’re not producing enough melatonin in the evenings, it may become more difficult for you to fall asleep at night. 

If you’re watching Netflix into the evening hours, you are cutting into your sleep time and missing out on precious sleep.

Turn off your devices and get an early start on your bedtime. You’ll feel refreshed in the morning!

The Use of Smartphones has Decreased Our Productivity

When we’re glued to our devices all day, we might not notice how much time is spent checking email, responding to messages, and scrolling through our newsfeeds. Our devices make us less productive by taking time away from us when we could be using it to do something else.  

Devices Can Turn Us Into Zombies 

Being glued to our digital devices can turn us into zombies. We’re so glued to our phones that we’re tuned out from what’s going on around us at the present moment. 

Take a moment, sit back, take a deep breath in, and look around you. This fleeting moment and where you are right now is where you need to be. And you will never get this moment again. 

If you’re a parent, your kid will never be this little again. Tomorrow, they’re just a little older and will know a little more. If you’re glued to your phones, you miss out on some of these moments and milestones. 

Don’t miss out on this moment in your life by scrolling through an endless amount of social media feeds. 

Take time to appreciate where you are at this moment in your life. 

Phones Disconnect Us From The People That We’re With 

Have you spent time with someone who was constantly checking their phone when you were with them? 

Or someone who was responding to their Facebook posts over dinner? 

Or someone who always has to have their phone near them to check for notifications?

When you’re constantly checking your phone, messages, tweets, and alerts, you’re checking those messages but you’re ignoring the people you’re spending time with. 

Stop tuning the people around you out. Put the phone down and give them your undivided attention.

Hyperconnected in a Digital World Without Any Real Meaningful Connections

Social media and devices have been great by allowing us to keep in touch with family and friends miles away. However, it can also disconnect us from the people around us. We may be having conversations with other people from across the globe but it can rob us of having deep connections with the people next to us.

Real meaningful friendships and connections are important for our mental, physical, and spiritual health. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can lead to anxiety and depression. Although it is nice to know what’s going on with some of your friends from high school and college, look up and notice the little things that are going on with the people are you here?

Digital Devices Do Not Take The Place Of Having Real Conversations In Person

It’s great that you can have a full conversation through text and email but nothing beats having a conversation with someone in person. There are so many aspects of having a real conversation in person like looking at a person’s facial expressions, reading their body language when you talk, and exchanging energy that you don’t get when you’re talking from behind a screen.

There are also health benefits to having meaningful connections with family and friends:

  • It improves our self-esteem and makes us feel good. 
  • It improves our psychological well-being and can give us a sense of purpose and meaning in life. 

Why You Need a Digital Detox & The Benefits

There are many reasons why you should do a digital detox. Here are a few:

  • To improve your focus and concentration. When you’re constantly checking your phone or social media, it’s hard to focus on anything else. Taking a break from digital devices can help you to clear your mind and be more productive.
  • To reduce stress and anxiety. The constant stream of information and notifications can be overwhelming and stressful. Taking a break from digital devices can help you to relax and de-stress.
  • To improve your sleep. The blue light emitted from digital devices can interfere with sleep. Taking a break from digital devices before bed can help you to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
  • To connect with the people around you. When you’re always plugged in, it’s easy to neglect your relationships with the people around you. Taking a break from digital devices can help you to focus on the people who are important to you. Play a game of Scrabble, work on a puzzle together, or just give them your full, undivided attention.
  • To be more present at the moment. When you’re constantly checking your phone or social media, you’re not present at the moment. Taking a break from digital devices can help you to appreciate the here and now. You don’t want to miss out on important moments and milestones like the baby’s first steps because you were looking down at your screen.

How To Do a Digital Detox

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by technology, a digital detox can be a great way to take a break and recharge. There are many different ways to do a digital detox, so find what works best for you. 

You might try turning off your phone for a few hours each day, or you might take a weekend away from all digital devices. 

The important thing is to find a way to disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself and the world around you.

You can do a digital detox by going cold turkey and just turning off your cell phone, leaving it in a drawer, and not touching it for the day. You can also do a different type of detox where you delete social media apps that you spent a lot of time on. 

On some devices, it will show you how much time you spent on each application on your phone. Look at it. How much time do you spend on social media? Do you spend an insane amount of time on social media? Do you even want to admit how much time you spend on social media? 

What else could you be doing if you didn’t spend that much time on social media? Would you finish that book that you promised you would get around to? Could you clean and re-organize parts of your closet? 

Having a digital detox will give you more time you didn’t realize you had before. 

What I Do For My Digital Detox

What I usually do when I need a detox is completely delete my social media apps from my phone. I don’t have the icon on my phone, which makes it tempting to easily tap on it and see what’s going on with other people. If I wanted to scroll through social media, I would have to go back into the App Store, download it again, and re-enter all of my information. I do this purposely- so that it makes it harder for me to go and use social media. 

I spent a lot of time on social media and it decreased my productivity. When I am not scrolling through my Instagram and Facebook feeds, I’m more creative and write more.

My focus and concentration are better when I’m not glued to my phone and scrolling through my newsfeed. Sometimes I delete my app for a few days and sometimes I delete it for a few weeks. If I’m having a particularly rough patch, and I feel lonely, then sometimes I will download the app again, but then I’ll delete it after. I purposely make it more troublesome to use the app so that I don’t use it often. Again, that’s just for me. I enjoy being productive and getting things done. And I’ve noticed that I get more done when I’m not on social media. 

This is the social media detox that I do and it works for me. 

What Are You Going To Do Without Your Phone?

Are you freaking out at the thought of not having your phone? Does the idea of not being able to scroll through your news feed scare you? 

It shouldn’t. 

There are so many things that you can do when you’re detoxing. Having your hands free from your mobile device will give you more time to do all sorts of things such as cook, bake, read a book, and engage in a hobby. 

Are there items on your bucket list that you want to do but just haven’t gotten around to doing? 

Many of us are unaware of how much time we spend on social media. The algorithms that social media platforms use such as Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook are designed to be addicting. They want us to be addicted to their apps. These apps make money through advertising. 

Here are some ideas for what you can do without your device when you:

  • Wake up the first hour- Journal, Write down 3 things that you are grateful for
  • Go to the bathroom- Read a book
  • Before bed- Journal, reflect on your day, write your goals, plan for tomorrow
  • When you have downtime- Clean something
  • When you’re bored- Declutter
  • During meal times- Slow down and appreciate your food

As you can see, there are so many things you can do when you go through a digital detox. A digital detox will free up your mind and your time. 

I encourage you to partake in a digital detox. It can be extreme or not. Do what works for you but take some time away from the screen and appreciate all the beauty and life around you. 

There is nothing more beautiful than the world you’re living in right now. 

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