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Is this the perfect opportunity for a digital detox?

We spend an average of 11 hours a day engaging with the world via our tech devices. It forms a habit that means we can easily ignore the people and moments right in front of us.

By Charlotte Cooper

Decoding a digital detox

We have all become increasingly aware of the negative impacts that technology has on our mental health, despite its creative and social influences. Technology has become one of the most consuming and distracting forces, making it increasingly more difficult to disconnect.

What is it?

Taking time off from these powerful devices has been referred to as a digital detox. This type of detox is a period of time when someone refrains from using technology. The idea behind a detox is to focus on ‘real-life’ interactions.

What are the benefits?

We spend approximately eleven hours a day listening, reading, watching or interacting with media via our tech devices. One of the biggest problems with this is the fear of missing out (FOMO) when scrolling through social channels and seeing what other people are doing or what they have. FOMO can often make our lives feel less worthy or exciting in comparison.

How do I know if I need time off?

Several signs that may indicate that we need a digital detox, including feeling compelled to check your devices every few minutes. Other symptoms include preoccupation with likes, comments and the image we portray online, feeling down or stressed after being on social media, as well as staying up late to play on our devices.

It is important to note that completely cutting off the use of technology straightway will probably result in failure. Keep to the saying, don’t run before you can walk. Start by setting aside about 30 minutes a day where you are entirely tech-free.

Five steps to help start a digital detox

Step one

Turn off notifications such as banner alerts, so they don’t pop up on your phone as well as leaving your phone out of sight during conversations or in the company of others.

Step two

Try leaving your phone in another room overnight. Out of sight out of mind

Step three

When out with friends, leave your phone behind or if you feel safer with it in your possession, turn it off whilst you’re with them. 

Step four

Try putting all your devices on aeroplane mode for the whole day and only take it off when you need to use them

Step five

Keep your phone off for the weekend from 7 .00pm Friday until 7.00am Monday. When you start to feel like you want to look at it, try to refrain! Take a bath, make a cup of tea or start a conversation – you can do this! 

Taking a digital detox can help improve mood, reduce anxiety and help aid sleep. It, of course, is going to be a challenge but remember not to socially isolate yourself as this too can have a detrimental your mental health. It’s all about balance.

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