Don’t get me wrong, I love the tech advances that we enjoy in our lives today BUT I do consider it a privilege to have experienced life without them too. For those of you who grew up in a time before the internet and smartphones sat at the heart of our everyday lives, you know what i mean. Didn’t life seem a bit quieter, simpler or am I just getting more nostalgic with age?
Remembering that time though, does make it easier to see the less positive changes that it’s created; the endless hours mindlessly scrolling, the inability to focus without needing to check our phones and the impact on face to face conversations. Now, I might not know all of the data, but I know what I see when I walk down the street - people of all ages with their heads down towards their phones and missing out on the world around them.
While it’s an amazing time to be alive, my thoughts are simply that we need to find a little balance, time when our devices aren’t in control and pulling our attention away from the present moment. It’s a fact that they’re habit forming and so it’s perfectly normal to feel a little resistance to taking a break from them.
So, if you need a few reasons why a digital detox can improve your life and a few helpful tips to get you started – here they are…
Looking up from your screen gives you the opportunity to reconnect to yourself, the people that you love and the world around you. It helps to keep you grounded in reality and makes you much more grateful for what you have rather than worrying about what you don’t!
TO BECOME MORE MINDFUL
How many times do you reach for your phone while you’re waiting for something? Sat in a doctor’s waiting room, boiling the kettle, standing in a queue or waiting for the kids to finish school? These are all small pauses in your day that could be used to practice a little self care or mindfulness. Click here for 10 simple ways to Stay Mindful Throughout Your Day.
TO REDUCE ANXIETY
It’s no secret that many studies have shown that social media can have a negative impact on our mental health. The impact can be far reaching but I’ve personally found that it encourages us to compare ourselves to others much more than is healthy and that creates anxiety. I’m sure that we’ve all felt it at some point; that feeling that we come up short, we’re not smart enough, pretty enough or even wealthy enough. It’s hard to remember that you’re seeing highlight reels and that behind the scenes is rarely as perfect as it looks.
TO INCREASE SELF CARE
Not having enough time is the biggest reason why most of us scrimp on our self care. But, if we could spend a little less time in front of our screens I’m sure they’d be at least an extra 15-30 minutes for improving our wellbeing; to go for a walk, meditate, enjoy your favourite yoga flow or create a healthy, delicious meal.
TO IMPROVE PHYSICAL HEALTH
Swap scrolling for walking and you’ll be amazed at the difference. Your lunch break is a great time to fit this in and so leave your phone in your desk drawer and get outside for a while - not only does walking improve our health but it also makes us feel happier and it’s free!
TIPS FOR STARTING A DIGITAL DETOX
- Start Small: You don’t need to go on a weekend retreat but you should try setting a goal and starting small; how about 15 minute breaks a couple of times a day? Build those up to 30 minutes and then gradually an afternoon and then full day.
- Designate Time: Create designated digital detox periods during the day. For yourself or even the whole family. Try meal times and for at least an hour before bed. The first hour each morning while everyone gets ready for the day ahead is also a great time to try.
- Set Boundaries: Let people know that you reply to emails and messages within set times during the day and schedule calls so that they don’t disturb you at random times during your day.
- Create Tech Free Activities: This one is great to get the whole family involved in. Organise days out where you don’t all need to take a phone. You might want to carry one for emergencies but agree to use it only for calls if needed - no checking messages or social apps! You’ll love how much this encourages everyone to connect more.
- Take the apps off your phone: This might sound extreme but if you’re finding them difficult to resist then remove them for the weekend - you can put them back on Monday. Give it a try and see how you feel.
I hope that’s inspired you to at least think about taking a digital detox. Try it next time you go out with loved ones or this weekend while you enjoy time at home - you’ll love how much calmer it makes you feel.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.