The idea of taking a digital detox – a period of time when you decide to step away from the PC, the smartphone, the TV, or anything with a screen or internet connection basically – has become a bit of a buzzword in recent months. So what is it, what kinds of benefits do you actually experience when you ‘detox’, and most importantly, how do you go about it?
Why do a digital detox?
The screen of your smartphone is often the first thing you see in the morning, then you spend all day at work staring at a screen, only to get home and spend the few free hours you have each day staring at the TV and your smartphone. It’s easy enough to see how we can become disconnected from the ‘real’ outside world, and lost in the digital one.
The constant distraction and never-ending options of news pieces to glance at, videos to watch, games to play and emails, Tweets and messages to answer can literally take up all your time if you let it, and for some that can become a real problem. And if you’re trying to get studying done or work on your own project outside of work, there’s an endless list of possible ways to procrastinate!
On the flipside, if you start implanting digital detoxes into your lifestyle, you start to see some remarkable and often unexpected benefits! You can start to sleep better, become more creative, make and stick to more plans and goals, become more productive, and of course, learn to appreciate everything the ‘real world’ has to offer more. Your relationships can improve when you actually take the time to speak to people face to face, and you’ll find you suddenly have a whole lot more free time on your hands to get back into an old hobby, learn a new skill, or even exercise more.
So how do you go about it?
The really great thing is that a digital detox can fit into every lifestyle. Some people choose to free up their entire weekend, others prefer to make their next vacation an extended digital detox period, and some like to set aside a few hours each evening to put all the gadgets away. You can fit one in every day, or even just one day a month – so everyone can do it.
If you’ve been feeling the need to connect with nature more, then your next holiday is a great way to do a digital detox. There’s the added benefit that because you’ve already taken time off work, you won’t have any nagging worries about missing an important phone call or email. A really immersive experience like an African safari or a camping trip makes a digital detox even more rewarding, and you’ll find that you feel that much more refreshed after you’ve given your brain a chance to really turn off too!
Have a plan or a project in mind:
Digital detoxes fail when the person trying to do one finds they literally have nothing to do! If you know you’re the kind of person who gets bored easily, have a list ready of all those things you “just never have the time for”. Making the list can even be your project for your first detox!
The real magic begins once something starts to absorb all of your attention. Before you know it, you look up and realize how much you’ve actually accomplished – and doing the detox becomes really rewarding.
Have a clear list of forbidden objects during the detox:
Have it clear in your mind which digital distractions you intend to stay away from, and what’s going to happen to them while you’re doing the detox. Ideally, you want to turn all distractions off and put them out of sight where you can forget about them all together. Having your smartphone sitting on the table in front of you while you’re taking the time to tackle that new recipe can prove too much of a temptation for most of us!
Get out of the house:
Part of the attraction of a digital detox is actually looking at and experiencing the world around you – so get out there! Go for a long walk, take a trip down to the beach, or meet up for coffee with a friend you’ve wanted to reconnect with for ages. Get out into nature, and enjoy experiencing the world at a less frenetic pace.
Have a set bedtime:
If one of your motivations for doing a detox is to improve your sleep patterns, then have a set time you’re going to curl up in bed with a good book – ideally an hour or so before you actually aim to be asleep.
There are so many different styles of digital detox that it really is possible for everyone to find one that works for them. Give it a go, and we guarantee you’ll be a more relaxed and centered person for it!