Why and How to Take a Digital Detox
In today’s society, we’re more “connected” than ever — with numerous social media profiles to maintain, smartphones that put the web at our fingertips, notifications that ding with every message or status update, and of course bosses who expect us to answer their emails 24/7. Though technology has undoubtedly brought countless benefits, it’s also causing significant damage to many people’s lives.
Constantly focusing on a screen causes eye strain and shoulder tension, and the blue light those screens emit keeps us up at night. The messages and notifications that come in all day increase stress and anxiety, by constantly taking our attention away from the task at hand and making us feel like there’s more and more to keep up with. And work/life balance is more elusive than ever.
Ditch the Stress — Detox!
But so much of this stress can be reduced, at least temporarily, through a digital detox. And that doesn’t have to mean escaping to a desert island or an off-the-grid cabin and cutting off all contact with friends and family. It can be as simple as shutting off your phone, tablet, laptop, TV, and other devices, and resisting the urge to turn them back on — for an evening, a day, a weekend, or whatever length of time is feasible for you.
Of course, avoiding screens and devices on a workday isn’t possible for most people, who rely on them to do their job. If that’s you, choose a weekend or a day off for your digital detox. If you have loved ones who will start to worry if they don’t hear back from you right away, let them know ahead of time what you’re doing. If there’s anything that would need to be done on a device during the time you’ve selected — like paying a bill — do it in advance. And if digital to-do’s pop up during the detox, write them down (on a piece of paper!) as a reminder for later.
If you’re anything like the average American, you’ll probably be surprised by how much time you suddenly have. Use it to rest, enjoy nature, and do things you love — you’ll feel even better by the end.