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Digital Detox: Unplugging and Reconnecting with Yourself

While technology serves a purpose, being surrounded by screens can leave us feeling drained, anxious, and disconnected from ourselves and the world around us. Enter the digital detox: a deliberate break from technology designed to hit the pause button, recharge your mental batteries, and cultivate a healthier relationship with your devices.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who needs to unplug from time to time. Let’s walk through planning a disconnect from technology and embracing the real world. 

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What is a Digital Detox?

A Digital Detox is when you take an intentional step back and break from any digital devices. That means putting down the phone, laptop, or iPad, not watching tv, or even listening music. 

This break will give your mind and brain time to relax and reset, without having the constant blue screens and stimulation overload from digital devices. 

Why Do We Need a Digital Detox?

Burnout is unfortunately very real in our day and age and it can be caused by a variety of factors. The burnout I’m talking about here is symptoms caused by too much time online staring at screens. Here are some signs you might need a digital detox:

  • Exhaustion
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Lack of Focus
  • Lack of Interest in Job
  • Unhealthy eating
  • Self-Image problems
  • Lack of time management 
  • Lack of exercise
  • Getting sick easier

These digital burnout symptoms came from McLean Hospital, MayoClinic, and WebMD. 

Disclaimer: I am not an expert or health professional. The information I provide comes from the sources I have linked throughout the post and at the Sources Index at the bottom. See a professional if you want medical advice. 

The Benefits of Digital Detoxing

It really seems crazy to me how much being glued to our phones affects us, but you’ll see quite how much it does when you look at the benefits of taking a break from screens. Here is a list of some benefits to doing your own digital detox:

  1. Reduced Stress Levels: Studies have proven that taking a break from digital devices reduces stress. 
  2. Being Present: This goes without saying that without having a phone in your hand, you will be fully immersed in the present moment and pay attention to everything around you. 
  3. Increased Productivity: Without the distraction of social media being just a tap or click away, you will not feel that need to scroll. That means more time to get meaningful tasks done. 
  4. Increased Self-Esteem: Being constantly online can lead to comparing yourself too much to others (hence the symptom of burnout being low self-esteem), so in turn cutting back on screen time, will help boost your self-image. 
  5. Getting Healthier: Being constantly connected leads to a variety of problems, the most obvious being all that blue light on your eyes and text neck. 
  6. Better Sleep: Staring at your phone before bed delays the brain from producing melatonin which is the chemical that gives you more restful sleep, so less screen time will help with having more restful sleep cycles.

These benefits of digital detoxing come from WebMD.

More Helpful Posts

How to Digital Detox

Taking these steps will ensure you get the most out of your digital detox. 

  1. Duration: There are two steps to this first part of your plan.
    1. First you need to determine whether or not you want to reduce the time spent each day on digital devices or if you want to take a break from them entirely for a certain period of time.
    2. Next, determine the amount of time you will spend without digital devices.
      1. For a long term plan, I suggest carving out a time of day that you plan to spend without your phone or computer. Say for a couple hours a day after work is your no screen time.
      2. For a complete detox, I suggest starting with what you find most comfortable and works with your schedule, especially if your job requires you to be on a computer. Maybe plan a digital detox over an entire weekend. Another plan could be to continue to use your devices for work, but intentionally take a break from social media and personal online browsing for a week or two.
  2. Tell Your Friends and Family: Communicate with your friends and family about what you plan on doing, so they can support you! They can be your back up in case you feel tempted to pick up that phone. 
  3. Prepare Alternate Activities: Plan some alternate things to do that you enjoy while you are recharging during your digital detox. Spending time with family and friends, doing hobbies you enjoy, or spending time outside are all great options. 
  4. Set a Date and Do it!

Embrace the Disconnect and Reflect

You may experience some withdrawal symptoms. Smart Phone addiction is a real thing! Embrace the discomfort. 

You can take this time to nurture your mind. Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Practice mindfulness and meditation — spend some time in your head. Try and quiet your mind. Learn more about mindfulness and meditation.  
  • Do things you enjoy. Do a body and mind check-in and have a self-care day. 
  • As I said before, think about hobbies you enjoy. I love to read, cook and bake, craft and journal. Perfect for a digital detox period! You could always color too — Here are some bookish coloring pages.
  • Spend time outside! Nature is the perfect balm for the mind and soul. You could read some of these nature books that tell you about the benefits of spending time outside. 
digital detox

Reentering the Digital Realm

After your self imposed digital detox period, use this time to set healthy boundaries with the amount of time you will spend on digital devices in the future.

Avoiding burnout means having a healthy balance, so you can’t go back to spending 24/7 in front of screens again. You should create a long-term plan, as I mentioned earlier, about setting aside time each day to spend away from digital devices. 

The whole point of having a detox is learning to establish a healthy relationship with technology, prioritizing your well-being, and living in the present moment. So, take a deep breath, put down your phone, and embark on your journey towards a more mindful and unplugged you.

Sources:

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