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Digital Detox Delight: Unplug to Recharge



Many of us today cannot imagine a world without our phones or computers. We use our phones as soon as we wake up to catch up on what we missed throughout the night and work or study using our laptops throughout the day. As much as digital devices and technology has helped to improve our lives, it has also caused detrimental effects on us as many of us are overusing devices and overconsuming media through screens.


In response to the increased use of digital technology and growing concerns of what effects this could have on us, the new concept “Digital Detox” gained popularity. What is digital detox one may ask. Digital Detox refers to the period of time where a person refrains from using tech devices such as smartphones, televisions, computers, tablets and social media (1).



Overuse of digital technology has brought upon a range of implications on various aspects of our overall wellbeing. To better understand what benefits a Digital Detox could bring us, we have to first understand some of the ways it can harm us.


Physical wellbeing

Excessive screen time has both short and long term effects on your physical health. In the short-term, you may develop poor posture, digital eye strain and such conditions that may affect your day-to-day life. While in the long-term, it has been linked to causing one to lead a more sedentary lifestyle. This puts one at risk for many different kinds of chronic diseases such as type ll diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (2).

Mental wellbeing

Constant online engagement has been shown to result in heightened anxiety and stress. The pressure we face to stay connected, meet unrealistic expectations and to maintain a perfect online image can rip away at our self esteem and contribute to the feelings of inadequacy. This can also result in feelings of isolation and depression (3).


Social wellbeing

Excessive use of digital technology also means that we have limited time for face-to-face interactions with our friends and family. Excessive reliance on digital communication limits our ability to form deep and meaningful relationships with others and also contributes to a sense of disconnect from others (2).



It is important to be able to recognise when you need to disconnect from such devices and technologies in order to fully be able to rest, rejuvenate and ensure optimal wellbeing. Let's look at some common signs that suggest that you may be in need of a Digital Detox.


Struggling to concentrate

Are you finding it difficult to concentrate on your daily tasks, activities or conversations because you are constantly checking for new updates and notifications on your phone? Spending long hours scrolling through social media? It may be time to consider a Digital Detox to restore and improve your concentration (5).


You spend more time than intended

Have you ever gotten hooked, scrolling from post after post and article after article. Next thing you know you have spent hours on your phone when you had only intended to check a notification initially. This is a sign that you need a break (5).


Poor sleep

Spending long hours on digital devices especially at night close to bedtime can keep you awake. This is because blue light from screens sends a signal to your brain that it is time to wake up. If you have been experiencing poor sleep, trying out a Digital Detox may be helpful in improving the quality of your sleep (5).


Using digital devices has become habitual for most of us, therefore making a digital detox plan can be very difficult to go through with. This is especially true when you do not know where to begin. To help you in completing a successful detox, I have included some useful tips to get you started on your journey.

  1. Set boundaries with your digital devices: Some examples of such boundaries can include setting a timer for how long you would want to use your digital device for, establishing phone free zones such as the bedroom or using the do not disturb feature (5).

  2. Let your friends and family know what you are doing: Your friends and family would be able to motivate and support you throughout your Digital Detox by avoiding unnecessary digital communications and celebrating your milestones with you (5).

  3. Opt for slower paced entertainment: Distracting yourself with other slo-paced entertainments such as reading, writing or slow cooking (for those who enjoy cooking) will help in preventing us from falling back into the habit of checking our phones and spending an hour (or more!) scrolling (5) .

It may be challenging to do a Digital Detox. But remember that everyone is different, hence what works for someone may not work for you. Do not feel discouraged. Take it a day at a time and do your best. If you still feel like you are not able to keep to the Digital Detox and you know that it is affecting your daily functioning, do seek help from a trained counselor or professional.


About the author

Amrita Kaur is a health and wellbeing intern at Actxa Wellness. She is currently pursuing her Master of Public Health from Griffith university and is passionate about educating people on how they can improve their Health.


References

  1. Timothy J. Legg. (2023, April 5). Negative effects of technology What to know?, MedicalNewsToday. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/negative-effects-of-technology

  2. HelpGuide.Org. (2023, March 29). Social media and Mental Health. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/social-media-and-mental-health.htm

  3. Joshua Becker. 5 Signs you need a technology detox.becommingminimalist https://www.becomingminimalist.com/technology-detox/

  4. Tabitha morrison. (2022. January 9). How to set personal boundaries with our Phone. TWIN CITIES MOM COLLECTIVE. https://twincitiesmom.com/how-to-set-personal-boundaries-with-your-phone/

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