Life is ALL about what's happening when you're NOT looking at your smartphone.
Modern culture is driven by and contingent on technology. Despite the vital role that technology plays in the advancement of society, our personal lives, and careers, the overuse of technology can be detrimental to our physical and mental health. Fortunately, a digital detox can be fundamental in the refocusing of our lives and the improvement of our wellbeing. In fact, digital detox and mental health are strongly interrelated, as it has been proven to be effective in sustaining an excellent mental health status.
As a business owner and an entrepreneur, I admit that unplugging is nearly impossible. However, it is important to understand and recognize the many advantages of digital detox so we view it as something we must do to achieve maximum personal and professional success rather than something maybe we'll do someday.
Here is everything you need to know about digital detox with additional tips, so you and I are better equipped to embark on a difficult yet rewarding digital detox challenge in 2020.
Time to begin! 📵
What Is a Digital Detox?
A digital detox is a period one purposely abstains from social media, smartphones, computers, and the internet, with the aim of improving mental health. Technology addiction is a fundamental problem impacting many people, including myself. Technology addiction has various adverse side effects that can range from short to long-term and mental to physical effects.
Is Technology Addiction a Real Problem?
I am sorry to say that the answer is yes. It is indeed a real problem and is deemed as tantamount to drug and alcohol addiction. In fact, computer/internet addiction is now recognized as a mental disorder and as such classified in the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). A 2014 study concluded that the global prevalence of technology addiction is 6%, which is three times more than that of pathological gambling, 2%. A digital detox program is an all-important option for the treatment of technology addiction.
What Are the Consequences and Effects of Technology Addiction?
Before delving into our digital detox program, it is important to understand the many physical and mental effects of tech and internet addiction. It does not only help us become more informed about digital detoxification, but also serves as motivation for us to persevere when embarking on our detox journey.
Below are a few harmful side effects of technology addiction, that also serve as motivation and a legitimate reason for a digital detox:
- Feelings of guilt
- Euphoric feelings when in front of the computer
- Inability to conform to schedules and deadlines
- Refrain from doing work
- Strained vision
- RSI (repetitive stress injury)
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Digital Detox Benefits
The benefits of digital detox are innumerable. We should both capitalize on these benefits for the sake of self-improvement. These benefits include:
- It Helps Create Physical Connections
One of the many uses of social media is the creation of connections across the globe. Though it may be advantageous to our careers or personal lives, most often we neglect creating bonds with the close people around us. To detox from social media may seem irrelevant at first. It will however have an enduring impact when crafting endearing relationships with your family, friends, loved ones, and the community. While on your digital detox journey, why not volunteer to get involved in your community, spend time with your loved ones, or even meet someone new?
- It Helps to Stop Multitasking & Declutters the Mind
Countless studies have outlined the inverse relationship between multitasking and productivity. Multitasking creates the false illusion that we are achieving a greater number of goals than we actually do. In reality it makes us more prone to errors, decreases our work speed, and reduces our concentration with negative outcomes. Digital detox helps to declutter our minds so we can concentrate on the primary issues on hand.
- It Increases Our Cravings to Be Freed from Our Digital Addiction
Digital detox withdrawal symptoms are a prevalent phenomenon that we will have to face during our detox journey. Thankfully, as we continue this journey, our digital detox withdrawal symptoms will gradually decline, and our desire to detox will increase. Strictly speaking, we will experience an increased eagerness to disconnect from our devices and live in the present. It is a great and exciting feeling that you can quickly get used to. 😆
- It Alleviates Physical and Mental Symptoms
Ultimately, if technology addiction leads to the previously mentioned physical and mental issues, nothing makes better sense than to remove the source. Creating a digital detox plan and adhering to it, will help us eliminate the use of various devices. If you are experiencing mild to severe physical and mental symptoms, it will be wise to focus on the benefits of a digital detox opposed to the harmful effects of technology addiction. This will help to reinforce the challenge to refrain from using technology for a short period.
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Top 6 Digital Detox Tips
You might be clueless as where to start once you have committed to take on the digital detox challenge. That's simply fine, I was clueless too. The best way to start is to create a plan that acknowledge the following questions:
- What are the goals you wish to accomplish?
- How will you incorporate these digital detox tips and steps into your daily schedule?
- Will you do a digital detox at home and/or at work?
- And how can you create a safety net to combat possible withdrawal symptoms?
After mapping out your personalized program, examine the following tips and determine ways of executing these actions in your life.
- Turn Off Alerts and Notifications
Turning off your smartphone alerts is a simple yet effective tactic to start with. The majority of phones come with a Do Not Disturb setting, or you even have the option to block notifications from email and certain apps. Taking this step will do wonders for your mental health, as a study conducted by Nottingham University reveals that approximately a third of all notifications and alerts can aggravate our moods. Subsequently, conducting a digital detox to enhance your quality of life is an easily achievable feat when implementing the necessary measures.
- Establish Tech-Free Zones
Creating tech-free zones when doing a digital detox at home or at work is another efficient way of combatting tech and social media addiction. Many people who have committed to a digital detox challenge, share their tech-free zones to be the dining room table, the car, and the bathroom. We can make use of these suggestions or discover and create our own device-free spaces. You can apply this tip to your personal or professional life, and it can be adopted by the whole family. Not only will it improve communication, but it can serve as a solid example for our children.
- Use Digital Detox Apps
I know, it may seem ironic to use technology for the treatment of technology addiction. The use of digital detox apps is an efficient and successful strategy and is worth considering. There are many apps to choose from, and they are available in our phone’s app store. You can customize the settings to suit your personal needs, likings, and objectives. Here are five useful, and easily downloadable, digital detox apps for either your iPhone or Android:
- Remain Devoted to Phone-Free Time
By devoting ourselves to established phone-free times, we will have to implement the Rule of Thirds. The Rule of Thirds offers guidelines to assist us with the organization of our daily schedules and technology use. It dictates that dividing 24 hours by 3, we will have 8 hours for rest, 8 hours for work and 8 hours of free time. In the 8 hours dedicated to work, it gives you the liberty of using your smartphone and computer only when deemed really necessary. On the other hand, in the 8 hours you have free, you are not allowed to use any technology. This method also contributes to an increase in productivity. As research suggests, working more than 40 hours per week can lead to a drastic reduction in productivity, called diminishing returns.
- Find a Detox Buddy
Building a healthy support system is another way to smooth the way for digital detox. Ideally, you ought to find someone who takes part in the same program as you. One feasible way is through a digital detox retreat, which is a fun and promising, new way to combat tech-addiction. As the name suggests, a digital detox retreat takes us out of our hectic environment and places us in a natural haven with a reliable support regime. It is a peaceful and serene setting. Instead of a digital detox retreat, you can choose a dependable person who is close to you as your detox buddy during this period. 🤝
- Let Your Friends and Loved Ones Know
Informing your friends and loved ones of your digital detox process serves two extremely beneficial purposes:
- It will help them understand why you will not be reachable or available for non-urgent matters
- They can offer additional love and support during this process.
It is important for the people close to us to be aware of your changed circumstances; when you start and end your digital detox.
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Starting a digital detox challenge may seem scary and impossible to achieve. But if we break it down into steps and apply the aforementioned tips, we will realize our digital detox objectives and mental health goals are not only attainable but will also bear fruit.
More About Us...
Blue Ocean Life is a supportive community of wellness warriors and socially conscious professionals who are uniting to promote positive mental health and wellness for society as a whole. Because digital detox worked for many of us, the Blue Ocean Life team recommends a digital detox for a week every two months. It is a wonderful way to reconnect with the physical and spiritual world while preventing the copious adverse effects of tech-addiction.
To showcase our devotion and championing for digital detox, we have carefully designed the Diamond Collection that represents the four natural elements: earth, wind, fire, and water. The four sides of the diamond symbolize this concept, hence its reputable name. It is a constant reminder to disconnect from the electronic realm and reconnect with nature. 🏞️