Do you often find yourself trawling through Instagram just before going to bed? Waking up and checking your emails before you even have a shower or a coffee? Former Facebook chief marketing officer Randi Zuckerberg hit the nail on the head when she said that people need to understand that while “the phone is an amazing tool, we own our devices, they don’t own us.” It’s time for your digital detox.
The average smartphone user checks their phone 221 times a day. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a digital detox as “a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.”
By periodically unplugging, you can start reclaiming real life experiences rather than living in a virtual world. So how can we get this started?
Appreciate the silence – We have become so accustomed to filling every spare moment with digital noise. Try hitting reset on your brain from time to time and take a few moments to just let your mind wander. Be comfortable with silence, slow down and be present in the moment without the glow of a screen.
Kick technology out of the bedroom – Give yourself a technology curfew and when you say “lights out” actually mean it. Harvard researchers have found that technological devices such as phones, tablets and laptops can disrupt melatonin production, sleep quality and mood. To avoid temptation, banish your devices from the bedroom and try using an old fashioned alarm clock!
Socialise in the real world – Let’s face it, how many of the people you follow on your social media are actually your close friends? At 1am when you are struggling to sleep, do you really need to look at pictures of what they ate for lunch? Whilst social media can have its uses and be a positive influence, it can have a negative effect on our wellbeing as a result of comparing our lives to those carefully edited for show.
Hit the pause button – Be conscious of how often you check your phone – next time you go to reach for technology, hit the metaphorical pause button. Take a breath and think about what you are going to get out of it. Is there a more meaningful and productive way to spend your time, such as going for a walk and getting some fresh air and movement instead?
We get 525,600 precious minutes a year, how you choose to spend them is up to you.
“If it doesn’t add to your life it doesn’t belong in your life”