We are full speed into 2019 and can you believe it? It’s March! How did that happen? Regardless, we’re here and March 8 is #NationalDayOfUnplugging so let’s talk about why you should take a digital detox. Aside from the obvious fact that we’re constantly connected to our phones and laptops, most often we’re out of touch with how attached we our to our devices. Going cold turkey from technology can feel a little scary, but there are health benefits to taking a digital detox including mental clarity, better health and increased creative stimulation. Wait! Don’t unplug yet—we’re just getting to the good stuff.
When we unplug from digital distractions, we can use our brain power to focus and gain clarity on things that matter to us. With this newfound focus we can conceive ideas and tap into a higher frequency of thought. Essentially, we’re applying ourselves at a more capable level.
Engage our Senses
Think of how many meals we eat without noticing the flavor because we’re looking at a screen. Truth is, when our noses are in a screen we’re losing sight of the world around us. We might not notice the cute puppy or smell the spring breeze if our senses are turned off. Ultimately, a digital detox reverses our being desensitized to the world around us.
Unplugging gives us the great opportunity to meet people face to face. In fact, we might even communicate better without the distractions of our devices. In turn, we create better relationships because we are deliberately putting one another first, as it should be. Sure, technology makes staying in touch convenient… but at what cost? Remember sitting down to hand-write a letter? There are non-tech ways to go above and beyond to show someone you care and stay in touch.
Creative Stimulation and Hobbies
What are you passionate about? Do you love to draw, paint, write, create, cook, play sports? The pressure to stay connected can actually snuff our creative outlets into near nonexistence. If we’re constantly nagged at by our to-do’s and obligations, are we creating or enjoying our pastimes? Cutting out time with tech can open up time for you to do what you truly enjoy.
During the nighttime blue light from our screens can disrupt our circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle. The light from screens buzz into our brains and keep us stimulated, which makes it harder to catch z’s. A digital detox is one of many ways to optimize your sleep.
Minimize Toxic Behavior
We’re falling into this trap of thinking that social media validates our worth. Worse, if we don’t live a life of luxury and excitement, we question our own quality of life. These comparison patterns creative anxiety, depression and generate narcissistic behaviors—all of which are toxic to our mental and emotional health.
The good news is that a digital detox clears up time for us. How we spend it is completely personal, but you will definitely notice an increase in productivity from having so much time on your hands! Consider those projects like cleaning the garage or closet, baking something delicious just for the fun of it, or getting your taxes done early. Clear up time to workout, pick up a new hobby or read a new book. Now, you’ll have time to really get things done that provide meaning and fulfillment in your life.
Tap into your flow
Throughout the day, we touch our phones an average of 80 times. Can you believe that? This stat beckons the question: are our smart phones smarter than us? Not quite, but it is easy to become a slave to our phones. Without the distraction of notifications and constant social media channels vacuuming us into our digital worlds, we can tap into our flow. It takes the mind several minutes to regain focus after being drawn away. Those minutes of rerouting add up big time, accounting for hours away from our focus and flow.
How to detox
So, now that we’ve talked about all the benefits of a digital detox, let’s outline a realistic approach. If you’re livelihood is highly dependent on staying connected you may have a hard time detoxing. That said, this may be a good time to figure out how to make changes that carve out time to unplug. Even a half-day is a great starting point!
You don’t have to swear off tech altogether. In fact, small changes can make a huge difference—uninstall your social apps, turn off phone notifications, choose days of the week to go TV free, buy an alarm clock instead of using your phone, etc.
How long should you detox for?
It depends on what your lifestyle can allow, but a great opportunity is coming up—March 8 is #NationalDayOfUnplugging. A good place to start is to evaluate how much time you spend connected. Use your iPhone or an app to track your phone time. Once you see your stats—warning, you may be alarmed—you know what you’re working with. A digital detox can be as short or long as you like. You may notice positive changes from unplugging for a few hours each day. Alternatively, you may want to take a few days off if you’re enjoying the freedom.
One of the best things about taking a digital detox is that it’ll actually show you how much time you have. Constantly being connected can generate stress from always being on the go or available to everyone. A digital detox is a great way to reclaim ownership over your life, time and overall happiness.
So, now that you’ve read this—you’re free to unplug!