Places Pointer: Reasons to do a digital detox
Set limits on your screen time
With screens virtually everywhere we go, it can be tricky to avoid them. From reading your little one’s favourite book to them on a tablet, to the alarm on your phone waking you up in the morning, or even using a self-checkout, screens are a common part of our everyday life which can make things even more challenging.
There are of course many benefits to digital devices. We can learn, work from, watch, and even by woken up by our phones all in one day! But with the average UK adult spending an average of just over four hours per day on their mobile devices alone, it could be time to set better boundaries with technology.
One solution to consider is doing a digital detox, which involves taking a break from using electronic devices for a period of time, this could be from a few days to several months. People who do a digital detox typically avoid:
- Scrolling through social media
- Checking emails
- Playing video games
- Watching TV
- Text messaging
Not doing one or all of these things may feel out of the ordinary, but digital detoxing is a great way to see if too much screen time is holding you back. The results of having some timeout can stay with you for life and change your health and wellbeing for the better, here are some of the benefits:
Access to more information through our digital devices is useful, but having too much to consume can be stressful. Constant notifications, emails, and updates on social media can also create a sense of urgency and compulsion, as our brains find it trickier to switch off.
Without multiple screens in front of us, we can improve our mental clarity by becoming more self-aware and present in the moment. It’s not just good for you, it can be good for the people around you, as you’re creating more freedom to pay more attention to them. If texting is something that you want to avoid during your detox, it can also encourage you to pick up the phone to chat with a family member or friend.
Technology can distract us from the more important tasks. You won’t be interrupted by notifications and other digital distractions once you unplug, which can help you gain more control of your time and concentrate on tasks that make you feel more productive and creative. Drawing has become a popular detox activity!
Electronic devices emit blue light that affects our circadian rhythm by suppressing the secretion of melatonin, the hormone which helps us sleep during the sleep-wake cycle, meaning sleep suffers because of increased screen time. By taking a break, you can allow yourself to the chance to relax and reset without the distraction of notifications and blue light keeping you up at night.
Wondering if you may need to detox? If using digital devices causes you to feel any of the following, it may be a sign that you need to switch off for good:
- Low mood
- Feeling insecure
- Loss of sleep or interrupted sleep
- Feeling pressured to consume, respond, or react online
- Increased irritability, frustration, or anger
If a digital detox is something you start to try out, it’s worth noting your own benefits you experienced to decide what aspects you’d like to keep or change moving forward. It doesn’t have to be a period where you cut off all screen time, a simple change could be something like using no digital devices while you’re having dinner.
Doing so could make digital detoxes become a sustained, necessary part of your life, not just a short break!
Sources: Digital Detox: What to Know (WebMD) | How to Do a Digital Detox for Less Stress, More Focus (Cleveland Clinic) | Average daily mobile usage in the United Kingdom from 2019 to 2022 (Statista) | 6 tips to reduce children’s screen time (Mayo Clinic Health System) | Blue light has a dark side (Harvard Health Publishing) | Why drawing is the perfect digital detox (BBC)