Digital Detoxing: Try these tips to escape the overwhelming world of digital devices
A constant presence on your phone can be overwhelming and cause a great deal of stress
Do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media for hours, whiling away valuable time, time that could be spent on productive tasks or used to meet deadlines on the latest project you've been assigned? Do you find yourself getting anxious without the presence of a rectangle box in your hand?
A constant presence on your phone can be overwhelming and cause a great deal of stress, self-image problems, low self-esteem, sleep problems, unhealthy eating habits, lack of time management, work ethic problems, anxiety and depression.
Experts say that heavy smartphone use can cause changes in your brain. Every swipe, every like, and every comment sends a hit of dopamine to the same area of your brain that responds to addictive drugs like cocaine.
Smartphone addiction is a serious problem that has been taking over the world. Despite not being a medical diagnosis, it is still a serious issue and is one to be wary of. Stories of children and adults growing violent, losing patience, and experiencing high levels of stress are all over the internet, causing apprehension over extensive mobile usage. In such a world, digital detoxing is extremely crucial.
Although extended smartphone usage is detrimental to our mental health and self-image, it is impractical to suggest that we give up our devices altogether. They make up a huge part of our lives, both for personal and professional purposes. Digital Detoxing offers a healthy way to deal with the stresses of the digital world.
How to practise Digital Detoxing:
Pay attention to your emotions when you use your phone
Social Media contains a huge deal of controversial stories along with fake curated content that could sometimes leave us envious, drained, jealous or angered among many other negative emotions. It makes us aware of too many things at the same time, leaving us overwhelmed and guilty about things in the world we can't change on our own. Consider why you use your phone at certain times. Are you bored? Do you need it for work or academic purposes? Does checking your phone make you feel better or worse? If it's causing you problems, attempt to reduce the amount of time you use it every day.
Schedule Time Away From Screens Throughout the Day
Make it a point to put your phone away when you do not need it. Avoid using your phone during mealtime or bathroom breaks. A study published in the journal Environment and Behavior in 2014 discovered that even if we aren't checking our phones, simply having them on the table during a conversation can reduce the quality of the interaction. You can also try setting reminders on your phone that let you know when to catch a break.
Use apps to track your usage
Several social media apps have trackers that monitor how much time you spend on the app. There are features to assist you minimise your app usage. Some apps can even restrict your access to social networking sites for a set period of time or provide you with a thorough report on where you're wasting your time. This can help you reduce your reliance on your phone and regain some control. iPhone users can set limits using the Screen Time feature. Digital Wellbeing works similarly on Google devices.
Disconnect at night before bedtime
Attempt to disconnect or turn off your phone before going to bed, use the DO not Disturb or set a timer for 9 or 10 pm. Extensive phone use can interrupt your sleep habits; this will assist you in developing a bedtime routine and improving your sleep.
Turn off notifications
Having your notifications on will keep you on high alert for the notification sound, and will serve as a distraction to your main tasks. Turning it off can help defeat the urge to keep checking your phone every time it makes a sound,
Create no-phone areas
It would be a good idea to have no phone zones in your house or office where phone use is prohibited. This will help create spaces for you to relax and give you freedom from mindless scrolling and self-sabotaging through your phone.
Clean up your social media accounts
Set monthly or seasonal reminders to clean your phone. Remove content, followers, comments, notes or messages that are no longer of use or produce negative emotions. Cleaning your phone could also help in improving your mood and in protecting your self-image.
Take precautions to protect your eyes
Continuous exposure to the blue light emitted by our devices can cause harm to our eyesight, or cause other eye-related problems. Consider seeing an optometrist when you have to spend significant periods on your devices.