I usually have a very strong dislike for fad detoxing, however there is one kind that I am a huge supporter of: the digital detox! For anyone who hasn’t heard of a digital detox, it is a ‘no electronics’ rule that lasts for as long as the individual wants. This idea is becoming more and more popular on social media. I feel that this is because of the increased pressure and expectation that now comes with social media feeds and the daily comparisons we all make. I have found that constantly being on my phone and refreshing my Instagram page can lead to damaging my mental health and leaving me feeling deflated and inferior in comparison to others’ seemingly ‘perfect’ lives.
Some people have a fear of being without their phone and panic when they cannot find it or forgot to bring it out with them. This used to be me! That is until I finally managed to detach myself from constantly having it in my hand and now only look at my social media and messages a couple of times a day. I have come to realise that I am not going to miss anything if I don’t look at it for a whole morning or afternoon. Instead of doing this I now try to read a book on my kindle to allow my mind to switch off for a couple of minutes.
For most people, from the minute they wake up to the moment they go to sleep, they’re online. This could be anything from a smartphone, satnav, social media or search engines. If I’m honest, I just mainly use my social channels to stalk other people’s filtered lives, discover new brunch spots and healthy cafes and have a nosey into friends and family photo uploads.
Apparently, the average adult spends 2 hours 51 minutes on their phone every day and therefore around 86 hours a month. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the internet is great and contains so much insight into current issues, articles and overall knowledge and social media is also amazing for connecting people, however, several studies have linked excessive scrolling to depression, poor sleep and even damage to spine and lungs thanks to the posture it encourages.
If the first thing you do in the morning is scroll and check your notifications and the last thing you feel that you have to do at night is do the same, then maybe it is time for a digital detox!
A couple of the online content creators that I closely follow and admire have recently also took the detox leap and below I have included a couple of quotes that I feel really sum up the importance of taking time out to disconnect from all of the technology constantly around us.
‘I’m a big fan of digital detoxing…During those digital detoxes I suddenly noticed I had so much more time in my day. I was more relaxed.’
Her advice to anyone looking to do a digital detox is to physically separate yourself from your phone. ‘At 9pm I leave my phone downstairs to charge, and I don’t look at it again until the morning.’
She says that having a job primarily in the online world means that she has, ‘…no off-duty time as there is always someone somewhere in the world who is awake. It can be a little overwhelming, not to mention damaging for your home life.’
Carly recently went away for three days in Joshua Tree and took this opportunity to have a digital detox with her partner. ‘At first we panicked. The silence was deafening but the more we listened, the more incredible we found it. It’s amazing how much more connected you feel to the world around you when you’re not constantly looking down or comparing your life to others.’
Ella did a digital detox over Christmas and found that, ‘…it was so refreshing to put my phone down. I really felt the benefit and was so much more productive and present, spending the time I might spend aimlessly scrolling through stranger’s feeds on the people around me instead; I stopping worrying about what anyone else might be doing.’
I know that a digital detox isn’t for everyone, but without experiencing what it is like to not be constantly on our devices, it is almost impossible for us to realise how much of a habit simply scrolling has become and how glued to our screens we are. Something that has really helped me is the app ‘Moment’. It keeps track of how long you’ve been on your phone and you can set a timer to tell you when you’ve been on it for too long. It even has its own 14 day phone bootcamp designed to help you get back a little more life.
If you give this for a go, even for a couple of hours a day, I really feel that you will be surprised by how much time you actually do soend scrolling when you could be doing other, arguably more productive, things.
Being online all of the time can be overwhelming sometimes, especially for me. The only downside that I have found to my digital detox is that it is possible to feel less inspired. I find that Instagram is such a fantastic place to get ideas for food, cafe recommendations, lifestyle routines and yoga and fitness content. Having said this, I would highly recommend trying; the detox allows me to switch off for a couple of hours, try to relax my mind and sleep better. It similarly gives me some more headspace and in my opinion leaves me feeling more energised.