August 25, 2022
Our lives are guided to a great extent by digital technology these days. We are surrounded by screens, notifications pop up at all times, and we learn about the important things in our friends’ or relatives’ lives through social media.
There’s no denying that technology is convenient – indeed that is the whole point of it. It is far easier to keep in touch, to plan things ahead, and to multitask with its help. But this almost complete reliance on technology is also making us suffer by introducing changes to our brain and body functions.
This negative aspect of technology is the reason Digital Detox has become such a buzzword in recent times. What is it, and how can you use it to your advantage? Read on!
Digital Detox typically means some form of abstinence from technology and technological devices. We sometimes follow a certain diet to minimize the harm done to our body by bad food habits. Digital Detox does the same for your brain. Technology is an inevitable part of our lives today. While we can’t completely discard it, we can at least try to minimize the harmful effects it has on us. Digital Detox is incorporating planned tech-abstinence into your routine.
Now, this is easier said than done. Technology has an addictive effect on most of us. We also rely on it for a lot of very important things, and that can create anxiety. So the temptation to fall back into old habits during a detox period can be strong. Here are a few ways you can plan your detox while managing these temptations.
One of the best ways to do a Digital Detox is complete abstinence for a period, but that might create problems when you are on your usual routine. That is why vacations are a great way to incorporate tech-abstinence. Choose a location that has little or no connectivity so you will be forced to go without, even when you are tempted.
Keep a specific window of time every week when you will not look at or use any technological devices. It might be impractical to do so during the week when you might be busy. It is easier to follow the abstinence routine when you specify the period and keep it manageable so that anxiety doesn’t kick in. Start small, maybe 5-6 hours over the weekend, and then later build it up to 12 hours or more – of course, at your convenience.
Phone and laptop screens have a bright blue light that tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime and hence hampers your sleep. Keep these devices away from the bed and, if possible, the bedroom entirely, as a rule. For those who need to set alarms, use an old-fashioned alarm clock instead of setting it on your phone. Or keep the phone in a place that is close to the bed yet not visible from it.
Apart from being bad manners, looking at a phone while eating or keeping it on the table is bad for your body and brain alike. When you don’t concentrate on your food, your digestion is affected. Also, meal times are usually family affairs and a good opportunity to spend some quality time with your family members face to face. Taking devices with you to the table will act as a temptation and shift your mind away from the present. Ditch the phone, focus on the food and the family.
Go outside, preferably in the sun, when you are doing a Digital Detox. Technology is focused on making our lives comfortable, but that often means we don’t get enough exercise or outdoor time. Both are necessary for a healthy body and mind. Take a walk, go to the beach, have a picnic with your family.
All of us have done this – scroll through that Facebook or Instagram feed for some time when the work gets overwhelming. But these feeds are still showing you information: images, videos, texts – all on a glowing screen. Your brain experiences a jerk each time you do that, and it has trouble getting you back to the work space again. Every time you digress, it becomes a little harder to re-focus on the job.
Instead, take a power nap. Or look outside the window. Get up from your chair and grab some coffee. Anything but looking at another screen.
Digital Detox is not an easy habit to initiate, given our dependence on technology. But it is extremely rewarding in the long term and also manageable if you do it in a planned manner. The above tips should help!