We have all heard of the term “detox”. While this usually refers to diets to rid our bodies of toxins and other unhealthy elements, there is a new type of “detox” that is fast becoming popular.

Enter the “digital detox”.

A digital detox refers to a period of time when one abstains from using tech devices such as smartphones, televisions, computers, tablets, and social media sites.

Photo by Ola Dapo from Pexels

With the proliferation of seemingly never ending connectivity, there are increasing reports of stress and burn out that appear related to such constant connectivity.

So, much like a meat or alcohol detox, a digital detox works in a similar way.

Here are six reasons why a digital detox may be just what you need.

  1. Stress Release and Reboot

If you are constantly looking at your devices, your “to-do” list may seem never-ending such that if you don’t “pull the plug”, at least temporarily, you will never be able to let go of the stress that stems from constant connectivity.

Taking a break for a fixed amount of time gives you the space you need to unwind and reset before entering the fray once more.

2. Improving your Sleep

Some studies have shown that heavy device use, especially when used close to bedtime could disrupt sleep quality and quantity. Studies have also found a connection between nighttime tech use and increased body mass index.

Researchers have also found that in-bed electronic social media use has adverse effects on sleep and mood. A study has found that 70% of participants checked social media on their phones while in bed, with 15% spending an hour or more on social media while in bed. The results found that using social media when you are in bed at night increases the likelihood of anxiety, insomnia, and shorter sleep duration.

3. Alleviating Mental Health Concerns

A study published in the journal Child Development found that heavy daily technology use was associated with an increased risk for mental health problems among adolescents. More time spent using digital technologies was linked to increased symptoms of ADHD and conduct disorder, as well as poor self-regulation.

4. Reducing Unhealthy Comparisons

If you spend time on social media, you have probably found yourself comparing your own life to the lives of your friends and family. Even total strangers, and celebrities!

You might find yourself misguidedly presuming that everyone else seems to be leading a fuller, richer, or more exciting life based on the tiny, curated glimpse you see on their Instagram or Facebook posts without consciously reminding yourself that this is just a snapshot of the life they choose to show which may not be representative of reality.

5. Cutting out FOMO

Fear of missing out, known as FOMO, is the fear that you are missing the experiences that everyone else is having. Constant connectivity can feed this fear. Every time you see a curated image or post about someone else’s life, it can leave you feeling as if your life is less exciting than theirs. You might find yourself overcommitting to social events out of the fear that you’ll be left behind, overwhelming yourself physically, mentally and emotionally as a result.

FOMO can also keep you constantly checking your device out of fear that you are going to miss an important text, DM, or post. 

Doing a digital detox is one way to set boundaries and reduce your fear of missing out. The key is to do it in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling cut off from what’s happening in your digital world.

As the saying goes, comparison really can be the thief of joy. Detoxing from your social connections can be a good way to focus on what’s important in your own life without comparing yourself to others. A digital detox can be a time for recalibration and self awareness.

6. Maintaining Work/Life Balance

That feeling of always being connected can make it difficult to create healthy boundaries between your home life and work life. Even when you are at home or on vacation, it can be hard to resist the compulsion to check your email, respond to a text from a colleague, or check in on your social media accounts. 

Doing a digital detox may help you establish a healthier, less stressful work-life balance.

Watch this space for our follow up article on how to do a digital detox successfully and effectively…..

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