We all already know we need this. Just do it.
Can you remember when was the last time that you spent an entire day without ever glancing at your smartphone, laptop, television, or whatever device it is that has you hooked? If that day feels like a distant past, it’s time for a digital detox. If your body needs a detox, so does your mind. Here’s why and how you can disconnect to connect and get in touch with yourself and the people who really matter.
Why should we even attempt a digital detox?
The most important people deserve our full attention.
You might have been at the receiving end of the Bad Conversationalist, or you might have been the said perpetrator of conversations that are constantly interrupted with “ Wait ah, I check my phone.”
Not only is it annoying for your companion of the day, you may also miss some important details or nuances of your conversations if you’re constantly distracted. Get rid of unnecessary distractions and you’ll see how much deeper you can engage with the people who truly matter to you. You may be surprised at how a deep conversation and the moments of silence with one person could feel much more nourishing than hundred Instagram likes.
You’re starting to lose focus and you’re sick of that.
You find it more and more difficult to read a book or even watch a movie without pausing to look at something potentially more entertaining. You have an assignment due, a project to deliver, but you’d check out the Facebook profiles of people whom you don’t even care about, or go on another bout of online window-shopping.
Sounds familiar? You’re not alone. Apparently, we may now have an attention span that’s shorter than a goldfish’s.
Ditch your devices for a day or two, meditate, exercise, and get your tasks done. If you need the Internet for research, give yourself a short time limit to get all the information you need, and then disconnect.
You’re sick of waking up feeling tired
It could be a sluggish body, or it could just be poor sleep hygiene. If you’re on your computer or phone all the way till bedtime, that may be the reason why you aren’t getting quality sleep. Blue light from your devices may be interfering with quality sleep, making it difficult for you to truly rest at night.
If going on a week-long tech detox feels too much like a fantasy, then start with smaller objectives like making sure you’re not surfing on your laptop or phone two hours before bedtime.
You need quality time with yourself
Quality time alone doesn’t just mean being in a space with no one else. It’s not much of an alone time if you’re replying your Whatsapp and Messenger chats. Some people find it incredibly hard to be alone and need to fill themselves with activities and distractions. If you’re one of them, perhaps it’s time to try and truly pause to reflect, ponder, and let yourself feel all the emotions that arise in you, good or bad.
Instead of reaching out for your phone when a difficult thought arises, channel that into a creative response, be it a little dance, art, a poem, or whatever it is that lets you express yourself while creating something new. You may even learn something new about yourself, or get a precious insight.
Go at your own pace
Interested in trying out a digital detox? Treat this like a heath and fitness program and go at your own pace. Some are able to, and are in fact longing to ditch all devices for the whole weekend. If you’re feeling squeamish about that, then start small habits that may be even more sustainable than a cold-turkey withdrawal.
For starters, make it a point to not use your computer, phone, or even television for one to two hours before bedtime and forbid yourself to check your phone the moment you wake up. Use an old school alarm clock so the phone is not the first thing you hold in your hands in the morning.
Plan for half-day or full-day detox. This could induce a bit of anxiety but if you really must, tell your colleagues, friends, or family about how you’re not going to be contactable for a while.
Think that was a piece of cake and you’re ready for more? Sign yourself up for a mediation retreat, go for a multi-day trek, and schedule a permanent once-a-week detox.