5 Signs You Need a Digital Detox
Date Posted:15 October 2017
Take a look around you. We are spending more time than ever in front of screens — swiping for dates, scrolling through filtered photos and searching for the perfect GIFs to send to our best pal. We do this for many reasons: it’s the way the world has developed, to feel more popular and even, to stay connected with everyone around us.
Unfortunately, all this screen time has negative implications. Instead of feeling popular, we feel like we’re always missing out, instead of staying in touch with the people around us, we’re more disconnected than ever.
Here are 5 signs that may indicate you need a digital detox. Now, we’re not saying you need to pull the plug entirely. You don’t need to go to the woods and live off the land. Instead, we offer some tips to stay sane while taking full advantage of the benefits of this big beautiful digital world.
1. You spend more time online than intended
It happens to the best of us. We go on Facebook to reply to one comment, only to follow a link to an article and then stay on for another and another and another. What you assumed would be a two-minute cruise by, turns out to be 20 minutes of mindless scrolling through all the cat memes ever made. If you find yourself spending big blocks of time online when all you wanted to do was find a phone number, then you need a digital detox.
Tip: Delete the apps on your phone that are your biggest time-sucks. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, when you only have access to them on your desktop, you’re less likely to waste time.
2. You're working in your free time
Another sign you may be in need of a digital detox is if you’re working in your free time. The rise of smartphones, cloud tech, and other tools, have had an unfortunate side effect. Instead of only increasing efficiency and productivity, they’ve also blurred the lines between work hours and free hours.
Are you answering emails from your bed at 9 p.m.? Are you replying to clients before you’ve even brushed your teeth? You may need a digital detox.
Tip: Discipline yourself (and your superiors) by setting healthy work-life boundaries. Choose a cutoff time, and do not reply to any emails after that.
3. Your self-esteem has dipped
Pinterest and Instagram might inspire you to be a modern-day Martha Stewart but how many times have you actually made a concrete planter for your not-so-fancy backyard?? Here’s the thing: early studies have discovered that more than 50 percent of surveyed social media users feel that using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter decreases their personal well being, has negative impact on their lives and damages their self-esteem. Say what?
It seems obvious, but if you’re feeling envy when you look at the sparkly lives other people are living, you need a social media detox pronto.
Tip: Be deliberate about who you follow and what kind of content you’re ingesting. Unfollow any accounts or people who kill your buzz.
4. You’re worried you’re missing out
Listen up: there are only so many hours in a day, and only so many days in a week and only so many weeks in a year. You can’t possibly do it all. So, if you find yourself constantly feeling left out of activities, or worried you’re missing out on an event, you should consider a digital detox.
Or at least some digital education. Fear of Missing Out, or FOMO for short, is a type of social anxiety mostly associated with smartphones and social networking sites and is characterised by feeling worried about missing social experiences or events.
As real as FOMO feels, it is almost impossible to do all the things. Embrace the truth that your time is limited and focus on spending that time doing things that matter. With a capital M.
Tip: When you feel FOMO, remind yourself that your time is limited and you’re choosing to participate in meaningful interactions only.
5. Your phone is always in your hand
Have your friends cracked “jokes” on your inability to put your phone down? Have you almost hit a street sign while walking because your eyes were on your screen? Honey, darling, baby angel you desperately need a digital detox.
Not only is it considered kind of rude to look at your phone during conversations with others, but it is also dangerous. Whether you use your phone while you’re on the toilet, or while you’re driving or while you’re at dinner, put it away. The online world will still be there when you return to it.
Tip: Turn your phone off (or put it on airplane mode) when you are socialising, driving, cooking, and yes, even walking. You know that invigorating herbal tea bath that you've been meaning to try? Now's the time! Leave your phone in your room and enjoy a well-deserved break.