When Should I Take a Digital Detox?

Smartphones have entrenched their existence into people’s lives. From communicating to availing other services such as carpool, food delivery, and online shopping, it has become a necessity in everyone’s mundane activities.  

However, despite the range of benefits people experience from having the convenience of having smartphones, it has its own disadvantages too.  

Studies link too much screen time to higher chances of depression and mood changes occurring.  High screen time also physically alters your brain, affecting the cortex. The cortex is an essential part of processing information.  

Digital detox comes in when the harmful effects of too much screen time affect your everyday life, which can manifest as poor sleep quality, poor time management, self-image problems, and stress.  

 

How To Do a Digital Detox?  

  • Find a hobby: find something that you find enjoyable to do, while doing that, leave your phone in another room or leave it on airplane mode.  
  • Turn off notifications: the mobile pings can be addicting and can feel too demanding for your immediate attention. Use your mobile phone’s feature to schedule turning on or off notifications, especially when working hours are over.  
  • Disconnect before bedtime: phone usage before bedtime can disrupt your sleep. Disconnecting before going to bed can help you get better sleep.  
  • Dedicate a tech-free day to do other outdoor activities or spend time with loved ones.  

 

Why Do a Digital Detox?  

You can reap certain benefits if you choose to unplug for a while. Some of these benefits include:  

  • Getting better sleep: using your phone before bed keeps your brain alert and hinders melatonin from being released. Melatonin is a chemical that helps you relax and sleep.  
  • Being more content: social media tends to influence the way you perceive yourself, leading you to compare yourself to others. When you veer away from social media, you gain a better perspective of yourself, and you get the chance to focus on your own life.  
  • Better mental health: multiple studies found that smartphone use reduction resulted in improvements among participants with mild to moderate depression symptoms.  

 

There are some inconsistencies in the findings of the study. One study found no effect on the psychological well-being of participants after digital detox intervention. More studies are needed to understand under which circumstances a digital detox can be helpful.  

However, if you feel that time off from your phone will be a significant addition to your self-care routine, you are free to do a self-imposed digital detox.  

 

SOURCES: https://nida.nih.gov/sites/default/files/NIDA_YR18_INS3_ACTION_StuMag_2pg_508.pdf  

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20501579211028647  

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/20501579211028647#bibr5-20501579211028647  

https://www.webmd.com/balance/what-is-digital-detox#:~:text=Unplugging%20yourself%20from%20your%20devices,can%20lower%20your%20stress%20levels.  

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-to-do-a-digital-detox  

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