Our life of hyper-connectivity is more familiar to us and we will not have it any other way. Let us admit that most of our tech devices are at arm’s length.
The dependence has changed many metaphors for us and introduced many terms as well. For example, the idea of relaxing at home became ‘binging on Netflix’, our social interaction is just a ping on our smartphones, and each day we are getting more and more used to satiate our appetites with media diets, which include crib-worthy stalking of people in general and celebrities in particular on social media.
Most of us know it and admit to being addicted to social media, and you should know it too if you have been just grumbling about the privacy concerns in this digitally dominated era and next moment scrolling what is fed to you on the social media.
The gluttonous digital life is taking a toll and sometimes a quick remedy starts with acceptance of this fact. A simple “yes” to change so that we are able to find a sustainable and balanced way to manage our tech usage just like we try it with other things in life, for example, the Carb cleanses, body and mind detox.
Just like we monitor our dietary calories, there is an immense need of keeping a check on digital calories as well. So, here is an addition to the cleansing rituals - The Technology Cleanse.
The tech-cleanse also preferred to be termed as digital detox is a process wherein you train your mind to function without overdependence on the ever-growing new technology while making sure that you enjoy a perfect holiday or just a day off. According to the dictionary definition of the same, Digital detox is a period wherein a person refrains from using electronic devices such as the computers and smartphones, regarded as one of the opportunities to focus on social interaction and reduce stress.
For many of us, our jobs depend on the usage of technology and this term might only help us going towards an anxiety attack faster. But the truth is, in today’s work atmosphere, it is quintessential to create a balance between work as well as personal life because stealing a glance just to check your phone in between a very intimate conversation can have its repercussions, not today but tomorrow.
Our sleep should be independent of our Instagram scroll rampage that we undertake every night while obsessing over posts of people we do not even know and there is a good chance that we will never know.
It does not matter how educated you are or how aware you are about what this addiction does to you, because knowingly or unknowingly the shadowy impacts of the technology have been more than visible, and we have paved way towards the negative feeling of disconnection and jealousy at the same time.
This is a price too much for something that might not actually be helping us.
Take a Quiz to Know If It is Time
Now, if you just started nodding your head in negative, you might just want to cross check. The thing is that denial can be just as much damaging. The cure to any disease starts with acknowledging that there is a disease in the first place.
We are not trying to compare the digital addiction to a disease, but then everything that harms fall in kind of the same category.
Try answering these questions and see for yourself whether or not you are in a need of a digital detox.
- Do you experience a panic mode if your phone dies?
- Has your partner, a friend or a colleague already complained about your attention being distracted as you always steal a glance to check your phone?
- Do you sleep right next to your phone and look for it first thing in the morning?
- Have your definitions of spare time changed as you have moved on to complete digital mode whether it is playing games, or binge-watching a series on Netflix?
- Do the social media make you feel inferior or negative about the life you lead?
- Do you yourself feel frustrated the way you spend a lot of time online and there is little time left to do something else?
- Do you scarcely reach the end of an article as you tend to dismiss almost everything in the first few seconds only?
This right here is a reality check. If you answered yes to most or all the questions, it is time to evaluate yourself again and see if there is scope for improvement. You are not alone in the quest for better life and no one needs to feel guilty about this as technology has got the best among us.
But there is always a way. Many might argue that the way we put it, we are demonizing a great advancement of our times as technology has been a lifesaver. The point is, while we agree to the fact that technology has made our life easier, this is also a fact that overdependence has also taken a toll much heavier than we could imagine.
Our brains are dependent on the technology even for the simplest of things and we have stopped testing our potential, which should not be okay with anyone. Our relationships have taken a hit and there is no point denying that technology cleanse is the need of the hour for us to live harmoniously while keeping our minds logically operative and our relationships healthy for a longer term.
How to Start?
The excessive use of the digital device is something that most of us cannot get away with and we need to start today for an absolutely fantabulous tomorrow. The digital detox is a process with multi-stages.
Each stage helps you to cope with the change. The first stage includes preparing for the detox. Here you might need to answer some crucial questions for yourself to stay in line and focuses.
- Assessment for the Technology Cleanse
This stage involves prepping for the detox by knowing the need and examining its scope. The first stage starts by evaluating as to why a detox is needed; acknowledging the fact that the addiction is harming somehow and working towards the betterment.
Then, start by making a list of the electronic devices that you use every day. This may include Phone, Tablet, Computer, iPod, Kindle, PlayStation or more.
Once the devices are identified, you will need to choose a place to start the ritual of trying to start living without these devices. Then comes the most important part of “when”?
Most of us have jobs and we cannot afford to just stay aloof for days together. For a digital detox, we have to prepare in advance by taking care of chores in advance. Do not forget to inform family and friends that you will be off the radar so that they stay worry-free.
- Start the Detox
This is the toughest part- Fighting the temptations of checking your social media feed. The key is to keep yourself busy with something productive. How about that hobby you forgot after you laid hands on your smartphones?
Try including jogging, crafting, gardening, outdoor sports, and so much more. Make the goal more tempting by setting out a reward for yourself.
You can help yourself if you can find a friend who is ready to do it with you. Lock the gadgets for some time and ask people around you to keep encouraging you for more.
Start with small goals, for example, a day without Facebook. Start with partial cleanse just like the #DinnerMode movement by Sloane Davidson, who is an activist and renowned speaker.
The movement talks about setting your phone on airplane mode while having dinner with your friends or family. You can start with 15 minutes to an hour and keep the phone away from sight.
- The takeaway
While you are away from your gadgets including your phone, it might give you a lot of time to think. You might be able to feel the results in one way or another. Your social interactions will change, and you may also be able to gain a new perspective on life and will not feel time slipping away anymore.
Here is What Digital Detox Has Got in store for You
Digital Detox or technology cleanse will change your life for better and it might be the best detox for self-care besides cutting on the sugar, gluten, and fat intake.
1. The detox will help you sleep better
According to one of the researches conducted at the Centre for Disease control and prevention, one-third number of total adults living in America are not able to get the seven-hour minimum sleep which is recommended for the healthy functioning of the body.
According to Dr. Chris Idzikowski, a UK sleep expert, there is an increase in junk sleep, the kind of sleep which is not of appropriate quality or quantity that our brain requires to function properly. The reason is that our sleep is more and more deprived because of our dependence on our laptops and phones.
The National Sleep Foundation talks about the continuous light exposure from the screens of our devices and how it stimulated wakefulness. A digital detox can finally get us some rest.
2. Your eye health will improve
Dr. Timothy Ehlen, a comprehensive ophthalmologist explains how our eyes are able to see only a small fraction of electromagnetic spectrum, also called the visible light, which ranges between 390-700 nm. According to him, the devices including phones and computers emit blue light with a wavelength between 380-500 nm which are short but high energy waves and can cause anything between eye discomforts to permanent retinal damage.
Also known as digital eye strain, we are at a risk of dry eyes, near-sightedness, headaches, blurred vision and eye fatigue. Our eyes may actually stay healthy if we take a path of Digital detox and give our eyes some rest which is long overdue.
3. Your productivity will touch new heights
According to the Harvard Business Review, people who focus on many things at a time are less productive than the ones who focus on one thing at a time. Now applying the same scenario in our situation, we are texting on our phone while listening to music from our iPod and trying to read something on the computer.
Our distractions are in front of us and all we need to do is take a look at our daily habits. Digital detox might actually help us regain the focus on the actual thing that we are supposed to work on.
According to Dr. Yvonne Thomas, a psychologist, and therapist based in Los Angeles, digital detox makes a person feel more aware, more rested, more productive and less stressed out.
4. It will boost your connection with family and friends
Having a smartphone at our disposal every second of the day made it easier for us to connect with whosoever we want in almost no time. But, it has taken from us more than we could compensate with a text message.
We are no longer familiar with a family outing where you can actually talk to each other and connect emotionally. Keeping your devices at bay and having an actual interaction without any distractions including the need to constantly check your phone will help to engage in real terms and keep the relationship intimate.
Digital detox will keep any kind digital distractions aside and you can save yourself from sending mixed signals to your partner regarding what is more important. According to the research conducted by doctors Julie and John Gottman, successful couples connect by turning towards the partner about 86% of the time and every such relationship requires paying attention, which is not possible if you stay glued to the phone.
5. Digital detox will improve the posture
Besides taking care of mental health, digital detox can come handy while taking care of the physical health as well. According to Dr. Lara Castagnetti, Orthopaedic and Osteopath rehabilitation specialist, Tech related abnormal posture issues are on the rise and the issue gets its neck up every time we check our email, chat or simply browse.
Our phones strain our neck up to six times more than what is normal, and many studies have found a relationship between posture and memory. Slouchy posture may adversely affect your mind and digital detox encourages us to stay aware and avoid excessive use of every device that hampers our health.
So, sit straight and live healthily.
6. Digital Detox will fight obesity
Constantly sitting on a computer or scrolling the phone keeps you away from physical activities that might have been beneficial otherwise. According to one more medical research, technology has made us more and more sedentary and this is very well reflected in our daily habits.
Sitting constantly triggers obesity as our body adapts to less energy consumption, which in turn accumulates fat. Dr. Scott Lear, a professor at Simon Fraser University found in his research that the increased uptake of the modern conveniences including smartphones has triggered the rate of diabetes and obesity by sitting too much while consuming a lot of calories.
Technology cleanse encourages us to get up and move around.
Digital Detox has more to offer and has a capacity to improve our lives to a great extent. The constant dependence on the new technology and the devices which it offers has staggered our fitness quotient in terms of physical and mental health.
It is better to switch to the digital detox in order to get the best out of what life has to offer and it is time to give yourself another chance.