Do the little red bubbles on your smartphone’s inbox drive you crazy until you clear them? Does the alarm on your phone wake you up each morning, and are you instantly sucked into the tidal wave of alerts? Are you aimlessly scrolling social media in bed before you fall asleep each night? Is your phone within arms reach 100% of the time, and do you panic when the battery starts to run low? If all of these questions produced a resounding “YES!” then it might be time for a digital detox.
Constantly Connected, Time For A Digital Detox
It is incredibly common today to be constantly connected to our smartphones. However, this endless connectivity could be affecting our mental wellness. The stress of having work email on our phone means we can no longer go home and shut it off. Constant news updates alert us of terror all over the world. We may start to feel a need for validation from social media. We might even lose hours in a day spent on distracting apps that zap our productivity. The never-ending stimulus may be prohibiting us from ever feeling completely at ease. It might be time for a digital detox.
That being said, the incredible convenience of having our whole world in a tiny hand-held computer is undeniable. From banking to grocery lists, technology has found a way in to every aspect of our lives. It is amazing to stay connected to family across the country and have a reminder to pick up dry our cleaning in one device. However, with all the benefits that our smartphones provide, it is important to remember that every now and again we need to disconnect and give our brains, our eyeballs, and our psyche a little break. If the thought of letting go of your phone for more than a few hours stresses you out, there are a few simple shifts you can try to scale back on the co-dependency.
Buy an alarm clock. You know – the clocks we all had before we had phones next to our bed with the bell that rang when it was time to get up? It is time to bring back that good old-fashioned unit. Now, with your fancy new/old clock, you can plug your phone in across the room so you no longer mindlessly scroll before bed and when you wake up in the morning. Fall asleep by reading a book instead, or enjoying some pillow talk with your partner. Wake up slowly and spend a few minutes quietly contemplating your thoughts before the emails and alerts come crashing in.
Create a healthy work-life balance. Delete your work email from your personal cellphone. Unless work is paying for your phone, or you are being compensated to be on call 24/7, then you may have a strong argument in your favor to remove your work email account from your personal cellphone. Without this 24/7 connection to the office, it might feel much easier to go home and transition out of work-mode so you can refresh and reset before returning to the office the next day.
Go off the grid for the weekend. Head into the woods for a camping trip where cellphone reception is non-existent. If that seems like too much too soon, choose one sacred Saturday per month to be without your phone. Leave it at home and meet your friends for brunch, head to the beach for a few hours without it, release yourself from the grip of technology and see just how freeing it can feel!
Put simply, if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, consider putting down your phone. Just like your dad used to unplug the VCR for a few hours when it wasn’t working, unplug your self from your cellphone for a little while and see if a short digital detox is just what you need to feel clear-headed once again.