A period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smart phones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus social interaction in the physical world.
Do you remember that quiet space in your mind before the internet began?
If you can’t……maybe its time for a digital detox!
Computers and smartphones have totally changed the way we live our lives now, in some ways its for the better….. but is being better connected making us more disconnected?
Recently I’ve just been trying to remember what life was like before I was constantly checking my mobile, I had 9 year olds showing me how to use my iPad (and navigating their was round it quite effortlessly) and my 77 year old mother was up until 2am playing Bejeweled!!
In the UK since 2010 our daily total media consumption has risen from 8 hours 48 minutes to more than 11 hours, says Ofcom, largely thanks to the rise of smartphones.
This means we now consume media for more hours than we sleep. Scary!
For many of us our phone, iPad and laptops are the first thing we look at in the morning and the last thing we interface with before we go to sleep. This abundance of online interaction has revealed just how vulnerable we are to the forces of distraction, and its one of my worse habits, I’m a late night scroler!
Over the past year this term digtital detox and the trend of unplugging to recharge seems to be slowly sweeping the world and inspiring overstimulated individuals to ditch their devices in favour of genuine connection. I’ve also noticed retreats being set up to help people get off the gadgets and get the balance back!
This might seem a bit drastic to some people but according to several studies internet addiction disorder is now a recognised problem!
When frequent internet users turn off their devices they undergo withdrawal symptoms similar to those experienced by drug users according to a 2013 study at Swansea and Milan Universities.
In another report some people would rather go without food and other daily staples than be without their mobile devices. And it was reported the high stress levels people felt if they couldn’t get wi fi, and anxiety when their battery was running out on their devices.
To me it sounds like digital dependence is getting out of control!
Although I don’t find myself in these extremities my personal quest for a digital detox has been quite a challenge.
So recently I decided to do a few things to “switch off” a bit without not totally going off the grid ….
♥ Instead of checking social media throughout the day I’ve blocked out time to check it all in one go. In some weird, wonderful way it makes me feel more free!
♥ I’ve managed my application alerts. Having a constant stream of updates only adds to your fear of missing out (FOMA) stress which we really don’t need in our lives.
♥ I don’t know if you’re like me but I subscribe to all kinds of newsletters which half of I never read. So I went on a big delete/unsubscribe sweep through my overflowing inbox and got rid of all the digital clutter. I highly recommend it!
♥ I’m managing my screen time. I do a lot of work on my computer but I’m allocating a certain amount of hours each day and its set in stone, just so I don’t overdo it. Its good to do this if you have kids on the internet.
♥ Go out without your phone for the day, even if you can do it just for a few hours its brilliant. I tried it recently and at first I felt a bit anxious but at the same time it was really exhilarating. Being connected to nothing but nature or your surroundings wherever you are is good for the soul.
♥ I’ve always had a feeling of overwhelming pressure to keep up with social media and wasted so much time on the net trying to do this. Not anymore. Just because something is “new” or “everybody is on it” doesn’t mean you have to. If it doesn’t light you up, interest you or its not alignment with what you believe in then why bother.
On a recent trip to the opticians I was convinced I needed glasses, my eyes often go a bit blurry and hurt. After the test I was told my eyes were totally fine and my symptoms were just eye strain.
Her advice was simple…… stay off the computer!
I’m going to unplug, switch off and and tune out
And hopefully find that quiet place in my mind again
Before the internet began.
Go on…. be brave….do it!
Have a wonderful week