How often do you check your phone? If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t want to divulge that kind of information. In a digital world, we’re more connected than ever before. With phones, computers, and social media, we can get almost anything we need at the tap of a screen. Technology is an integral part of our lives. But, like with most things, we need to moderate how and when we use it to get the most out of it. We need to find balance. By reigning in your technology addiction, you can reconnect with your true self and feel the benefits.
Is Too Much Technology Bad for Your Health?
Chances are you’re reading this on your laptop or phone during your lunch break. We spend as much as 12 hours a day in front of computer and TV screens. The average adult consumes five times more information every day than they would have 50 years ago.
We haven’t even got to mobile screen time, which we all know racks up throughout the day. On average, people spend about three hours and 15 minutes on their phones each day. The top 20% of phone users spend upwards of four and a half hours on their phone.
Of course, technology has its place, and you are not a tech addict just because you use your mobile phone. It gives us the ability to connect with friends and family, which is so important, especially during this time of self-isolation. But technology can be detrimental to both your physical and mental health when usage is left unchecked.
The Dangers of Being Overly Connected to Technology
Being overly connected can cause physiological and psychological issues like:
- Sleep disruptions
- Sense of isolation
- Reduce productivity
- Depression and anxiety
Tech Addiction and Depression
Social media can cause unhappiness. It can also lead to depression and anxiety. In a survey of 1,000 individuals, a third of people stated they were quitting social media for good because it made them feel anxious, depressed, or sad.
Millennial depression and loneliness is a serious problem when it comes to technology and social media. Taking a break from social media can benefit your mental health and help you feel more present.
It’s perfectly OK to switch off sometimes without damaging your work schedule or social life. Unplugging doesn’t have to mean disconnecting from everything. While going off-grid and living without technology isn’t a viable option for most people, we can learn to cut down on our tech habits and still connect with society.
Technology Detox: 6 Ways to Unplug From Tech Every Day
- Start Your Day the Right Way
- Streamline Your Work
- Power Down an Hour Before Bed
- Set Boundaries
- Work Out
- Connect with Nature
1. Start Your Day the Right Way
It feels practically ingrained in us to reach for our phones when we wake up. It’s common to check a few emails and reply to messages before we’re even out of bed. Instead, start your day with a healthy breakfast, nutritious smoothie, or an early morning workout.
Before you reach for your phone as soon as you wake up, concentrate on yourself. Spend some time meditating or writing down your thoughts in a journal. Journaling benefits your mental health, helps to heal emotional wounds, and reduces stress.
2. Streamline Your Work
Technology can help you work effectively. But there are a ton of different apps and tools to use. Are you receiving emails, Facebook messages, Slack notifications, or your teams’ group chat pings non-stop?
To curb your technology addiction, try to streamline the places you need to check to get your work done when you’re online. By limiting your connectivity, you can focus your time on channels you know are efficient. There’s no need to be refreshing apps for messages that may or may not come through.
3. Power Down an Hour Before Bed
An hour before bedtime, power down your devices. It can be tempting to send one last email before you go to sleep, but try to resist. The blue light emitted from devices can interfere with your sleep and leave you feeling groggy the next day.
4. Set Boundaries
When you’re addicted to technology, it’s tough to break bad habits. Start by setting boundaries on your tech time. If you and your partner tend to be on your phones a lot, set aside time that you will leave your phone in a different room. When you’re interacting with someone, agree to phone silence so you’re not tempted to check Facebook halfway through dinner.
5. Work Out
When you’ve had your face buried in a device for longer than you care to say, take a break and get active. Do an activity that means you won’t be on your phone. Go for a bike ride, take a jog around the park, or try an at-home yoga session. Do whatever it takes to stop you from reaching for your phone or laptop and scrolling.
Technology still has its place, especially in fitness. The ability to stream workouts on-demand and track your progress with things like the Apple Watch Series 4 is incredible. And you can invest in the best wireless workout earphones to help keep you motivated while you sweat. But, by setting boundaries and taking a step back, you can find the balance between making the most of technology and becoming obsessed with it.
6. Connect with Nature
You don’t need to live in a cabin in the woods to disconnect from technology. Even just getting outside and spending time in nature for 20 minutes can make you feel better. Connecting with nature benefits mental health by improving your mood, increasing focus, and decreasing anxiety. Put your phone on silent or leave it home and get outside.
4 Reasons to Take a Digital Detox
For most people, being connected and immersed in the digital world is a part of everyday life. But there are benefits to stepping away, putting devices down, and regaining a little balance.
1. Reduce Anxiety and Stress
A study looked into the relationship between smartphones and anxiety. As smartphone usage increased, so did feelings of anxiousness. Putting your phone down for a few hours may benefit your anxiety and leave you feeling more relaxed. Without constant notifications and alerts, you have more time to look inward and think. This is just one great way to get rid of sources of anxiety.
2. Sleep Better
Technology can cause insomnia. The blue light emitted from devices suppresses the sleep hormone, melatonin. Melatonin controls our sleep/wake cycle. Reduced melatonin makes it more difficult to get to sleep. This leaves you feeling more awake and alert, struggling to fall asleep. A digital detox could help you fall asleep faster and sleep better. This is important, because sleep really matters when it comes to your physical and mental wellness.
3. Boost Productivity and Creativity
It can be easier to check social media and keep scrolling through Instagram rather than focus on one task at a time. Taking a break from technology can help boost your productivity and creativity. By concentrating on one thing, you can work more effectively. If you’re feeling stressed or unproductive, it could be the right time to unplug.
4. Improve Mental and Physical Health
When you’re on your phone or laptop, you’re probably sitting or lying down. Unplug, get outside, and get moving. Your body will love you for it. Cutting down on your device time can benefit both your physical and mental health, giving you more time to focus on yourself and your relationships.
How to Break Your Technology Addiction
Technology is incredible, and it brings so many benefits to different aspects of our lives. At a time of uncertainty, the ability to be able to video call your nearest and dearest is essential. However, being able to unplug from technology and cut down your screen time can leave you feeling re-energized and more connected with the world around you. Use your digital detox as a time to move your body, stimulate your mind, and find balance.