January has come and gone, and along with it some of those New Year’s Resolutions. But, if you haven’t tried a Digital Detox, it’s a resolution that you can start right now… and in this article, I list all the reasons why you SHOULD! Read on for 7 benefits of a digital detox and why you really should consider doing one sooner rather than later.
- Better Sleep
- Less Distracted
- Reduced Stress
- More Time
- More Efficient
- More Connection
- Separation from your digital life
According to this article, using your phone in bed can lead to insomnia, sleep disturbances, daytime sleepiness, and mood disorders. However, over 70% of adults use their phones in bed. Experts who have studied sleep recommend not viewing any screens for a minimum of 30 minutes before sleep. Admittedly, I watch TV to go to bed. I put my phone on sleep mode and TRY not to reach for it, but the TV is another story. I need to challenge myself to NO SCREENS for at least 30 minutes before bedtime and see if it makes a difference.
This is hard, and I am working on it. I realize that sometimes I am distracted when my kids are trying to ask me something or get my attention. I’m trying to simply put my phone down and be in the moment and pay full attention when they are talking to me. It’s hard, but I know that it’s so important. Kids can tell when we are distracted or not fully listening. Adults can too. Try this week to fully be wherever you are. Driving your car, grocery shopping, or listening to your loved ones. Just do that. Our brains can’t fully engage in more than one task at a time, so give your fully attention to what you are doing and be present in that task and that task only.
According to this article, these lovely little devices are causing us a lot of stress and anxiety! Phones, scrolling, and all of the newest apps are built and engineered to be addictive… and they WORK! The more we scroll, the more dopamine hits our system. Eventually we need to scroll MORE to get that same hit of dopamine. Our adult brains were not built to handle this, but it’s especially a problem for our kids and teens. As the rate of digital use goes up, so does depression, anxiety, and overall stress. Taking a break can help to reset those levels.
If you plan on doing a digital detox, think about what you plan on doing with all that time. You could pick up a new exercise routine, plan on dates with your friends or kids, or even take up knitting or reading a real, physical book! I know that in the morning I’ve replaced my scrolling time with recording my gratitudes and goals. It’s been a great way to track my progress in certain areas and remind myself daily of the goals that I made for this year. It’s only a little bit of time each morning, but even just 30 minutes, 5 days a week adds up to 150 minutes!
Oh goodness gracious, yes! We have all become so accustomed to jumping when our devices say jump! And in the end, we are not getting more done. We are jumping from task to task without really finishing anything, or maybe that’s just me? I know I am guilty of feeling like I just don’t have enough time, but then my weekly screen time pops up and informs me that I had time to scroll on social media. Take the time to edit your notification settings. Pay attention to how long you are scrolling on your favorite app or zoning out on your favorite game. The time really adds up quickly!
Have you ever been talking to someone and then suddenly they look down at their phone or their watch? All of this technology has us all constantly pulled in multiple directions at the same time and it can be hard to fully connect. I see it in myself and in my friends. Especially moms. The school is able to get ahold of us at any time with “helpful” apps. It can really be hard to turn those things off, and I know I feel guilty and like a bad mom if I’m not instantly engaging and paying attention to every little nudge or notification. But, I think we could all try a little harder to turn those off in social situations. Leave the Apple watch at home if you know you’re going to be in a situation with a good friend or your significant other.
Separation from our digital lives
Our online presence is a reality (even people who just lurk and never post or share… I see you 😜). It allows us to look into people’s lives without really engaging. It allows us to have social confidence that we might not normally have. Heck, it allows me to write these words right now and have a voice and a platform that I don’t have anywhere else BUT online. I get it. I make silly social media videos… (with the filter on because I’m 40 and I need the confidence boost!) But, it’s not reality. It’s not who I really am. And I think it’s important to show up in person and not just online, even when it can be hard. Show up for the person who is grieving. Show up for the friend who is celebrating. Cheer on your spouse and your kids. Those are the thing that matters, and all the likes, shares, comments, and content can never replace that.
So are you ready to do a digital detox? Or do you want to further and take the 7-day digital declutter challenge? Sign up and get your free checklist now!
I am a believer! It used to be that when we went on vacation we had a built in detox, but not anymore, right?
One year I did a monthlong GO Month series on digital detox. I completely agree with all the benefits you put out here. It isn’t easy to walk away from our digital lives, but we can do something each day to make progress. I think this is a terrific idea!
On a separate note, I love that two-tiered pull-out pantry product you sponsor. Looks great.
I’ll have to take a look at your series, but yes, I agree, even on vacation it’s becoming harder and harder to disconnect. Finding small ways to stay present is so important. Thank you so much for reading!
Great benefits! You are motivating me to detox from my devices. When spring begins, and I can go into the garden, staying away from my devices will be easier. Plus, it will make me feel more tired at the end of the day, and I will be less likely to look at my devices before bed.
Spending time in nature sounds like the best way to detox from devices. I love my podcasts, but sometimes it’s nice to take a walk or do my errands without being plugged in. Do you have a veggie garden or a flower garden?
I think we can all benefit from a digital detox. I find it hard because I use technology so much for work. I have been trying to do better in my off hours.
I feel you! I have been on my computer all day… promoting a blog post about a digital detox! 🤣 For me, I have to watch that I don’t scroll to pass the time or feel better when I’m bored or stressed. It’s definitely something that is a part of everyone’s lives.
I’m reading a book now called “Dopamine Nation,” and it’s sobering. The effects of our digital devices are unmistakable. It’s hard for me to imagine when we didn’t have this kind of portable access to everything. Our devices are designed to be addictive and play into our reward center by supplying regular dopamine pings. But the more we engage, the more we crave the rewards.
Your post is an essential one because we need time away from the “digital drugs” to be more present, sleep better, make closer personal connections, engage in non-digital activities, and all the other reasons you gave.
I was a longtime holdout for getting a smart phone. I had a flip phone until 2016, and I still don’t have email on my phone. I don’t use my phone much at all unless I leave my house. And I still remember the first NAPO conference after I got my iPad in 2013, maybe a few weeks beforehand. It’s the only conference year I have hardly any photos and relatively few memories, because my boyfriend was constantly trying to make me laugh, texting me on the iPad, delighted that I could finally text. So I learned from that one week that mobile devices are too distracting.
That said, I live alone, and pretty much sit in front of my computer all of my waking hours that I’m at home and not with clients, especially since the start of the pandemic. But it’s where I do all of my hobbies — reading, learning Italian — and all of my socializing except when I’m on the phone, talking. I agree with every one of your benefits except more connection, because without digital, I’d have been a hermit these past three years. But I don’t play games or scroll through (most of) the socials, though TikTok has replaced scrolling through the TV and it’s definitely shortened my attention span. 😉
Very interesting perspective. In our house with 5 people, I see the phones as pulling us away from each other- even if we are in the same room. But, I can definitely see how technology can also keep people connected. I’ve never met any of my work connections in person, yet sometimes I have more conversations with them in a month than I do with the people in my neighborhood. Thank you, Julie!
My phone is part of my sleep routine. (did I say that out loud?) I have apps for meditating and for sleep sounds that I use nightly. I listen to audiobooks at bedtime. I even use my phone to track my sleep quality. (very meta) I probably can get better at putting my phone to bed a little earlier, though, so I’ll have to work on that. Thanks for the nudge. 😊
There are so many wonderful apps out there that can help with sleep, so why not use them? I think the difference is more if you are still allowing other people to draw your attention away from sleep or other calming activities. It sounds like you are creating an atmosphere of sleep with technology, so I say go for it! Thank you, Deb!
I love the suggestion to edit notification preferences on the phone. That can be so helpful, especially for social media. Fewer notifications means fewer cues to pick up the phone and start scrolling.
Also, iPhones now allow you to get a summary of notifications a few times a day, instead of constant pinging. You can customize it, too, so that phone calls come through in the moment but other apps go into the summary.
Yes! I love that summary feature. There are only really a few notifications that I need at the moment, but I find a delayed approach to responding helps my mentality and hopefully sets the boundaries and expectations with other people as well.