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digital detox

For the next few hours just observe yourself, your habits and your patterns, especially with the technology (phones, tablets, television) you use. Do you see yourself jump out of your seat the moment the phone dings a notification? Do you mindlessly scroll through your IG feed, first the post feed and then tap away into people’s stories? When you’re done with this, do you just lock and unlock your phone and randomly browse through apps to use and again land on Instagram and repeat scrolling? Well, it’s no surprise that you’re  in need of something called a digital detox! It’s nothing too extreme, it simply means removing any digital devices from your life for a while and replacing them with activities that are more meaningful and will help you transform into a productive and less stressed out person. There’s a life beyond your phone too, a real life that’s waiting to unfold and to bring you more joy in life. This summer we urge you to go on a digital detox and let the process speak for itself! Before you get going, it’ll be helpful to understand the reasons and benefits of such a transformative exercise.

Why a digital detox?

While addiction to digital devices isn’t recognized as a real disorder of any kind, it is reported that overuse of technological devices can lead to serious health risks and damages of the physical and psychological kinds. In today’s world, imagining a life without tech devices is simply impossible, especially for kids and teens. A life without a phone is like having no oxygen to breathe. Little do they know that technology dependence is a major contributor to stress. Studies show 2 out of 5 adults cited technology as a primary reason for their stress in life. For the majority of us, it’s the FOMO and the constant need to keep checking our phones, for texts, emails and social media that accounts for the majority of the tech-based stress. Digital addiction also is a major cause for procrastination and distraction from activities that are more productive in nature. Many studies also suggest that heavy use of devices before bed-time can interfere with not only the quality of your sleep but also quantity. The worst sleepers are reported to have been addicted to some form of technology or another. Overuse of technology before bed is also reported to cause the likelihood of anxiety and insomnia.

The reasons are manifold but in short, here are some signs that tell you that you’re in dire need of a break from technology:

  1. You feel super stressed if you can’t find your phone.
  2. You can’t do without your phone!
  3. Your phone is the first thing you check before sleeping and after you wake up.
  4. You feel compelled to check your phone every few minutes.
  5. Your mood is restless most of the times and you feel either angry or depressed after spending time on your device.
  6. You suffer from FOMO.
  7. You stalk certain people and their life on social media.
  8. You sleep late and wake up late.
  9. You find it hard concentrating on one thing without having to check your phone.
  10. Last but not the least, your inner voice tells you that you need a digital detox.

Now, what does a digital detox entail?

The first and foremost thing is to understand that one doesn’t have to go extreme and shut off. The ramifications of such a thing are equally detrimental and will give you withdrawal symptoms and have you rush back into being a digital addict. The key is moderation and to be reasonable. It’s important to make your device usage suit your lifestyle and demands. The process demands that you set reasonable and healthy boundaries and you don’t overstep them. This is your step to step guide to a transformative digital detox:

  1. Limit usage: The Phone Usage app tracks the usage of your phone and tracks how much you exactly use it for and for what. Seeing an itemized list of your usage will tell you what app you need to cut back on. To begin with, limit your usage to three hours. It’s not as hard as you think it is! If you feel confident, limit it to two hours.
  2. Turn off notifications: You can do this from your phone settings. For each app on your phone disable the notifications. Also, delete or offload apps that you don’t use on a daily basis. You can always download it again when you need it or use a browser version of it. If your phone doesn’t ding every two minutes, there’s nothing really to check or that urgent. You can check your phone in the assigned two hours for usage. This, of course, doesn’t include emergency phone calls.
  3. No phones at social gatherings: Play pretend and act like you’re in an age when there were no such things as mobile devices. You will cherish every moment and memory for what it is. If you fear boredom, well you’re in boring company – nothing really is that boring!
  4. Don’t take your phone for a walk: Take your phone but only check it before or after your walk for anything important you ought to do. While walking, be more present and more aware of how you feel about your body and the surroundings you are in. The results are breath-taking!
  5. No technology post 9 pm: Any activity post 9 pm shouldn’t include any technology – instead read a book, write in a journal, make art, draw a bath. Slow down by the end of the day for a rejuvenated start to the next day. Mild jazz music is allowed on YouTube or Spotify given that you already have a pre-created playlist and don’t have to keep scrolling for better music.
  6. Have conversations that are really needed: Use your phone only for conversations that are meaningful and held with important people in your life. Gossip, bitching sessions, talking about who wore what and what you’d have done if you had the chance are conversations that are time wasters.

Things to note and observe during your detox:

  1. Inform your friends and family about your digital detox and the transformation you intend to see in yourself. You’re going to be hugely inspiring for them in the process too. Pay the learning forward to them. Seek support and lend support!
  2. Stay focused and determined! There might be days when you feel like cheating, remind yourself of the result of the exercise and keep at it. At the same time don’t be too hard on yourself.
  3. Find activities to do that spark real joy. I find joy in learning how to make new things with the art of origami. Coloring books have the same effect.
  4. Try to go out of the house more often, a walk, a gathering with friends – both can be so rejuvenating. And remember, no selfies! Be more present and enjoy the moment for what it is.
  5. Maintain a daily journal and pen down your thoughts about your experiences in the day. A real, physical notebook please, no phone notepads allowed!

A detox from a regular habit might be hard, but know that it’s going to be worth the effort and super rewarding. You’re going to meet the new, transformed, the more evolved version of yourself and how fabulous will that look on your IG grid!

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