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Do you need a digital Detox?

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If you’ve heard the phrase “digital detox” and haven’t been sure of what it is or whether or not you need one, you’re in the right place. 

A detox is a period of time when you abstain from toxic or unhealthy substances. A digital detox is basically a pre-determined period of time wherein you intentionally disconnect from digital devices and platforms in order to take a break, readjust, or recalibrate. 

There can be many reasons to do a digital detox. It can be valuable to consider the benefits in determining whether or not you need one. 

These include: 

  • Stress reduction,
  • Improved physical health,
  • Increased productivity,
  • Time to reevaluate your values,
  • Improved connection with those around you,
  • Increased creativity,
  • And a heightened awareness of your own screen addiction.

STRESS REDUCTION 

Spending a lot of time on social media and other digital platforms can lead to increased stress, a sense of “FOMO” (fear of missing out), and other negative mental effects. 

Taking a break lets you take a step back and reflect on the things you do have and the things you are doing. It’s easy to feel like you’re not enough when you’re standing under a barrage of all the great things everyone else has and is doing and it’s also easy to start comparing your life to the perceived perfection of other people’s lives that you see on social media. 

When you take a break and spend more time in the real world, you get an opportunity to look at people more closely and see that what you see on social media rarely reflects reality. A break can reduce your stress and let you get back to focusing on the things that actually matter to you. 

IMPROVED PHYSICAL HEALTH

When you spend less time staring at a screen, your eyes can get a much-needed break, your sleep patterns can improve, and you get more time to focus on various aspects of your physical health such as exercise and nutrition. 

A digital detox is not a guaranteed health booster so much as it is a golden opportunity to take ownership of your body and spend some time caring for yourself. 

INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY

Constant notifications are distracting. Every notification is designed to grab your attention and get you to spend time in the application displaying it. When you’re trying to get work done, it can be difficult to stay on task when you’re constantly being told to “check this out,” “tap here,” “watch this insane reaction,” etc. 

Taking a break from all of that can lead to you getting more work done and feeling a greater sense of accomplishment. 

TIME TO REEVALUATE YOUR VALUES

Sometimes it’s challenging to figure out what you really care about—what’s really important to you—in the face of all the things you’re being told to care about. It can be difficult to figure out if you’re interested in something because you care about it or just because it was mentioned to you fifteen times by fifteen different people on Facebook. 

Taking a break from digital platforms allows you to have some time to reevaluate what’s really important to you without anyone else’s influence. 

IMPROVED CONNECTION WITH THOSE AROUND YOU

When you spend a lot of time caught up in a screen, your relationships can suffer. If you’re in a room with someone else and you’re on a screen, you’re (intentionally or unintentionally) telling that person that what’s on your screen is more important than they are. Obviously there are times when this is appropriate such as when you work in an office with someone else and you’re both working. 

But there are also plenty of times where the screen time is unnecessary and serves only to undermine relationships and connection. A good example of this is checking Instagram while a child is playing in the room with you. All the child sees is that whatever device you’re holding is more interesting/important to you than they are. 

If you think that’s a stretch, consider the last time you tried to have a conversation with someone and they kept checking their phone. How did that make you feel? 

By taking time away from digital platforms, you can take the time to improve your real-world relationships and help the people around you see that they are indeed important to you and that you do indeed care about them. 

INCREASED CREATIVITY

Creativity can suffer with prolonged screen time because, for the most part, utilizing a digital platform is an activity of consumption. You’re receiving, receiving, receiving. This imbalance can reduce your creative drive. 

Stepping away from consumption may lead to you not being sure of what to do, not being sure of what to create, feeling like you don’t have any ideas, and thinking you need some sort of inspiration. This is good because it leads to the next phase where you can start to daydream and to observe your surroundings and to contemplate possible ideas. 

Instead of being fed information, thoughts, priorities, techniques, etc., you are now the origination point. This can start slowly, but with a little bit of time and patience and effort, you’ll begin to be more creative, to think about things from your own point of view, and to be more imaginative in how you look at things. 

HEIGHTENED AWARENESS OF YOUR OWN SCREEN ADDICTION

Sometimes it requires a break from something to see how much of an effect it’s having on you. A break away from social media and other digital platforms can give you the space to reevaluate the effect they are having on you and your life. 

You can use this new awareness to set boundaries going forward, which can of course include deciding not to use them anymore at all. 


If you’ve been on the fence about doing a digital detox, give it a shot. It doesn’t have to be very long as a start. 

You can start small—one day “disconnected,” then a week, then a month. 

Taking a gradient approach to it can make it feel like less of a drastic life change but will still allow you to see benefits every step of the way. 

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