When smartphones first entered the market, it seemed to be exactly what we needed to make better use of our time, become more efficient and productive and with its unlimited and easy access to the web, it was the best tool to help us de-stress.
The instant connect to emails, social media brought a sense of relief as we felt like we had an easy connect with the world at large. However, it’s only with time that we realize that with the advance in technology, instead of feeling connected, we are simply adding to the stress in our life and because we are always available, it seems as though there is no time left to rest and unwind anymore.
While social media gives us access to have hundreds of friends and thousands of followers, the connect with a person face to face has become rare and we are in fact feeling lonelier than before.
Also, once we get on our smartphones or laptops, which allow us to work, play, watch, read all at the same time, it seems as though there is not a moment when our eyes are moving away from the gadget.
If there is a free moment where we might perhaps be sitting idle, then the fingers automatically reach to unlock the phone so the browsing can begin. However, this endless addiction to our smartphone and being connected with gadgets all the time is bad for our mental and physical health.
While always being mindful about the notifications on our gadgets, we are becoming mindless about the stress and anxiety that these gadgets are bringing into our lives.
Hence, a detox and time away from gadgets every now and then is very much needed, so we can take a step back and get in touch with our own thoughts, our body and health without the distraction from Instagram and endless mindless fruitless reels.
Here are steps you can take to prepare yourself for a digital detox\
Track your usage
Consciously note the number of minutes or hours you spend on the phone, or more specifically the time you spend on each app on the phone. For example, when you open Instagram, note the time, then when you exit the app, look at the time and track how many minutes you spend on the app.
Likewise, do so for the major apps you use in a day.
Switch it off
When the phone is on, the instinct to keep checking notifications, scroll through social media, watch random videos and reels is addictive and endless. So, after a certain period or for a certain period, switch off your phone. Don’t be afraid to turn off your phone. Maybe when you have a family dinner or a date. Your work can wait. For starters, do it for a short period, like maybe when you meditate.
Focus on relationships offline
Seek out close friends and family. Instead of dropping heart emojis and sending them reels and gifs, pick up the phone and have an actual conversation. If they are in the same town as you, no matter how busy you are get in touch and plan a meet up. Focus on cultivating relationships in the offline mode. Else close friends will also become social media acquaintances.
Reconnect with hobbies
Maybe you liked to get your hands dirty while planting or gardening. Or you loved painting, or knitting or reading. All those hobbies that were a big part of your life before the smartphone arrived – reclaim those and spend a little time away from the smartphone and devote it to the offline hobby that brought you so much joy and peace.
Lastly, quit cold turkey
Once you have inculcated all these little steps, try this last, most challenging step – just don’t access social media, WhatsApp groups for a week or so. Keep your phone only for the purpose of calling and switch off data and wi-fi. Try a digital detox. If a week is tough, start with two days and slowly build it up.