5 Signs You Might Need a Digital Detox

by Elysian Magazine

We may charge the batteries of our tech devices every day, but what about charging ourselves in the form of taking care of our mental and physical health, and overall wellbeing? Taking care of our mental and physical health and overall well being is easier said than done. We spend hours tapping at our phones or scrolling through screens into the night. Add in buzzing notifications and endless alerts from work apps or social media, and it can feel impossible to clear our minds properly, leaving us unable to relax.

A digital detox offers one way to restore the balance. Whether you turn your phone off for a few days or you go all in by attending an internet-free retreat in the wilderness, digital detoxes are fast gaining momentum. Here are our top 7 signs that you just may need one too.

You Cannot Live Without Your Phone

Granted, these days there is an app for everything: we can easily communicate with others and even order food with just a couple of taps. This might seem ideal, but the downside to this is we soon become reliant on our phones for just about everything, and this can seriously impact our mental health and wellbeing. For some, a reliance on technology can actually lead to a smartphone addiction, which is a growing problem. Research has found that the average American checks her phone every four minutes, equating to a staggering 344 times per day. So, if your worst nightmare is forgetting your phone, or if you panic when your phone battery runs down, it might be time to give your devices a break.

Your Sleep Quality Is Poor

Most devices emit blue light wavelengths which can cause eye strain, headaches and can result in disturbed sleep patterns. They interrupt sleep hormones, causing us to remain alert rather than allowing our brains to wind down at the end of the day. If you happen to wake up in the middle of the night and check your phone, you expose yourself to blue light all over again. Blue light-blocking glasses are available, but they are not a remedy for the addictive nature of social media and similar apps, designed to keep you scrolling. To function at your best, you need sleep that is high in both quality and quantity, and technology can often be the culprit when you’re not sleeping well.

You Feel Lonely – or Not Present with Those Around You

The irony of social media is that instead of connecting us, it sometimes prevents us from making real and meaningful connections. There is no number of likes, shares, or friend requests that can replicate time spent in contact with people who care about you, so if you are feeling lonely or isolated at all, you will definitely want to head offline in search of new ways to meet or connect with people. Whether you join a new fitness class, take up a skill you have always wanted to try, or even catch up with some old friends over a cup or a glass of something, your endorphins will thank you for it.

Or, perhaps you realize that you may be in the presence of friends, colleagues or loved ones while not being present. Do you remember the last time you ate dinner with your family at the table without any technology present? Do your spouse or children complain that you are always working when you are supposed to be spending quality time with them? It might not seem like a big deal to you at first, but these missed interactions can never be replaced, and if this problem runs deep for you, it can lead to tensions in your personal relationships, especially if those around you feel ignored, in favor of your devices.

You Are A Social Media User With Low Self-Esteem

Most of us understand that what we see on social media is not always trustworthy; however, it can be difficult not to be influenced by unrealistic beauty standards, or even feel depressed when we compare ourselves to others’ social media feeds. No amount of scrolling through a feed is going to improve your self-esteem – in fact, it often does the opposite. Taking control and ditching your tech, at least in the short term, is one of the best ways to get back in touch with reality and to spend your time actually working on yourself rather than spending too much time worrying about other people.

Additionally, it is important to remember that the internet can be deeply unpleasant at times, and adjusting your privacy settings is certainly a good idea if you have received any unwanted communication. Taking a break from life online allows you to gain some perspective, so you will be less tempted to respond to negativity, which may only make you feel worse. Just be sure to report any offensive messages before your hiatus, so that they may be dealt with by the relevant platform.

Disconnecting for a time in order to really tune into your needs and emotions, for spending time alone, with family or friends, enjoying hobbies, or even speaking with a therapist … all these real connections can help you to feel so much better.

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