When was the last time that you took a break from all digital devices and just turned everything off for 24 hours? Chances are you don’t remember. Computers, smartphones, tablets and watches, among others, keep you constantly connected no matter where you are and what you’re doing. There are constant demands for your attention in the digital age and constantly responding to every notification, feed update or e-mail is not only overwhelming, it may be doing more harm than good. If you really can’t remember the last time you put technology away for an entire day, it’s time for you to consider a digital detox.
What is a Digital Detox?
A digital detox is pretty much what the name implies; unplugging from all digital technology for a set period of time. All devices (computers, tablets, laptops, smartphones, etc…) are switched off so you can enjoy some time away from the screens and focused on the other areas of your life that you may neglect. The amount of time you spend on a digital detox is up to you, but most experts recommend that you spend at least 24 hours away from all of your digital devices. It can be jarring to go from being updated on everything by the second to being completely screen-free, so start with 24 hours and work your way up to longer periods of time.
When Should You Digital Detox?
The frequency of how often, and for how long, you participate in a digital detox is completely up to you. Realistically, there are times when being away from your work computer or your smartphone just isn’t an option, so pick a day where you know that you don’t have any obligations. If you have kids, then you may feel uneasy about keeping a phone off all day if kids are out of the house. If this is the case then either plan to have your kids spend the day with someone you trust implicitly, or make the detox a family event and spend some quality time reconnecting to one another.
Who Needs a Digital Detox?
Let’s face it, modern society is swept up in constantly checking social media accounts, news and entertainment sites, playing games or texting no matter where people are or what else is happening. Everybody can benefit from a digital detox now and then, especially you.
Where do You do a Digital Detox?
The beauty of a digital detox is that you don’t need to go anywhere at all. You can keep technology off for 24 hours in the comfort of your own home and rediscover that book you’ve been meaning to read or tackling a home improvement project that you’ve been postponing. While some people think that digital detox is just a fad, there are others who take the idea very seriously. There is an increasing number of hotels, resorts and spas that are dedicated to providing a soothing, luxurious atmosphere that is completely free from digital distraction.
Why do a Digital Detox?
While staying connected every waking moment may seem like a productive way to spend your day, doing so can actually have adverse effects. When your attention is divided among so many different types of news, information and alerts, you are actually decreasing your attention span. A digital detox allows you to have conversations that reach a conclusion instead of just stopping because your phone is going off every five minutes. Additionally, a digital detox is an important way to make the loved ones in your life feel cherished. Spending time not staring at screens and actually making contact and allowing yourself to fully listen and pay attention during conversations shows those around you that you do value them. But perhaps most importantly, a digital detox gives you time to unwind, relax and recharge so that when you do return to work, you are returning more productive than before.
The idea of shutting everything off for 24 hours can be super overwhelming, but it provides so many benefits. To get the rewards a digital detox offers, practice resistance and leave everything off. A true digital detox does not allow “just checking one e-mail” or tweeting about your experience. Further, practicing a digital detox is not a once and done thing. You should aim to do so every few weeks in order to allow yourself to fully experience life and to return to your digital world with a fresh perspective.