Digital Detox means to stay away from all forms of digital interactions. No email, no social media, no movies, no television.
With the proliferation of technological devices, we sometimes act like no human interaction is needed in today’s digital world.
We don’t need to visit a store for shopping. We don’t need to go to a restaurant for food. Furthermore, we no longer need to visit the bank to withdraw or deposit money. We can watch movies, stream live football on our mobile. We can play games with friends who live on the other side of the earth. In a nutshell, literally, everything is on our phone.
Twenty years back, the cell phones were not smart enough to check if it’s going to rain or not in the next hour. People had to send postal mails to communicate, technology has certainly taken a dramatic leap and we can expect much more in the coming days but at what cost.
With the exploitation of technology, things have certainly become simple and performing a certain task has become much more efficient. But doing everything with the technology is refraining us from being what we really are, a social being.
A study says that nearly 90% of people in the USA more than two digital devices simultaneously.
Let’s assume a scenario, which I hope, most of us will agree upon.
Sam( A hypothetical character) wakes up at around 7:30 in the morning. Before her eyes open completely, her hand reach out for her phone under her pillow to check Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. Something in the feed makes her smile while she might find something downhearted. That mixed emotion is enough for her to let go of that torpid mood.
Grabbing herself a cup of coffee, she then opens her laptop and checks emails which she feels she had to reply back else the world is going to implode. After that, she grabs her phone again and enters the washroom. After quickly taking her breakfast and scrolling through her phone, she leaves for her office. All day long the digital screen right in front of her, no respite for the eyes folks.
She gets back home, drops her backpack, canoodles her pet for a few seconds and throws herself on the couch and again, scrolling through Facebook, Instagram etc. With that, it’s time for dinner and at around 10 she goes to bed with earphone plugged in. It’s the exhaustion that took her to the bed rather than a routine. It’s difficult to fall asleep so she goes for watching videos until she falls asleep and eyes shut before she knows.
So, that’s a good 12 to 15 hours of her direct eye contact with the digital screen and something that is even worse is that she loves her life. She has a good job, she can pay for her rent and all necessary expenses.
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What are the results?
Over time the bad things will start happening. She’ll lose weight, feel exhausted pretty soon. She can’t walk for long hours and find it difficult to see distant objects. Mentally, her confidence level will drop significantly, she’ll find difficult expressing her opinions. She finally goes into depression without even knowing about it.
Her long hour exposure to digital devices changed her eating habits, she had completely stopped seeing her friends, hanging out and talking to people. Forget about working out. Limiting herself to a confined zone of home to office and the overuse of technology made her body and brain confined to act rationally and care for her well being.
There is a certain group of people who also believe that there are health hazards caused by the overuse of technology but we are so much dependent on it that it’s not always possible to stay away for a digital detox. Not all people can afford it because that’s how they earn their living. It can put people’s work in jeopardy.
So, Is Digital Detox Good or Bad?
Well, if you can, it might help you with your health with the strings attached of course.
I believe that it’s practically very difficult to completely stop using our digital gadgets. So let’s not get into the debate. Rather, it’s more worthwhile to think and plan for activities you can do to reduce your digital time.
Here is how you do it.
1. Turn off your notifications
You cannot just get rid of your phones and laptops all of a sudden. Turning off your notifications or just disabling internet connection will work to start off. That way, you’ll spend more time doing non-technological stuff.
2. Allocate some tech-free time for yourself.
Maybe the first few hours after you wake up. You and make a rule of yours that you’ll not be allowed to use your phones or laptops for a couple of hours in the morning. This can also be done during the evening or weekends. What this will do is reduce your digital dependency. You can read the newspaper to stay updated with the news.
3. Join Gym
It’s easy to think and decide to join a gym but 80% of people quit after a few days in the gym. Find some company in the gym. Having someone to talk to adds an obligation to be regular. Over time, we’ll make friends and with the body coming into a shape it will become a habit and in fact difficult to discontinue.
4. Take Yoga Classes
Yoga and meditation help us clean our inside. It’s getting so effective and popular that a lot of new forms are evolving every day. Goat yoga and puppy yoga is also a thing now 🙂 try googling it.
You can actually make up for all your digital hours by practising regular yoga. Yoga is very helpful for mental as well as physical wellbeing. It strengthens your muscle and betters your heart rate. It’s good for your metabolism and overall physical flexibility.
An important component of yoga is making you live in your present. It makes you happier and boosts your confidence. People who take regular yoga sessions are more focussed with their work and good at making decisions. It drains your stress and helps you find good sleep. All in all, it makes you immune to a lot of injuries and diseases.
5. Buy an alarm clock.
Alarms in mobile phones come with a lot of things that make you more indolent. Get rid of your phone at least 30 minutes before you god to bed and a few hours after you wake up. Make your bed a tech-free zone.
6. Go for weekly Hike
This is actually very doable as well as very interesting and fun. You must be having friends who are more into outdoor activities than you. Make a plan of the hike once a week. Going out in nature is very helpful to make you look and feel fit. There is nothing to lose with investing some time out for some adventure. And hey! if not hiking you’ll be spending all this time on your laptop or mobile. You don’t want that again. Do you?
7. Make a habit of reading
Rather than scrolling through your Facebook and Instagram, read books. This has multiple advantages. It will improve your vocabulary, you’ll be more expressive, and you’ll learn a lot.
8. Attend/Organize Events/Meetups
Being social is very important. Attending events and meetups helps you get to know more people and what they do. It’s a learning opportunity and building networks of good people that will help you with your professional life as well.
This will help you with your depleted confidence as you will be talking to a group of people, addressing them and at times leading them as well.
Studies suggest that pets make your life happy. Playing around with your pet in the backyard or your garden keeps you physically active and alert. Pets are compassionate and a very good company for humans that they make you feel good no matter what.
Having pets will keep you always busy and occupied. Dogs, cats, horses, goats are very social animals and respond to human queries in various forms of communication.
10. Start gardening
Most of the people who are into gardening and stuff are not only physically fit but are mentally strong as well.
Experts suggest that its a good form of anger therapy and stress buster. Moreover, it burns calories and if turned into a habit you’ll keep your body shape in check.