The best ways to have a digital detox
Is that the answer to true wellness?
The average person checks their phone 200 times a day – that’s once every six and a half minutes. Our lives are full of screens; We wake up to them, we come home to them, and we carry them around in our pockets all day. So perhaps it’s unsurprising that experts are warning that this constant exposure could be damaging our health.
“Technology may be incredibly useful and educational and it undoubtedly allows us much creativity, connectivity and enjoyment,” says Charlotte Walsh, partner at Digital Detox. “But if it begins to distract you from doing what you should be doing – like your job – or it negatively affects your relationships, or costs you more money than you can afford, then it starts to become dangerous. If it is negatively impacting your life you need to evaluate what you do online, when and with whom.”
Avoid becoming a slave to your smartphone and up your wellness rating by following these tips for a digital detox:
1. Make a gadget list
“Before you commit to a detox, try making two lists,” advises Dr Sally-Ann Law, a psychologist and personal life coach. “Firstly, list all of your gadgets. This will show you how dependent you are on technology. Secondly, make a list of all the things that you enjoy doing in life, but aren’t doing presently.” Then make time to do the things on the second list and – if possible – leave your smartphone at home.
2. Give yourself an allowance
“If you establish a maximum daily time allowance for your devices then you will be more likely to stick to your detox,” suggests Dr Richard Graham, a Technology Addiction Specialist at Nightingale Hospital. “By restricting the time you spend using technology, you can focus on the ‘real world’ much more, and will be encouraged to enjoy social interactions in person rather than through a screen.”
3. Commit to changing one habit at a time
“Choose one technology habit to change at a time,” advises Dr Law. “Maybe this would be banning all devices from the dining table, or from the bedroom, or only checking emails every two hours.”
But whatever it is, make sure that you stick to it for at least a week no matter what – and then move onto tackling another habit. “Keep going like this, eliminating your dependencies incrementally, until you feel more in control,” says Dr Law.