If you have a better relationship with your smartphone than with your spouse then maybe it’s time for a digital detox. Overuse of technology, whether it be your phone, tablet or computer, has been linked with health problems such as low self-esteem, high stress and even poor sleep and weight gain. When you are over engaged in social media you can have anxiety and depression because with filters making every picture perfect, it looks like everyone is having a better time than you. Put down that iPhone and start engaging with the real world instead of being jealous of your “frenemies” on your online social life. Spending too much time online can also make you miss out on real time events. Although social media can be a great way to keep in touch with friends and family members, don’t forget to engage with your friends nearby. Instead of tweeting it, say it out loud over coffee. Another unhealthy issue with too much screen time has to do with the waist line. This is especially applicable to teenagers. Physical activity is being replaced with computer time and zoning out to the TV which makes you unconsciously eat. Couple this with sleep disruptions due to screen light lowering production of the sleep hormone melatonin production and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
If hearing all of this has got you ready for a change then try a digital detox.
What is a Digital Detox?
It means reducing your time online, turning off your computer, tablet or smartphone apps for a certain period of time a day or leaving social media sites for a while (or you might inspired to leave forever). Bloomberg reported that the average person spends up to 3 hours a day online. Take that extra time to engage with your family, friends and social activities in your home town. Find fun events catering to your interests and make plans to fill your time up, and include your family in these plans so they detox with you. Make sure you have a plan instead of just turning everything off at once so you don’t fall off the wagon at the first sign of Facebook. If you can’t foresee yourself going completely offline, even if it’s just for a day, try something like the Bored and Brilliant Challenge which gives you a set of tasks or challenges in your daily life, allowing you to slowly wean off. An example is this:
Challenge 1: Freedom from the Phone
As you travel from place to place, instead of constantly checking your phone, keep it out of your direct line of sight. That means not using WhatsApp while sitting in traffic, or Facebook when waiting for the car, etc. You can only check your phone once you’ve reached your destination. Follow some basic phone tips to make the phone time really count like turning off non vital notifications, setting up different ring tones for your VIP list so you don’t miss those calls, and practice not answering non-vital messages straight away. In addition, stop carrying that phone around in your hand! It’s not an extension of your body so put it away
Good luck HTV-ers! Let us know how your Digital Detox is going in the comments.