5 Reasons to try a digital detox

We live in a technology-driven world. Many people, including those that thought they never would spend the majority of their day connected to some kind of device – whether it’s a computer, tablet, smartphone or television. From this technology, we work, call, text, email, instant message, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest… the list goes on and on! Have you heard the phrase “digital detox” before? A digital detox is a set period of time in which you refrain from using electronics. This provides you an opportunity to focus on social interaction and being present in the physical world. Both of these things can help reduce stress… a digital detox can be a few hours, a whole day or some people will even do an entire weekend or beyond! Because we spend so much time doing the various things listed above, we want to share 5 reasons why you should try a digital detox.

1. Reconnect (in person) – it is so important to make connections with people! While all of these modes of technology offer easy ways to digitally connect with each other, connecting in person is so much better for so many reasons. There are a theory that being online to connect with people actually takes energy away from our physical (in real life, in person) connections. Did you know that the brain actually can tell the difference between digital connection and physical connection? We also only have so much energy to give whether it is in person or online… studies have been done around the part of the brain that manages relationships, the neocortex. Too much time spent maintaining online friendships means less time maintaining those in real life (IRL). In this (and most cases) time = energy.

2. Give your eyes and brain a break from blue light – technology emits a large amount of blue light which can be disruptive to the brain and harsh for the eyes. Blue light disrupts sleep because it sends signals to the brain to stay awake. Even if you don’t do a long digital detox, consider ending your day with a digital detox. For example, if you’re usually ready for bed at 10:00 PM, avoid blue light beginning at 8:00 PM. At the very least, we recommend turning off all technology minimally 30 minutes before bedtime to help your brain realize it’s time to wind down.Use this time to read a book, take a bath, make sure everything is ready for the next day… just stay away from screens. Studies show that blue light plays a trick on the pineal gland which is the part of the brain that secretes the melatonin hormone. Without darkness to instigate this hormone production, the brain doesn’t know it’s time to get ready for sleep.

3. Try “grounding” every day with nature – have you ever heard of “grounding?” This refers to being connected to the earth, generally through the means of bare feet on the ground (grass, sand, etc.) Taking time to ground yourself allows you to be more mindful in connecting to nature and yourself. In addition, time outdoors is always beneficial for the body… fresh air and sunshine can do a lot for the mood and mind. Serotonin, vitamin D increase when time is spent outside, which can reduce stress and anxiety. More specifically, it is believed that participating in the grounding technique allows the body’s electric charge can be neutralized. It has been shown that the body can build up a static charge by taking on extra electrons from its surroundings. The negative charge of the earth helps to balance this out. If you are in an area where getting outside to “ground” isn’t possible (like winter months, in the snow)… there are grounding mats available. We invite you to research those if you feel like this might be a good choice for you.

4. Be present– have you ever been with family or friends and took a “quick second” to check in on Facebook or Instagram… before you know it 15 minutes goes by and you’ve missed everything that just happened? These social media platforms can suck you into scrolling for much longer than a few minutes. Lo and behold, what you think won’t be a disruption ends up causing you to miss important things! Doing a digital detox will allow you to be present and gives you the ability to pay attention to your surroundings. You will notice so much more by taking away the distractions of technology.

5. Focus on self-care–a digital detox is a great time to focus on taking care of yourself. Have you ever checked the amount of time you spend on a screen? This is pretty easy to do on most smartphones, in the settings. If you look, many of us probably have HOURS each day we are on our phones. Add in time on the computer, tablet or television and it can add up to be a good portion of the day. Even a short digital detox (say just for an evening) can give you a few uninterrupted hours to take a bath, go to a spa, get your hair done, or even spend some time doing something you enjoy (kayaking, hiking, reading, etc.)! Taking time to connect with yourself can lead to massive results in connecting with others. Have you heard the phrase, “you can’t pour from an empty cup?” Removing the pressures of social media and comparing yourself to others can be so rewarding! Giving yourself time to fill your cup allows you to be there for your friends and family with energy and excitement instead of being bogged down by stress and anxiety.

Reconnecting with those important to you, reducing blue light, “grounding,” being present and focusing on self-care are all benefits of reducing the time spent on technology in your life. We recommend that you consider the many benefits of these 5 reasons why you should try a digital detox and set up a time to try it out!

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