Have you ever noticed finding yourself mindlessly scrolling social media?
Or perhaps social media has become a chore you must do as part of your business and online presence?
Tech overload can cause anxiety and stress and even reduce our ability to think creatively!
Digital detoxes have become increasingly popular in recent years as people look to reduce their reliance on technology and give themselves a healthy break from the digital world. Taking a digital detox can bring numerous benefits to both your physical and mental health.
What is a Digital Detox?
A digital detox is a perfect way to unplug your screen-filled life and reconnect with yourself and others around you. Taking a break from technology can benefit your mental and physical health, especially during holidays when there are so many opportunities to make real connections with family, friends, or yourself.
Benefits of a Digital Detox
A digital detox takes your time away from screens and devices that can be demanding and distracting. A digital detox can also give you the following:
- reduce stress – yes, staring at a small screen is stressful for your brain
- improve your sleep
- an opportunity to focus on your wellbeing
- chance to slow down, relax and reset
- providing a little space for self-reflection
- time for things like reading books, playing board games with family, or going for walks in nature
- recharge your brain
- increase your productivity and creativity
- improve relationships
How do I digitally detox?
Although abstaining from all forms of digital media may seem intimidating at first, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Small steps can help make disconnecting from technology part of a healthier routine, like creating boundaries between work and leisure time or setting aside specific times when screens are not allowed.
I wanted to write this blog this week because holidays provide an ideal opportunity for you to take a break from what your everyday schedule or at least be curious about reducing your time in front of a screen.
Here are three steps to get you on your digital detox way!
Step 1: Be curious
Start noticing how often you reach for your phone to
- fill in time?
- avoid someone or something?
- deal with stressful situations?
How does it make you feel when you look at other people’s posts?
And how often are you thinking about activities through the lens of how you can frame them for social media?
There is no right or wrong here, it is all about curiosity.
Step 2: Scheduling Time Off
Most people go on holiday to rest and regain balance from the busy year. Yet, being tied to a screen may well be doing the opposite. However, a holiday is a perfect time to disrupt your usual activities. And evaluate if reducing your online time does return some of the balance and rest you are striving for.
Setting an auto responder is a simple start for email. But the same can be done for social media.
I do not doubt that what you do is essential and significantly impacts the people around you. But is it life or death if you don’t respond to an email, message or post on your social media? Probably not.
There are no hard and fast rules here. Perhaps your digital detox will mean a complete disconnection from your device, or you might have designated time frames. Often family and friends love to see your holiday snaps, and social media is your way of sharing. But this could be done in your designated screen time so that you can be fully in the moment.
The more you can set some boundaries for yourself and others, the more chance you will have of meaningfully digitally detoxing.
Step 3: Find alternatives.
Like reducing any habit, it can often help to have alternatives. Those few minutes you take to check social media can also be used in other ways.
Here are some examples:
- Mindfulness – what can you smell, hear, see and touch? Focus all of your attention on your senses. This could also involve simple meditation
- Breathing exercises are beneficial if anxiety, depression and/or stress are your mates. Deep belly breathes, or box breathing (see below) are ideal to settle the parasympathetic nervous system (your flight or fight mode) and stimulate your sympathetic nervous system (your rest and digest mode)
- Connect with others – this might be a smile at a stranger, asking a question and listening wholeheartedly to the answer, or even patting your pet
A digital detox, like any detox, is designed for just a short period. But it is an excellent way to re-evaluate what you do and give you the space to be creative to think about other ways you may like to function.
Some of these ways may be incorporated back into your life post-holidays.
My digital detox
For the first time in many years, we are travelling to New Zealand as a whole family. My four kids have all grown up and left home. Yet, all are keen to return to how we traditionally had our family holiday: flying to Auckland, hiring a minibus and driving the 4.5 hours north to the Bay of Islands, where my extended family live. We will be making the same trek this year, with some changes.
My daughter will meet us in Auckland as she lives in Sydney, and the four kids will have their hired car (cheap and cheerful). Mark and I have our hired car (Tesla). AKA – no fighting over music! We will be staying with whanau (family), visiting all our favourite beaches, playing all our family games and (I am sure) annoying each other in all the same ways.
To walk the talk, I will take a break from social media, emails and blog writing. And this means that the people who work for me can do the same.
My holiday goals are to be in nature, breathe deeply, rest and connect wholeheartedly with the people I love.
The last time all 6 of us travelled together to NZ. Two teenagers and two kids! (2013)
We all look so young!
Don’t kids just love holiday snaps?
This is taken in Paihia with my parents, Ian and Elaine (2013)
See you in 2023!
EVEolution™ Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn will be on holiday from Saturday, 24th December, to Monday, 8th January.
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