With the evolution of the humble mobile phone into an all-singing, all-dancing smartphone that packs every feature you could want into the palm of your hand – it’s understandable that many people feel a little overwhelmed by the growing digital dimension in our lives and the demands of being constantly connected.

Turns out that the average Australian is now spending five and a half hours a day on average using their phone, which is about 17 years during your lifetime. That, plus a handful of other reasons, could be why more and more people are looking into doing a digital detox: a method of resetting and redefining how we interact with the digital space.

What is a digital detox?

A digital detox is a way of getting away from all your screens and devices to change your relationship with technology, making it more of an active choice than a passive activity. This usually involves swapping out digital activities for physical ones, such as hanging out with friends, going to an attraction nearby, playing a sport, or heading out to a beauty spot. Your digital detox depends entirely on your preferences and what works for you.

Reasons to do a digital detox

Many people spend more of their waking hours in the digital space than the physical one scrolling social media, streaming video content, playing video games, doing virtual meetings. It can get to a point where the two feel blurred and it’s hard to disconnect from being online.

Breaking the cycle and disconnecting from the digital sphere can be incredibly appealing to those who feel screen time is linked to:

  • General burnout (from work or otherwise)
  • Overstimulation in their personal life (exhausted at being connected all the time)
  • Obligated to consume and respond to online content
  • Low mood, irritability, and insecurity

What are the benefits of a digital detox?

If you’re curious about the benefits of doing a digital detox, here are just some of the general benefits people have found – although it’s important to note that its effectiveness and results vary from how you approach your detox:

  • Reduce stress
  • Less isolation or FOMO driven by social content
  • Improve sleep habits (screen time before bed can be detrimental to sleep)
  • Becoming less dependent on digital media for escapism/instant gratification
  • More time to develop skills and hobbies
  • Less distracted and greater sense of mindfulness

How to do a digital detox

There’s no one-size-fits-all method of doing a digital detox – you’ll need to set your own digital detox rules based on how strict you want to be with yourself and how big of a disconnect you want to experience.

The main aim of doing a digital detox is to break your usual habits and make purposeful changes to your lifestyle. Seeing it as a digital detox challenge, with rewards and potential goals you want to hit within a time limit, can help make it feel more achievable.

General digital detox rules

We’ve detailed some of the standard digital detox methods that people use to help curb their phone usage and screen time. You can use these, tweak them, and add in your own to find something that works for you.

  1. Avoid screen time before bed: Blue light from screens can mess with your sleep, so try not to use them in the 90 minutes before bed. Try to switch up your routine.
  2. Configure your devices: Most devices have built-in features to limit screen time, as well as Do Not Disturb settings to prevent notifications from nagging for attention.
  3. Set tech-free hours: Take regular breaks from your devices where you can – lunchtimes, commutes, Sunday mornings – whatever is attainable for you.
  4. Try the 1:1:1 method: This method encourages you to step away from your devices one hour a day (before bed), one afternoon/evening a week, and one week a year.
  5. Keep your device out of sight: Putting your devices in a drawer, box or other room helps take them off your mind, freeing you up to focus on other tasks.
  6. Set goals: Minimising your device time can be easier if you’re using that time working towards something else. If there’s a hobby or skill you’re looking to get better at, set yourself an amount of time per day/week on that instead.

Activities for switching off

We’ve talked about a few digital detox activities already that can be used to break you out of the digital cycle and bring you back into the physical, so we wanted to highlight three key ones that can make you feel more grounded and mindful when taking on your digital detox challenge.

Drive out into the great outdoors

You can find a wide range of national parks and natural beauty spots dotted around if exploring the outdoors appeals to you. Stay as local or go as far as you want to get away from your everyday routine and the screens that it brings your way. Whether it’s beach, bush, or park bench – go where your heart takes you.

Dive into a book

Sometimes you just can’t beat a good book – whether it’s a novel that transports you to another place or time, or a guide on how to become better at something you’d always wanted to grapple with. Whatever takes your fancy, check in at your local library or see if a friend is willing to lend you their copy of their favourite book.

Spend time with friends and family

Our nearest and dearest can be excellent sources of motivation, inspiration, and conversation. Take your connections offline and see whether they’d want to take a trip somewhere, pop out for a drink or come over for dinner. Swap out Facetiming for face-to-face time and rediscover the magic of hanging out in person.

If you feel that getting away to somewhere designed for a digital detox and disconnecting from the online world would help, a digital detox resort can be a great option. Companies like The Digital Detox Project can set you up somewhere for a few nights to break your screen cycle, so you can return home feeling more empowered in your relationship with devices. Think that could work for you? Why not knock the price down a little with our paid online surveys to earn rewards while you’re feeling more digitally active!

There are currently no comments.