Why You Need a Digital Detox

digital detox
A digital detox is about switching off all the gadgets that rule our lives for a certain amount of time, such as 24 hours, and reaping the benefits.

You check your phone hundreds of times a day, you sit in front of the computer for hours at a time, you get most of your news from Twitter or the internet, then you take a break by catching up with a friend on Facebook. Ever stopped to wonder just how much of your life goes to all things digital? It’s time for a digital detox!

Doing a regular detox helps you regain your health and clean out your system. digital Here is why it’s good for you, your relationships, and the environment.

Log into You

When your phone is beeping every five minutes, it’s impossible to stay connected to yourself or stop to smell the roses. Technology keeps us connected to the world (you know how horrid it feels when your gadgets are dead during load-shedding!) but its disclaimer is that it pulls us away from us.

Instead of constantly being on the go, keeping in tune with everything around us through our devices and waiting for that next thing – the next work email, the next Facebook post – silence your phone and take a bit of time to focus on yourself without distraction. This is important because it gives you a chance to touch base with who you are and where you’re going.

Plug into Your Life

A study found even being without your gadgets for a few minutes can cause anxiety. Of course sometimes you need to be plugged in, such as if you’re at work or your friend’s having a crisis, but if you’re at home with your family and no life or death situation is happening, leave your device in another room and decide you’ll check it the next day. On the weekend, take a full day to be without your phone. If this is hard for you, try a few hours first and see how you do.

Take the kids out for an activity, bond with your partner, pursue a hobby. You might find that you’re a little anxious for a while, but be with those feelings and instead of distracting yourself away from boredom or unease by logging into social media, do something real with the people around you. Organise to meet the Facebook friend that you’re always chatting to online for a face-to-face connection.

Boost Your Health

Not just allowing you to gain mental ease, a digital detox can help your physical health. For instance, you won’t be stressing your thumbs with all that instant messaging or your neck from bending to read from your screen. You will get better sleep, avoiding distraction. A study found that people who read on a tablet before bedtime had less melatonin, the hormone that makes you get sleepy, and they took longer to fall asleep. By taking a digital detox, you also won’t be straining your eyes, getting headaches or allowing your body to absorb so much radiation. A large amount of research has found that people who use cell phones for half an hour or more a day every day for a decade double their risk of brain cancer.

It’s a Rest for the Environment, Too

Becoming less governed by your devices means that you can do your bit for the environment. For starters, if you’re so obsessed about your gadgets, chances are you will replace them quicker, with most ending up in landfills. Reports have found that one-third of people get rid of their mobile phones because they want new features, while one-fifth do it because they just fancy something new. This means more phones are being thrown away unnecessarily. By the year 2017, the amount of e-products  thrown out globally will be 33 percent greater than in 2012. Its weight will be equivalent to eight Great Egyptian Pyramids. That’s millions and millions of tons!

A digital detox every now and then will keep your phone in better condition because you won’t be exhausting its battery life so much, plus you’ll gain perspective by seeing that there is so much else in life that doesn’t come with an app and if you’re plugged in 24/7 you’ll be missing out on it.

Image credit: flairimages  / Dollar Photo Club  

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