As we enter into 2017, many are looking for ways to change the way we live. While it’s easy to make general statements about wanting to be happier or healthier in the new year, what is one thing everyone can do today to make this happen? The first step may be no further away than your smartphone being used to read this article. Taking the time to do a digital detox is a step in the right direction as far as being both happier and healthier in 2017.
A digital detox means making a true commitment to unplugging and disconnecting from electronics for a set amount of time. It can be as short as 24 hours or for a much longer period.
Benefits of a digital detox include:
Reclaiming Control Over Your Schedule
We live in an era where most people check their work emails outside of work, and even on weekends. This gives supervisors and customers the idea that you are available 24/7 with no regard to the boundaries of business hours. Unplugging and not checking work emails allows you to set a boundary to balance your personal time versus work time.
Reconnecting With Real People
Screen time for some people can take the place of spending time with others in a meaningful way. To see this in play, take a look around you the next time you go out to dinner. You’ll likely see many people on their smartphones or tablets checking social media or emails instead of interacting with those around them. Forbes recently found that 60% of those surveyed spent more of their time looking at their screens than with their spouse.
Creating Better Sleeping Habits
Having a smartphone or tablet beside your bed is the norm for many workers. The ping of an incoming email, text or the phone ringing often interrupts valuable sleep time. In most cases, there’s nothing so important that it needs to wake anyone up. Setting aside time for uninterrupted sleep is healthy and needed.
Establishing Polite and Expected Business Boundaries
Use an automated email reply and an outgoing voicemail message to inform those trying to reach you when you will be checking messages. This allows you to not worry about customers or co-workers seeing your lack of immediate response as being impolite. Unplugging without just disappearing allows you to enjoy your time away.
Freeing Yourself from Clutter
Cables, cords, chargers and phone covers mean clutter that gets in the way of enjoying time off. Leave the extra cords at home and enjoy the freedom of not being tied to checking social media and worrying about low batteries for a night.
Enjoying The Break and Fresh Air
Think about how much easier it’ll be to take a swim, go running or even just take a walk without carrying a phone, cables, and anything else needed for electronics. Taking time off to enjoy the outdoors without the tether of cables or cords can be a great way to de-stress and get some much needed fresh air.
Becoming More Productive
According to the Huffington Post, taking a digital detox for a weekend can actually recharge your brain enough to enable you to compartmentalize and be ready to tackle that Monday workload. Instead of dreading returning to work after a weekend of answering work emails, you feel like you’ve had an actual break and return to work with a slightly different perspective.
Reducing Stress and Serious Depression
Research ties stress and depression to a dependence on checking both emails and social media updates. The immediate feedback from the phone’s notifications actually releases a chemical in the brain that can add to one’s stress and negatively impact your mood. Becoming too focused on immediately checking social media and electronics can also feed into addictive traits.
Whether it’s a 24-hour or weekly break from electronics, taking the time to take a digital detox is well worth it. For some, it will be a one-time thing, but others find they enjoy the break enough to set new work standards that include unplugging every weekend or even setting up a schedule for the office where everyone takes turns checking emergency emails over the weekend so the others can take the digital detox. Give yourself a break this weekend and unplug yourself.