Digital Detox for mental wellness

Over the past decade, a cultural change has swept the world, albeit so quietly and subtly. It is now the norm for people of all ages (from 16 to 64) to spend at least two hours and 27 minutes on average scrolling through various social media platforms daily. On the other hand, another group is emerging to whom “digital detox” is becoming the new lifestyle choice.  

The latter group wishes to unplug, refusing to allow platforms like Instagram and Facebook to make them dance at their fingertips. Some are opting out forever and embracing the slower pace of living where FOMO does not exist. Others are simply taking a break to preserve their sanity and mental wellness.  

Such drastic measures, especially from a generation obsessed with letting the world know their every move, do raise eyebrows. Let’s look at things from their lens. So, what is digital detoxification, and is it really worth it? This blog will delve deeper into that.  

Understanding Digital Detoxification  

In simple terms, a digital detox is an act of limiting the use of social media platforms to focus on other pursuits like practicing mindfulness and living intentionally. While some people reduce their time on social media, others disconnect entirely.  

During a social media detox, a person may choose to spend more quality time with the people in front of them, revive hobbies they may have left behind in the busy pace of life, and live in the present moment. This detoxification works on a psychological level – the way a juice detox flushes out toxins from the physical system.  

Reasons to Go on a Social Media Detox  

Going on an unplugged digital detox has benefits on both the physical and mental levels. These include – 

1. Better Mood  

Good Mood for Digital Detox

If you’ve spent even a day “doom-scrolling” through different social media platforms, you know it does not keep you entertained for long. Soon, you begin feeling on the edge, restless, crummy, and not-so-informed.  

Also, mindless scrolling exposes us to apparently happy posts from people showcasing their latest trip, gadget, relationship, or lavish lifestyle. This again starts a downward spiral of sadness. A digital detox cleanses the system of the comparison trap, instantly uplifting one’s mood.  

2. Improved Concentration  

Better Concentration by Digital Detox

It would not be an understatement to say that modern society has an attention span of a goldfish. People will barely work for a few minutes before fumbling with their phones. Even if they cannot find anything interesting, they will keep scrolling to avoid boredom or to procrastinate.  

All these harmful distractions are gone when a person is on a social media detox. It may be challenging at first, but soon enough, they regain laser-like focus on the task at hand.  

3. Stronger Relationships  

Social media platforms were initially started to help long-lost friends unite (even virtually for a time) and stay connected with friends and family living in different parts of the world. Only over the years did it become a way for people to connect with strangers and form somewhat meaningless relationships.  

Some people avoid real-life meet-ups and interactions, content with instant texting or calling on social media. They also have less time for loved ones as they spend a vicious cycle of comparison and jealousy online. A social media cleanse can shift the focus on relationships that matter and strengthen them.  

4. Sound Sleep  

In a race to stay connected and on top of everything, people are willing to sacrifice sleep, which is considered the body’s life-support system. Over time, a chronic lack of sleep coupled with late-night social media scrolling can lead to cardiovascular disorders, depression, diabetes, and more.  

A digital detox leaves the person with no choice but to participate in meaningful real-life activities and sleep early. Again, the first few days might make one anxious, but it gradually gets better, and you can enjoy deep sleep.  

5. Greater Gratitude for Life  

English writer and art critic G. K. Chesterton said, “The world will never starve for want of wonders, only for want of wonder.”  

People who rarely lift up their heads off their phones miss out on the wonders of life found in a freshly-brewed cup of coffee, the mild orangish rays of the rising sun, the petrichor of a ground freshly kissed by rain, and the satisfying laughter of a child.  

They live on auto-pilot, forgetting that the beauty is as much in the details as in the big picture. A digital detox benefits by bringing the moments that matter into focus. People develop a greater appreciation for life when they are busy living and not documenting it.  

Digital Detox Tips to Help You Cleanse Your System  

Digital Detox Tips

If social media has taken over your life’s reins, it’s time to show it who’s in charge! Unplug the digital presence safely in the following ways – 

  • First things first, tell your family, friends, and loved ones that you are taking a social media break. Do not leave them wondering where you have disappeared all of a sudden.  
  • Decide whether you want to unplug completely or just limit usage. Also, choose the platforms you wish to unplug from.  
  • Consider turning off social media notifications so you are only aware of messages when you open the app.  
  • Utilize other apps on your social media detox, such as AppBlock, Forest, etc., to limit usage and track online activity.  
  • Invite another friend to do the digital detox with you. This increases accountability and motivation.  
  • Renew/train your mind to view this detoxification as a redirection to better things ahead.  
  • Avoid reaching your phone first thing in the morning by investing in a real alarm clock.  

You can do a digital detox anywhere from seven days to 30 days or even more, as per your desire. 

The Takeaway  

Though many of us know the benefits of a social media detox, we usually hesitate to start one, wondering if it’s really needed. Some clear signs that you should consider this mental detox process are – you are stuck in the comparison trap, you just do not have time for anything, your brain feels foggy at times, you focus more on what to post instead of just enjoying the moment, and your view of life is lived in captions.  

Even your body gives you subtle signs like restlessness throughout the day, unwillingness to have real-life social interactions, inability to sleep, and constant anxiety of FOMO. Just be kind to yourself and take digital detox as a leap of self-care – you will never regret it!