How much time do you spend on your devices?
Are you the sort of person that spends all day switching between your computer, TV, and smartphone without taking a break in between?
Are you always going from one source of entertainment or distraction to another, always on the hunt for the next cool video, meme, post, or article?
If so, you might need a digital detox!
The term “digital detox” refers to a period of time where you refrain from using electronic or digital devices. That includes not just your smartphone, but also your TV, computer, tablet, and anything else that can access social media websites and entertainment content.
The concept of “digital detoxing” is fairly new—it’s only been in the last decade or so that electronics have become central to our lives, and we as a human race have become dependent on our devices. Now, getting away from those digital devices from time to time can be the best thing to do for a healthy mind and body.
Why would you want to get away from your screens at all? After all, that’s where most of your entertainment comes from, how you communicate, and, of course, how you get your work done. So what’s the reason to undergo this period of no-screen time?
Here are a few of the main benefits of a digital detox:
Reduce Stress – Technology and social media have been linked to higher levels of stress . The constant connection to everything means that there’s a subconscious pressure to constantly be checking your email, responding to text messages, and keeping up with social media for fear of missing out on something important. It’s a low-grade stress that remains ever-present in the backs of our minds, and it adds to or compounds other stressors in our lives. Disconnecting from your technology for a while may help you realize that there’s no need to always stay on top of things—you can go for minutes or even hours without answering texts, checking your email, or scrolling through social media.
Improve Your Mental Health – Did you know that heavy daily use of technology has been linked to higher mental health risk ? Studies have indicated that adolescents are at greater risk of ADHD and conduct disorder, and their ability to self-regulate decreases as a result of excessive screen time. Extensive social media use has also been linked to decreased well-being.
On the flip side, limiting your use of social media may actually help to fight depression and improve your mental health. You’ll no longer be constantly searching for the next post, photo, video, or meme, and your attention will improve as you focus on whatever you’re currently doing.
Fight Tech Addiction – Tech addiction isn’t an established condition, but experts agree that the sort of addictive behavior formed through the use of technology and social media can lead to very real psychological, social, and even physical problems. Teens, in particular, can often feel like they can’t live without their devices, which speaks to both dependence and possible addiction.
If you feel like your life is run, organized, or connected only via your devices, it’s definitely worth giving them up to see how you can live without them. You may find yourself far more addicted than you realize, and only once you temporarily break ties will you be able to put your reliance on those devices into proper perspective.
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Sleep Better – Devices interfere with good sleep quality. The blue light emitted by your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or TV screen will decrease melatonin production and thereby make it harder for you to get to sleep at night. Studies  have also linked nighttime use of devices with not only poor sleep quality, but increased BMI and higher risk of obesity.
In one study , researchers discovered that people who use their devices in bed often end up spending an hour or more on social media. This can definitely lead to higher anxiety, depression, and insomnia, all because you’re using your device in bed.
But with a digital detox, you eliminate that device time, and instead focus on something else—be it reading, talking with your partner, or simply going to sleep without distraction. You’ll find your sleep quality will drastically improve by cutting out late-night electronics use.
Improve Your Work/Life Balance – One study  found that people who use technology more have a much harder time setting a good work/life balance. They had a harder time resisting temptation to check emails, texts, and social media when on vacation, and their work correspondence often followed them home.
In the above-mentioned study, the quantity of technology use was directly linked to overall job satisfaction, feelings of overwork, and job stress. Simply put, the more the participants used their technology, the worse their work/life balance.
Read this list of signs below, and if you can identify with more than two or three of them, then it’s probably in your best interest to do a digital detox:
You’re often up late or getting up early to check your phone or scroll through social media.
You feel anxious or stressed when you spend time away from or can’t find your phone.
You feel a compulsion to check your phone constantly, and every time it bings, beeps, or buzzes, you have to check it.
You spend a lot of time on social media, and it often leaves you feeling angry, anxious, or depressed.
You care deeply about the performance of your social media posts, agonizing over the likes, shares, comments, and re-tweets.
You worry that if you don’t stay on top of your emails, texts, or social media accounts, you might miss something.
You have trouble concentrating when not on your phone, and you typically use your phone while engaged in other activities (such as talking, eating, watching TV, etc.).
All of these are BAD things, and they’re all directly linked to your dependence or reliance on technology. It’s definitely time you give yourself a digital detox and put technology back in its rightful place as something that improves your life, not controls it!
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