Digital Detox — Why, When, and How

PULKIT VERMA
BWT Experiences
Published in
6 min readJan 21, 2021

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Digital Detox

Is the digital world getting inside your mind, body, and soul? Are you looking for a reason to abandon all the gadgets and apps to protect your mental peace and keep your wavering thoughts in check? Or, you have just finished watching the Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma, feeling scared as hell about what to do next now that your every action is being monitored and you probably feel betrayed by all the apps?

Then, you have stumbled upon the right blog because we are going to break down the why, when, and how of a digital detox.

Digital Detox precisely means to take a break from all and every digital gadget, from your phone, gaming consoles to laptops and computers. In short, go Digital-free.

Keeping in mind the current pull of social media and the boon of digitalization in boosting economies to connecting the world and the mere simplicity it offers seems like just and fair reasons to not rip the bandage in one go. Instead, taking baby steps or creating a virtual life-real life balance would be the golden key.

Why do you need a digital detox?

  • You feel emotionally and physically drained after a while of looking at screens or certain apps
  • Your day-to-day communication with people in front of you is almost negligible
  • You want a break from living your life on screen
  • You feel anxious, low, or even depressed after scrolling through your social feed
  • You are losing touch with your inner self
  • You want to enjoy nature without constant pings and dings

Research shows that Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is a mental health disorder that requires professional care. Though IAD has not received official acknowledgment in DSM-5, the consequences of internet addiction are profound and can have a devastating effect on your mental well-being.

If you feel that you have an unhealthy attachment with social media or gaming or even certain apps, then seeking proper care would benefit you tremendously in the long run.

When do you need a Digital Detox?

  • FOMO is making you miss out on real-life events
  • Obsessing over likes, retweets, dislikes, and a whole lot more
  • You have to check your phone the second you receive any notifications.
  • Your self-worth is equivalent to the apps you use
  • Digital screens take up nearly all your time.
  • Screen time is a factor in amplifying your physical strain.
  • Your life on-screen seems way better than your real life.
  • Sliding away important tasks (assignments, conversation with parents, office work, etc.)
  • You are having thoughts that usually would never occur to you.
  • You feel addicted to screens and keep counting the minutes when you get to browse through them again.

You decide why and when you would like to leave behind the animated world created by technology and connect with your authentic self until you are ready to have a comeback!

How to practice a mindful digital detox?

Trust your heart and embrace the journey. You may make a wrong turn but, your heart will get you back on the right path. Just keep making choices and do not second guess yourself.

― E’yen A. Gardner

The distinctive feature of the world we live in today from the past is the era of technology. Complete abstinence from it might not be a feasible solution for some, so the most crucial factor while practicing digital detox is deciding the pace and magnitude which would put you at ease and not disrupt your routine activities.

Let’s break down how to go about a digital detox-

Striving to create a digitally balanced life

More often than not, a balanced approach is all we need to embrace for shedding the unnecessary exposure to mindless activities.

There is no denying that digitalization is the need of the hour, from government officials stressing the importance of going digital and the pandemic leaving us with no other option than to depend on screens and the internet for every little thing.

Amid all this hocus pocus of social media, online classes, work from home culture, paperless economies, and a multitude of other factors leading us to become digitally-dependent, a well-rounded schedule might be a durable fix.

How? Refer to these points below-

  • Install apps that alert you when you exceed your daily screen time usage
  • Allot specific time throughout the day for browsing through social media
  • Prioritize your time from essential to optional activities on the internet
  • If you can, then start journaling your daily internet consumption

Modify your schedule as and when the need for technology is pivotal and also when you are confident enough that screens will not prevail over your mind.

Uninstall certain toxic apps

Whether we admit it or not, there are specific apps that make you feel demotivated, envious, or sometimes even worthless and unconsciously compels you to draw comparisons with people (images and captions to be accurate) that add fuel to the fire.

Well, it is a no-brainer that removing those would immensely benefit you on a deep and satisfying level. It is often hard to execute. That is why, instead of completely absolving yourself from those applications, you can take one step at a time.

Start with cutting an hour out of your daily usage. Then, move on to two or three hours every alternate week and, when you have enough strength and willpower, uninstall them and observe the changes.

If it works in your favor, keep them out of your phone as long as you wish to and, if you feel driven by the need to have them back on, then install them again and repeat the reducing time process till it works in your favor.

Engage yourself in ventures outside your screen

Not all is what it seems. The digital screens satisfy a little of what we perceive they offer. Amid our life going online, we usually forget that there are events and activities that we could engage in our real life.

  • Instead of attending a webinar, maybe try being physically present.
  • Engross yourself in reading, writing, music, or spending time in your hobbies
  • Go out with your friends and do not make a boomerang, or take mindless snapshots
  • Appreciate the beauty that surrounds you
  • Go to a gym, start jogging or even exercise for an hour
  • Start face-to-face conversation than online ones

When you look at the world from your own eyes and not the camera lens ideas and, activities that captivate your soul start coming to you at a stroke.

Converse about off-line topics

If you are partaking in a digital detox journey, conversations about off-trend and not-so-cool topics might prove beneficial. Always keeps your close ones in the loop and have long talks on general, fun things that interest you.

  • Maybe talk about your goals
  • Where you see yourself in 5–10 years
  • Share jokes instead of memes
  • What swells you with pride
  • World affairs that resonate with you

It is hard to let go of the texting culture when it seems effortless and amusing and, we are living in the generation of memes. But, taking your mind off of the trendy topics might accelerate your rush to have a mindful digital detox.

Leave your phone at home

Easier said than done, right?

In the current scenario, a pressing need for carrying your phone to every place you step your foot might be prevalent. But, there is a way to put this point into practice.

Look for instances where you could do away with your phone. Maybe going on a walk with your parents or friends or going grocery shopping or watching a movie. Steeping out for an evening with your loved ones; wherever leaving your phone seems doable, try and carry through.

Not only would it reduce your screen time, and also let you live in the moment. That is all we aspire to do in social media applications too.

A digital detox curated according to your needs and well-being would be much worthwhile than following a standard set of rules. You may opt for an electronics fast (total shunning of all the electronic devices) or start small and then go up from there. You might not want a complete digital detox but a social media detox or abstinence from specific apps.

Whenever you find yourself stuck or questioning the whole exercise of a digital detox, remember why you started and how productive it has been for you up until that point.

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PULKIT VERMA
BWT Experiences

Starter. Sr. Developer. UX researcher. Full-Stack Designer. Writer at DotActive.xyz, Bookweekendtours.com