9 Reasons You Might Need a Digital Detox

On average, a Canadian spends six and a half hours online each day. So, it’s not at all surprising if you’ve been wanting to find ways to escape from the ever-present online world, even if just for a little while. A commonly used solution? A digital detox.

digital detox

What Is a Digital Detox?

A digital detox is taking a set period of time away from your devices or reducing the amount of time or things you do on them. Essentially, it’s an opportunity to give yourself a break and recovery period from the negative effects, or toxicities, of spending a lot of time online or using digital devices.

A digital detox can be as flexible or strict as you’d like. Some people remove all digital devices from their lives and may commit to this for a time that feels the most appropriate for them. For some people, it might be a day-long break; for others, it could be a week or a month.

Others may approach their digital detox by removing certain apps or devices, but they will still permit themselves a few digital fixes. For instance, they might not touch social media but will still use their phone to make calls or send messages and watch TV shows or movies. Another might give up TV but keep their phone and all its apps available.

Because our world is so connected, it’s not possible for everyone to eliminate all their time online or checking their phone. Thanks to the flexibility of what a digital detox entails, it allows anyone to work around their digital necessities while still enjoying the benefits of taking a break from the digital world.

Why Go on a Digital Detox?

Our devices, whether your computer, phone, tablet, smartwatch, TV, or any other way you spend time online or in front of a screen, can impact our physical and mental health. Overuse of the internet or general screen time is linked to depression and anxiety, low self-esteem, isolation, muscle pain, insufficient amounts of exercise, and, honestly, the list could go on and on.

This means that taking the time to do a digital detox is about more than just challenging yourself, though it certainly will. It’s about caring for yourself.

Here are a few reasons you might want or need a digital detox:

  1. You frequently check your phone or feel phantom vibrations
  2. You feel stressed or anxious if you don’t always have your phone with you
  3. You’re afraid you’ll miss an update like hearing when a new casino is launched
  4. You feel like you spend too much time on your phone, tablet, or laptop
  5. You’re not sleeping well, or you’re scrolling on your phone well into the night
  6. You feel insecure, anxious, or stressed after scrolling through social media
  7. You get distracted from tasks or work because you’re checking your messages, email, Instagram feed, or any other social media accounts
  8. You get neck or shoulder pain from looking down at your device
  9. You frequently get eyestrain, headaches, or tired eyes when looking at a screen

A digital detox can help break the pattern of absently reaching for your phone or hitting play on your current show. Beyond this, it also offers benefits ranging from reduced stress to feeling like you have more time in your day.

Reduced Stress

Being intentional about putting your phone down or your laptop away can help reduce the feeling that you need to be messaging people back or checking in to be sure you haven’t missed something. During a detox, that feeling of always having to be connected isn’t an option, and that can be a freeing thing.

Better Sleep

Screen time can disrupt our sleep because screens emit blue light. Blue light can interrupt our natural circadian rhythms, which determine our sleep-wake cycle by signaling the release of wakeful or sleep-inducing hormones. When we’re on our phones or laptops before bed, the blue light delays the release of our sleep hormones, disrupting our sleep quality.

While blue light blockers can help reduce these effects, the best way to eliminate the impacts of blue light is to remove the source at least an hour before bed. During a digital detox, you’ll avoid or reduce your exposure to this wake-inducing light, which will help you get better sleep.

Sense of Accomplishment

When you set yourself up with goals and achieve them, your brain releases hormones like dopamine that make you feel good. This can happen even when reaching a small goal, like doing a short digital detox by putting your phone away for a few hours. The feeling and sense of accomplishment will stay with you and can even help you achieve more of your goals in the future.

More Time for Yourself

While you won’t actually have more time, you will feel like you do. You won’t lose time mindlessly scrolling through Facebook when you just opened the app to check one thing. With this increase in time for yourself, you can take part in the hobbies that make you happy, exercise, do yoga, or meditate, all of which support your health and well-being.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Professional Support

While an internet or phone addiction hasn’t been formally classified as a form of addiction, our relationships with the internet and smartphones and how our brain responds to them bear many similarities to behavioral addictions. The similarities are so strong that some psychologists and healthcare experts express that it is a genuine mental health concern.

Because of the intense relationship we can develop with our phones, a digital detox may feel impossible or highlight that you might need additional support to create a healthy relationship with the digital world. Speaking with a counselor or therapist is an excellent place to start.

Sometimes, Disconnecting Is Essential

By taking time away from screens and online activities, you’ll feel many benefits, to the point where you might want to make it a regular thing. We might live in a highly connected, digital world, but disconnecting every now and then is essential.