As the world becomes more digital-obsessed, “digital detox” is a term that is beginning to gain popularity. But what does it mean? Why should you do it? Where do you even begin?

What exactly is a Digital Detox?

Like every other detox, you’re relieving yourself of an item or action, and replacing it with something more beneficial, therefore replenishing your mind and body. A digital detox does just that. You start by removing your smartphones, computers and other electronic devices from parts of your day, then replace it. Use that time to relax, pick up an old hobby, be more socially interactive and get outdoors.

For example, instead of watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram before you go to sleep you can read a book or practice some light yoga. Ideally, substituting your online time with an offline activity will gradually reduce your use of technology. Hopefully, some of the changes become permanent.

How to implement a Digital Detox

Like any habit, kicking it isn’t easy. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to transform overnight and go cold turkey. The important thing is to find out what works for you and take it from there.

This might mean banning one device from the dinner table at a time, shutting your laptop an hour or two before bed, making an effort to be more sociable in real life or leaving your gadgets at home when you’re out on a walk. It’s a good motivator to find a detox buddy to keep yourself in check.

Going on a digital detox can give you more time to see the world, spend time with your friends and loved ones, focus on yourself, be more mindful of what’s happening around you, and essentially, give you more control over your life.

3 Alternatives to Staring at your Screen All Day

1. Hiking and experiencing the great outdoors

Remember nature? Not only does hiking have amazing mental and physical health benefits — such as empowerment and improving brain function — it’s also fun and gives you a chance to learn more about the natural world. To help you get motivated, plan your hiking trips ahead of time and get your friends and family involved.

2. Learn a new skill

Learning a new skill is great for your cognitive development. Sure, playing a mobile game may develop some skills, but to truly get the value of value of a digital detox you need to put your device down and try your hand at something new. Cooking classes, gardening or learning sign language; there are several avenues for expanding one’s repertoire beyond Rescue Pets.

3. Exercise

Want the best of both worlds? You can combine the outdoors and learning a new skill to get plenty of exercise. Now exercise doesn’t necessarily mean long hours spent jogging or lifting weights at the gym. Whether you take up a martial art, practice archery or play football for your local club, you will have the opportunity to meet new people, develop new skills and get your blood pumping.

Is Technology Interrupting Our Relationships?

Technology can help families and friends stay better connected. It brings convenience and flow into everyday living — unless the wifi drops out — but unchecked and abused, it can just as easily force them further apart.

Family

According to a recent survey, 2 in 3 parents feel technology use has hindered their ability to spend time with their children. If you think about it, this sentiment is not that far fetched. Classic family hobbies such as board games and backyard cricket have been overtaken by the use of smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other gadgets. These technologies can distract kids and parents from spending quality time with one another, interrupt important life lessons and discussions, and even cause problem behaviours and health issues such as sleep deprivation.

Friendships and partners

When it comes to friendships, it can be argued that social media is eroding meaningful relationships. It has also given rise to higher levels of narcissism and online harassment. By spending more time scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, we spend less time focusing on nurturing the relationships we have in real life. Talking to one another face-to-face. Listening to each other.

The extent to which technology is interrupting our relationships is relative to each individual but it can certainly have a negative impact. It’s about recognising this when it happens and making an effort to change things up — even if this means unplugging.

Ready to Step Away?

Completely unplugging from technology is impossible and probably not worth it, but taking a step back and disconnecting at the right times and for the right reasons offers a world of benefits. Do you want more control over your relationships and your life? Are you ready to step away from the blue screen?