Digital media is a major contributor to the state of my emotional wellbeing. In fact, the over-use of social and digital media adds to my levels of anxiety. After recognizing how digital media affects my health, I’ve embarked on digital detox. This is a journey to reduce my screen time and develop healthier habits with technology. Keep reading for my 4 tips on how to successfully embark on a Digital Detox.
Why I’m Reducing Screen Time
As I mentioned above, I typically see a direct correlation between negative down-turns in my mental health and my social media usage. In other words, the more time I spend on social media the more unhappy I tend to feel. This occurs for quite a few reasons.
First, social media creates a false sense of failure and success. What do I mean by this? Well, most people typically only share their highlight reels, the things that provide the illusion that everything in their lives is going perfectly. When I compare these highlight reels to my own life, it is easy to feel like I am lagging behind.
Second, social media alters my own self-perception. Although this sounds similar to the above, it is slightly different. More specifically, this issue pertains to how I view myself physically. With the normalization of Photoshop, Facetune, and plastic surgery, it is easy to feel like my looks are inadequate.
Third, too much time on social media fuels my desire to spend money (that I don’t have). In this instance, social media is doing what it was designed to do. However, spending without thinking is unhealthy.
Finally, social media perpetuates a lot of negativity online. There is so much negativity going on in the world and a lot of online fighting taking place. Sometimes, it just feels too overwhelming.
How to Successfully Embark on a Digital Detox
Reducing screen time is a personal choice. No one can dictate how much screen time is too much screen time for someone else. The below tips are not all encompassing, but may be helpful.
1 | Delete Apps That Make You Miserable
I’m not sure why, but no app fills me with greater sadness than Facebook. Unfortunately, mindlessly checking Facebook became an ingrained habit when I was in high school and university. To stop the misery, I deleted the Facebook and Messenger apps off my phone and I’m glad to say that I don’t miss them!
If there is an app that makes you feel this way – delete it off your phone. It doesn’t matter who uses the app around you. Do what feels best for you!
2 | Turn Off Banner Notifications
To stop myself from constantly checking my phone, I keep my phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day. By keeping my phone on DND, it won’t light up when I receive notifications or texts. Also, it will not even ring the first time someone tries to call me. Additionally, I turned off banner notifications on my phone.
If you are someone that struggles with the need to constantly check your phone, turning off notifications may be an option that helps you to reduce your screen time!
3 | Using Apple’s Screen-Time to Limit Phone Usage
Screen-Time has quickly become my favorite feature on my phone. Not only can this feature be used to monitor how much I use my phone during the day, but it can be used to set usage limits.
If, social media is your vice, try setting usage limits so you are more aware of how long you are using these types of apps. I love how this app helps me to understand how long I’ve been on my phone. Also, I block my ability to use certain apps at night.
4 | Unsubscribe from Emails that Trigger Shopping
My spam/shopping email got totally out of hand. In essence, I was receiving so many emails that kept triggering me to purchase. In an effort to curb my spending, I unsubscribed from nearly all the email lists I previously joined.
If you struggle with shopping due to email offers, try removing yourself from email lists that trigger you to shop!
5 | Keep Your Phone Out of Sight
One of the easiest ways to reduce screen time is to make it harder to check your phone. By keeping your phone away from your desk or out of the room (while you work) or out of your bedroom (when it is time for bed), you add barriers to constantly checking your phone.
Final Thoughts on How to Successfully Embark on a Digital Detox
Although I’ve still been feeling a little bit down, my digital detox has been helpful for reducing digital-induced stress. First, I am spending less time mindlessly scrolling on my phone. Second, I am more productive during the day. Lastly, since reducing my screen time, I’ve been sleeping better at night.
Overall, I know that I feel better about my life and my present circumstances when I’m not mindlessly scrolling through social media. When I spend too much time online, I find myself playing the comparison game. Comparison can challenge me to push myself, but too often I just feel down.
I want to live a full and worthwhile life, so I’m happy to spend less time online. I am likely to participate in future digital detoxes to improve my mental health. I hope that you found my tips on how to successfully embark on a digital detox helpful.