We’re no strangers to juice cleanses or detox diets, but what about a technology detox? I was having dinner in a restaurant a while back, and as I ate, I observed a couple going through an entire meal without speaking a single word to each other. The woman had her earphones plugged in and was watching a Korean drama on her phone, while her husband sat across from her scrolling aimlessly through his.
It was mind boggling, and a little unsettling. While it’s normal for a couple to spend time together doing their own thing, the idea that they’d both met up for dinner after a long day at work and still had nothing to say to each other was a little disheartening.
Sadly, this scenario is not out of the ordinary, as one can see families together at meals with everyone busy on their phones. We’re all plugged in, and technology inevitably makes up a huge component of our lives. The issue arises when we become too disconnected from the people around us.
If any of this is striking a chord with you, read on for six reasons why you should try a digital detox in order to reprioritise your life.
#1 You are too attached to your smartphone
Your phone is probably the last thing you look at before you go to bed and the first thing you reach for when you wake up. While it’s fair to say your phone is also your alarm and inevitably the first thing you pick up in the mornings, what justifies being unable to put it down until you’re about to sleep?
#2 You constantly fret about work
If checking your phone incessantly because of work is affecting your health (physically and physiologically), it is definitely time to take a step back. Even if you have an extremely demanding job, taking a break isn’t going to bring about the end of the world. It’s more important to take time occasionally to reprioritise, refocus, and recharge so that you don’t burn out too quickly at your job.
#3 There aren’t enough hours in a day
Do you ever feel like you’re losing track of time and the hours just fly by? It’s all too easy to get sucked into the vortex that is Youtube and endless scrolling through Facebook. Social media and the Internet can be a serious time-suck. There just seems like so much to catch up on constantly, and anyone with a fear of missing out (#FOMO) is likely to dedicate their waking hours to being digitally connected.
#4 You’re having fewer meaningful conversations
Can’t remember the last time you sat down and had a talk with your parents? Or even a discussion with your partner about more than just how your day was? Being hooked to our phones might connect us to thousands of other people online, but it takes you away from the people who are by your side.
#5 You aren’t noticing what’s happening around you
How many times have you seen someone hog a seat on the bus or train, even when there’s someone who needs it more standing right in front of them? Everyone is too busy looking down at their phones to look up at what’s going on around them.
#6 You feel disconnected
The biggest and probably most telling sign of all that you need to unplug and reconnect with the people around you? Feeling lonely. It doesn’t mean that you’ve got no one around you, but more that you’ve become so disconnected from your family and friends that you’ve got no one left who has a significant and regular presence in your life. Sure, you’ve got your TV shows and social media, but none of it can replace genuine human interaction.
Try your own mini digital detox
Holidays are a great time to unplug, especially if you’re somewhere that’s somewhat off the beaten path, but if you can’t go on an “Eat, pray, love” retreat of your own, there are other ways to try out a digital detox at home.
Pick a day to unplug, preferably a weekend so you can go at least 24 hours without social media, the Internet, or your television. I find it’s easier to pretend you’re on holiday and to just go about your day as though you’re without access to the internet.
If you’re all about human connection, it’s best to do this with a partner, friends or close family. You can do anything from exploring somewhere new, cooking a meal together, or just spending the day together learning a new skill or playing board games. If you want to try it out on your own, you can do something as simple as taking an entire day to read a hefty book.