Digital detox and mental wellbeing. What sort of relationship do you have with your smartphone? Chances are that it’s a more intimate one than you have with your spouse or your best friend. Most of us use our phones as alarms, cameras, newspapers and maps (they know where we go and when), for shopping, watching clips, series or movies, and staying in touch with friends and family via chats or social media, and to track anything from our fitness efforts over our productivity levels to our calorie intake and sleep cycle – to name only a few.
Our smartphones know our interests, preferences, struggles, fears, and innermost desires – sometimes even better than we know ourselves. And those are not the only screens we use. We may work at a computer, play video games and/or watch telly. For the average American, that means interacting with media of some sort for 11 hours every day! And other research concludes that 61% of people assess themselves as ‘addicted’ to their digital screens.
If you have found this blog post, you may be aware that this constant connectivity is impacting your life negatively and is anything but healthy. In fact, overloading our senses through whatever we consume via our various screens can lead to physical, psychological and social problems. A decreased ability to stay focused, stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia or dissociation are just some examples that can be linked to excessive screen time. One way of regaining authority over your life and mental well-being is a digital detox. It’s a bit like fasting – just with screens instead of food: you can do it for several days or weeks or only for certain hours every day.
This blog post explains what a digital detox involves, what benefits you can expect and how to best go about it if you are considering one.
What is a digital detox
Digital detox means breaking away from your screens – may that be your phone, computer, or TV – to focus on and be fully present for real-life experiences and interactions.
Oftentimes, it is paired with the intention to reduce stress and anxiety and generally improve mental well-being. Digital detox and mental wellbeing are really conected.
Now, technology is deeply embedded into our everyday life. You may need to use a computer for your job or be available on your phone for your children or a sick family member you care for. A digital detox can mean abstaining completely from one or all of the screens you are using for a short or prolonged period of time or intentionally reducing the time you spend on screens overall or on certain apps.
There are different approaches and ways to do a digital detox which we will explore further below. First, we’d like to look at the various benefits you can expect from a digital detox, though.
Why Digital Detox is Important: Benefits for Your Physical and Mental Health
How to do a Digital Detox
Everyone is different and our life circumstances are unique. Therefore, what works as a digital detox for someone else doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. Digital detox and mental wellbeing is different for everyone.
If you feel like you could do without screens or want to intentionally limit your screen time, think about what digital detox goals are achievable for you. It’s about setting realistic boundaries for yourself and in regards to your availability for others when it comes to the use of your phone and other screens.
Some people will find a digital detox easier than others. Not using screens can initially lead to boredom, be annoying (because we are so used to relying on our phones for so many different things) or leave us feeling slightly anxious (e.g. fear of missing out). Digital detox and mental wellbeing can help you feel happy. Here are some suggestions that might help you make your digital detox a success:
Please remember that you don’t need anyone’s permission to take time for yourself and away from screens and there is no need to feel guilty for not getting back to people instantly.
New Life Portugal Programs
Digital detox and mental wellbeing
Sometimes breaking a habit and establishing new and healthier routines is hard while staying in your usual environment and when you are dealing with the everyday demands of your life. Therefore, it can be hugely beneficial to choose a place like New Life Portugal for a reset of your patterns and to kick off your journey to sustainable well-being.
We are a wellness retreat and mindfulness centre in the heart of the Serra Da Estrela natural park in Portugal. Our research-driven programs offer a rare combination of meditation, yoga, counselling, coaching, fitness, nature, and mindful community life.
If you are planning a digital detox to recharge your batteries and/or to help you with stress, anxiety or burnout, we offer the ideal setting as well as a dedicated team of international experts that can guide and support you on this path.You will also find that most people who come to New Life choose to use their phones very intentionally and cut down on screen time to focus on themselves.
Our practice of noble silence between 9.30 pm and 8.30 am provides further incentive to nurture the connection with yourself rather than trying to stay connected with everyone else.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss how we can personalise our program to your individual needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.