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With our ever-increasing digital consumption, it’s no wonder why more and more people are interested in doing a digital detox. But what is a digital detox? And should we be doing them more?
A recent ABC report reveals that psychologists estimate the average person consumes 174 newspapers’ worth of information a day. And that has only increased since COVID-19. The University of Canberra found that Australians consuming news media daily has risen to 70% of Australians, compared to 56% in 2019.
The difficulties of processing so much information is well known, and the resulting distraction and difficulty focusing are being increasingly experienced by many professionals. With reduced performance for ‘heavy’ multi-taskers and estimated economic losses of $900 billion a year caused by digital overload, there’s never been a better time for a digital detox.
What is a digital detox?
Just like eliminating fast food during a diet, a digital detox is about giving up something that can cause you harm. For example, a digital detox might look like giving up all digital devices – smartphones, laptops, TV’s etc. But for most of us, that’s not realistic. A digital detox can simply look like giving up social media for a few days or setting limits on our screen time.
The addictive nature of digital devices, social media and FOMO (fear of missing out) can become a compulsion, or simply end up out of balance. That is where a digital detox can help recalibrate thinking and focus and allow a cluttered heart to breathe. A digital detox once a month can help keep you mentally and emotionally healthy. As part of our residential programs, The Banyans implements digital detoxed which allow our guests to emerge again in a position of strength and focus. Not only will this allow you to contribute your best to the people around you but will also allow you to perform at higher levels in areas of creative thinking and strategic insight within the workplace.
What are the benefits of a digital detox?
In case it wasn’t convincing enough yet to participate in a digital detox, there are unparalleled benefits to be had by unplugging from our digital devices.
According to Beyond Blue, 46% of Australians use their phone immediately before going to bed. It is no surprise then that this blue-light consumption prevents our bodies from releasing melatonin in order to get that all-important rest. By participating in a digital detox, our minds are ready for bed when it’s time to sleep.
The Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology released a study in 2018 which linked the use of social media to decreased wellbeing. In fact, they concluded that limiting social media use to just 30 minutes a day can have a significant improvement on our wellbeing. The study also found that feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety all significantly reduced by limiting social media screen time.
So how can you implement a digital detox?
Three Digital Detox Tips
1. Use digital tools
These days, it is easier than ever to participate in a digital detox. Apple introduced Screen Time limits in 2018, where individuals can set time limits on specific apps or category limits such as ‘Games’ or ‘Social Media’. You can learn how to set up Screen Time limits here. The best part is you can set a password that needs to be entered if you ignore this limit. So why not consider put a family member in charge of setting that password?
Another great tool is the Headspace app. While it may seem counterintuitive to participate in a digital detox by using an app, Headspace allows individuals to learn meditation and mindfulness skills. This not only increases skills to be more present, but also reduces anxiety and helps individuals understand the importance of removing ourselves from devices in order to experience the fullness of life.
2. Schedule digital downtime
Reducing screen time can be as simple as scheduling screen free time and sticking to it. Deciding to limit digital use between 8pm and 6am, for instance, will assist the body and mind to wind down and prepare for sleep. While a 24/7 world can make boundaries between work and home difficult to navigate, thinking through areas of your home which could remain digital free zones can assist with work-life balance.
We understand that many people are working from home still and navigating a work-life balance is tough. So why not implement a screen free time to use as you transition from your work life to your home life? This could mean going on a walk, doing some yoga, reading a book or cooking a meal. Whatever your transition activity is, it allows for your mind to switch off from a full day of digital devices and get the rest it needs.
3. Focus on one, reliable news stream
With the media coverage surrounding COVID-19 always increasing, fear has inevitably risen among Australians. And it’s completely necessary to stay in the loop with media regarding cases, restrictions and hotspots is needed. But what can be harmful is consuming this media from every source, all the time.
For example, the Australian Government has released a Coronavirus app which has details of the daily cases, State-specific restrictions and contact tracing information. It also has departmental media releases which are short, informative and unbiased. Being informed is a great thing, but we need to carefully choose where this comes from.
Receive the best in wellbeing at The Banyans
The Banyans take a multimodal, holistic approach to your individual wellbeing. Our mission is to help people rediscover what living well feels like. Our Intake Team are available any time to help you design a personalised program for your wellbeing journey.
For a confidential discussion about how you or someone you care about can benefit from The Banyans, call us on 1300 BANYAN (1300 226 926) or complete the online form below.