Going on a digital detox is a great idea if you need an emotional reset. A digital detox is a temporary period where a person willingly chooses to stop using their digital devices. It’s not exactly digital detox if someone is forcing this process upon you. It has to be something you’re doing for yourself voluntarily without any internal resistance.
Turning off your smartphone, computer, tablet, video game systems, and televisions is the first step required in any successful digital detox. You should also refrain from logging into any of your social media platforms. Digital detoxing is life-changing knowing that so many Americans are spending more time using their mobile devices than watching TV shows these days. (And these are America’s favorite TV programs right now.)
There are several major warning signs to look out for if you believe you might require a digital detox soon. To compile this list of warning signs for a much-needed digital detox, 24/7 Tempo consulted several scientific publications and information from medical organization and sites focused on heath resources such as the American Optometric Association, Psych Guides, and Health Line.
You’re losing out on sleep to use your devices
No one should sacrifice a solid night of sleep in exchange for mindless scrolling on their devices. If you’ve been losing out on sleep in exchange for extra time on your devices, this is a sign that you need a digital detox – ASAP. Getting enough sleep at night is one of the most important things you can do for your health and well-being.
It’s difficult to live a life where you’re truly fulfilled and thriving if you’re groggy and dazed during your daytime hours. A digital detox could be exactly what you need if it’s too challenging to ignore your phone when you lay down to fall asleep.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to concentrate on your obligations
How can you focus on your obligations when you’re unbearably distracted by whatever’s going on in your devices? A digital detox will help clear your mind so it becomes easier to concentrate on your necessary obligations. It’s normal to feel pings of curiosity whenever your phone buzzes or lights up with new notifications.
This only becomes a serious issue if you can’t manage to handle your obligations without grabbing your phone or other devices every few minutes. One of the purposes of a digital detox is to put you back on track regarding your levels of focus and concentration.
Comparing yourself to others has created insecurity
Social media brings a lot of positivity to the world since it helps friends and family remain connected. Unfortunately, there’s also a dark side to social media. If you continually find yourself comparing your status in life to others, it’s possible for feelings of insecurity to blossom.
Social media users often only post the good things happening in their lives, which means you’re seeing a curated highlight reel of their happiest moments. Sometimes, it’s not easy to remember that fact. Comparing yourself to others is detrimental to your mental health. This is grounds for starting a digital detoxing journey.
Your academic or professional performance is suffering
Your academic and professional performances are vital to focus on. After all, students in school are doing their best to prepare for bright futures in the workforce. Professionals who are already in the workforce typically don’t want to get fired from their positions.
Regardless of where you are in life, your academic and professional performances shouldn’t suffer based on your use of digital devices. Coming home with bad grades as a student isn’t pleasant. Neither is being faced with harsh critiques from your boss as an employee. These are two things that can potentially be avoided with a successful digital detox.
You feel anxious whenever you can’t access your devices
A digital detox is certainly in order if you’re feeling anxious whenever you can’t access your devices. Getting aggravated and irritated because your devices aren’t nearby isn’t normal or healthy. Functioning in society without having a digital device in your hand is a sign of good mental health.
If you feel empty an incomplete without your devices nearby, this problem should be taken seriously. Going through a digital detox will help you fight back against those exact feelings of anxiousness, aggravation, and irritability. It’s better to get a wrangle on any negative emotions you’re facing instead of allowing them to overcome you.
You’re dealing with digital eyestrain
Digital eye strain is common in folks who spend way too many hours staring at screens. If you’ve been dealing with digital eyestrain, this is a sign that you should embark on the journey of digital detoxing. Of course, it’s also possible to wear blue light blocking glasses as a short-term solution to the problem.
Still, the bigger issue at hand is spending too much time on digital devices in general. The American Optometric Association notes that digital eyestrain causes blurred vision, headaches, and dried out eyes. Wearing blue light blocking glasses can put a Band-Aid over this issue, but taking digital detoxes every once in a while is a far more powerful solution.
You’re dealing with “tech neck”
Hunching over your laptop, phone, or tablet is an easy way to cause “tech neck.” Staring at digital devices for extended periods of time puts a horrible strain on your neck muscles and spine. Spending way too many hours sitting in a slumped posture is a huge sign that it’s time for you to take a digital detox.
Without having devices to look down at, it becomes easier for you to keep your posture straight. You’ll likely start noticing the change the first time you take a walk without having a phone in your hand to stare down at.
You have a habit of texting while driving
Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous things a person can do. In fact, Psych Guides explains that texting while driving is comparably as dangerous as drinking and driving. When you drink and drive, you’re under the influence of a substance that changes your perception of the world around you.
When you text and drive, you’re completely taking your eyes off of the road ahead. Texting and driving puts your life at risk, but you aren’t the only factor. The lives of everyone driving in the cars next to you are also at risk based on your behaviors. If this is a habit you’re struggling to break free from, a digital detox might help.
Your screen time comes out to way more than two hours a day
Some phones tally up the hours you spend using your device so you’re aware of your screen time usage. If these are metrics you have access to, pay attention to how many hours you spend on your phone per day. Reid Health notes that adults should limit screen time to no more than two hours outside of school and work responsibilities.
This means that if you have to use your laptop or phone to handle your obligations, that doesn’t count towards your screen time. But if you’re using devices well beyond two hours in your free time, you might want to reevaluate and start considering a digital detox.
Your real-life relationships are suffering
Your relationships in the real world should be your top priority. After all, human beings were not meant to live lonely and isolated existences. The happiest and most fulfilled individuals are often surrounded by friends, family, and loved ones they can talk to and spend quality time with.
If your real-life relationships are starting to suffer based on the amount of time you spend using digital devices, it’s time to get your priorities in order. A successful digital detox will force you to live in the present moment. Spending quality time with loved ones occasionally means taking trips to the movie theater together. (For ideas on what else you can do, here are 38 places in the U.S. every American should visit at least once.)