You’ve been spending a lot of time at home lately and chances are you have spent a lot more time surfing the Internet than you normally do. If that is you and your family, you are not alone. With the COVID-19 lockdown in effect we’ve all been spending more time at home and we have used the Internet as a way to not only provide entertainment but to also stay connected with those around us. With all of this technology in our life it becomes very easy to become dependent on it. Could a digital detox be in your future?

It doesn’t matter if it is on your laptop or desktop computer, if it is playing video games or just pulling out your smartphone when you have a few minutes of downtime. Americans have become too dependent on technology even before COVID-19 and there are some serious societal consequences but at some point it might be nice just to put away the technology. It could be for an hour, it could be for an afternoon, it could be for a day. A digital detox could be just what you need even if you don’t think you need it.

Fewer Distractions

The average American adult spends almost half a day online on a normal day and this past month has been anything but normal. That could be spent reading articles online or watching videos on YouTube or bingewatching Netflix or other streaming services. Much of this comes on your phone. Your phone offers a lot of distractions, from every time an alert comes across to YouTube recommending a new video. 

While these distractions might kill some time today when you have more time on your hands these might become a problem down the line when you do have something to do. That is when you return to a normal life. You might have discovered a new content creator on YouTube and started watching them religiously timing your day around their post schedule. You might now spend your downtime doing that rather than doing what is important, like spending time with your family or friends.

Reducing Addiction

Tech overuse can create an addiction which can lead to behavioral problems down the line. Do you currently plan your day around your tech? Do you need your tech to feel normal or feel panic when you can’t find your phone? Do you keep using your phone despite the harm you know it is causing you? Do you neglect work or family in favor of your tech? 

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you have an addiction to technology of some sort. Right now, it may not be a problem since you might have more time on your hands than you know what to do with but at the same time you are also setting an example for your children. You have probably seen your kids not be able to sit still for 30 seconds without their phones and joked about it. Are they getting this from you?

Less Stress With A Digital Detox

We can’t imagine life without our devices and they have become an integral part of the modern world. Your business can’t function without it in all probability. When an alert comes over your phone do you immediately check it or do you dread seeing what it is? Your devices contribute to an elevated level of stress. If you feel the need to constantly check your email, your texts, your alerts or social media you have an addiction.

Speaking of social media you have hopefully made friends of all political persuasions. This is of course a presidential election year and that means that many people who are apolitical become political and those that are already active kick their activism into a new gear. That alone can be stressful but social media elevates that. You might want to join in and these kinds of discussions can ruin relationships and friendships and that is stressful enough before you open social media.

A Digital Detox Is Better For Your Health

Do you wakeup several times overnight and instinctively reach for your phone to see if there are any messages? Or do you spend late nights perusing social media or playing games? Device overuse can disrupt your sleep patterns. At the moment with COVID-19 you have a great opportunity to catch up on lost sleep (and to potentially set a new sleep pattern). You shouldn’t be spending it constantly bleary eyed and spending late hours on your phone.

Device overuse can also cause issues with your behavior. The more time you spend on your device the less time you spend in the real world and that can cause antisocial behavior, anxiety, depression and more. Spending more time on your phone also means you are probably sedentary and that can also have adverse effects on your health for obvious reasons

Device overuse can also have adverse mental health issues as well. Mental health issues are especially prevalent with device overuse in children and young adults. Overuse can lead to increased depression and a feeling of loneliness, even when other people are around. There is a small amount of dopamine that is released every time someone likes what you do on social media and you can become dependent on that to feel good. Cutting that out may not be easy.

So, What Can You Do For A Digital Detox?

A digital detox may be in order for you or those around you. It may not be easy to do and there will certainly be opposition but now is a great time to start. Like with other addictions it might be best to start small, like putting away the devices at dinner (and actually having a conversation too) or going for a walk while leaving them at home. 

There are plenty of other things that you can do besides spending time on your devices. That is not to say that you should get rid of them altogether, since you still will need it for your day-to-day life and to run your business. Try reading an actual book (or even an e-book to start). Go for a walk, even if it is just around the block. Put the devices away well before you go to sleep so you can get a good night’s sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep goes a long way to improving your health. And on occasion, just maybe, put your device down and just watch the world go by or talk to your neighbor. It might seem a bit scary at first but you might find that it can work.

One thing that might work is dividing your day into thirds. That is 8 hours for work, 8 hours for play and 8 hours for sleeping and holding fast to that. Of course that is something for a perfect world as you know that you don’t spend only 8 hours at work and the digital economy has blurred those lines almost beyond recognition. A digital detox in this regard may not work for everyone but it is at least a good start.

But I’ve Got It Under Control

Whether you want to do a digital detox is up to you but by just putting away your electronics you can have many positive benefits. It may seem impossible at the start but any addiction can seem this way when an addict starts quitting. If you are a smoker and have tried to quit or know one who has, you know what we mean. Of course you might not think you have an addiction or you might think you have it under control and you wouldn’t be the first addict to say that. 

With COVID-19 and the lockdown you have an opportunity to do something positive and for some of you that might be at least starting a digital detox. Start small, but remember that there was a time that business and life happened without all of these devices. We managed to survive and thrive during that time and it is not impossible. 

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