We’re so connected to technology, that sometimes it’s hard to unplug and focus on ourselves! While most people aren’t excited by the idea of putting down their smartphone and taking a digital detox away from social media, unplugging is actually important for your overall wellbeing! Keep reading to see what happens when we overindulge in technology, and ideas for how to disconnect in healthier ways.
Why unplug from technology?
What you think is mindless scrolling might actually be detrimental to your health. When you open social media apps, watch YouTube videos, and text with friends, you probably don’t think about how it affects your wellbeing. But without unplugging from technology, we’re putting added strain on our brains and bodies.
The emotional strain of social media
It’s no secret that social media is a powerful tool in fostering unhealthy thoughts and feelings. Jealousy and envy over others’ lives is a common side effect of using apps like Instagram and Facebook. And, surprisingly, using social media actually increases loneliness, depression, and worry. All that negativity is bound to weigh on your emotional wellbeing. And yet, many people, especially teenagers and young adults, are addicted to these social apps, and weigh their own self-worth by the number of likes and views on their posts.
Physical effects of constant connectivity
Not to mention the toll technology has on your body and sleep! All the blue light from various screens (phones, computers, and TVs), actually interrupts your sleep cycle. The more technology you interact with before bedtime, the harder it is to fall asleep. Plus, long hours at the computer, on the couch, and on your phone exacerbates poor posture, resulting in tech neck and back problems.
Mobile phone statistics
The statistics around mobile phone use are very telling. With more than 3 billion smartphone users around the world, we’re spending more time on our phones than ever. And those trends are only on the rise:
- Americans spend an average of 5.4 hours a day on their phones
- People check their phones 58 times a day, on average
- More than 3 billion people worldwide use a smartphone
- Most of the time spent on smartphones is dedicated to texting and social media
- 89% of teenagers own a mobile phone
- In 2020, people spent an average of 1 hour longer on their phones than in 2019
How to unplug: 10 things to do without your phone
But what can you actually do that doesn’t involve technology, especially in the current environment? It’s easier to do a digital detox than you might think! There are plenty of fun and fulfilling activities you can do without technology.
- Get outside! Connect with nature instead of your phone. Go for a day hike, take a walk, or pack a picnic and head somewhere scenic.
- Read a book. A real book, not an e-book! Check your local library or bookstore to find your new favorite novel.
- Give back. Unplugging is the perfect time to reconnect with your community. Look for opportunities for volunteering,
- Book a massage at home. To truly enjoy some R&R, you don’t even need to leave the house. Book a professional massage with Soothe to work out all your tech-related stress.
- Break a sweat. Exercising is a great way to relieve stress, and work on your personal health. Take your workout outside for double the benefits, too!
- Meditate. It’s basically the opposite of using technology! Meditation and breathing exercises can help refocus and relax you, as well as build a stronger sense of self.
- Get cooking (or baking). Make your favorite meal, bake some bread (if you haven’t already
- Break out the board games. Make it a no-phone family night with some throwback board games, card games, or trivia.
- Start meaningful conversations. If you live with roommates, family members, or your significant other, put down your phones and have a real, in-person conversation. If you’re by yourself, journaling and self-reflection are great ways to unplug, too.
- Get off the grid. Want to really disconnect? Take a weekend camping trip without any tech, and truly get in touch with nature and yourself.
Benefits of unplugging
Unplugging from technology, even for just a few hours, is a great way to break the endless cycle of scrolling and searching for validation based on likes and views. By disconnecting, you can foster real connections with your family, friends, and yourself. Disconnecting from your phone gives you time for self-reflection and relaxation, too. Here are some unexpected benefits of unplugging from technology:
- Feeling more present and aware “in the moment”
- Falling asleep more quickly, and better quality sleep
- Better relationships with your family and friends
- Increased productivity
- Better information retention and learning
- Improved self-confidence
Want to get more involved with unplugging or looking for more ideas of what to do instead of using your phone? Check out the Natioinal Day of Unplugging for more things to do without your mobile phone on a digital detox day.