You know how it goes. You sit awake at night scrolling on your phone – time doesn’t exist. At least you’re not even paying attention to the time until you look and realize it’s 2 o’clock in the morning – and you’re still refreshing your news feed waiting on Karen to post another ridiculous political comment so you can keep the argument going.
Sound familiar? If so, this is just one of the many signs that you may need to take a break from the digital world. But don’t hyperventilate at the thought just yet. Engaging in a digital detox doesn’t mean that you have to give everything up cold turkey. C’mon, we’re not monsters.
Taking a much-needed break from digital media has not only become a trend, it’s almost become necessary in today’s exceedingly interconnected world. But how do you know if you need to unplug? Aside from mindlessly walking out into traffic while filming that pivotal Tik Tok video that could change the world, there are several signs that you may need to unplug – even if it’s on the lowkey end.
Could you benefit from a lowkey digital detox? Reach out to Ellie Mental Health and talk to an expert today.
What is a Digital Detox Really Like?
Many people may become anxious or even stressed out at the thought of giving up some element of their digital world. Whether this is taking a break from Facebook or Twitter, or from any one of your devices that you likely rely on daily, taking one of these elements out of your life can be an overwhelming thought.
Digital detox is simply taking a break from one or several elements of the digital landscape. And studies have shown that those who do engage in the digital version of intermittent fasting have reported feeling less stressed, more focused, and more present with others in their lives. So, it’s a definite win – even though it may seem like the end of the world at first. But we promise – you won’t die.
A few lowkey ways you can give digital detox a try without crying over the thought of not sending your customary daily tweet include:
- Limiting your online time to certain days only
- Setting hours aside specifically for interacting online
- Keeping up with your screen time and shaving the minutes down to a moderate level
- Turn your phone (or other devices) off completely for a pre-determined amount of time
- Hiding in a cave for four days without food or water then reemerging – just kidding, at least bring some water
All in all, there are many creative ways you can lowkey unplug without having to completely remove yourself from the digital world. And even if you have to take baby steps – at least you’ll be taking steps toward recharging, reengaging with life, and becoming more present for those you care most about. Yes, even Karen.
5 Signs You Should Unplug – At Least for a Little While
As discussed, there are several signs that you need to take a break from digital life. And some are more significant than others. But once you become aware of the signs, it will be easier to take the steps necessary to refresh your mind and your life.
1. Social Media is Stressing You Out
Social media is a lot like quicksand – and coffee. Basically, it will suck you in and keep you there because it’s strangely addictive. But you have to remember that people rarely behave or interact on social media the same way they would IRL. In fact, it’s not uncommon for manners and etiquette to be tossed completely out the window in conversations on social media.
If you’re scrolling through your news feed and finding yourself being “triggered” throughout the day because of what people are saying, or if you’re being targeted by an entire echo chamber of self-proclaimed experts in politics, religion, or vaccine “truthers,” this is a sure sign that you need to take a step back. And don’t worry, those people will have plenty of others to target.
2. You’ve Become Anxious that You’re Missing Out
If you’ve developed a fear of missing out (FOMO), this is actually a bona fide form of social anxiety. And it often begins with feeling guilty or some level of pressure that you’re not going to be in the loop when the next viral video drops. You may even become afraid that you’ll be looked at as a loser, or suffer ridicule for not knowing about current trends.
Let’s put this plainly. It’s been estimated that over 300 million photos get posted on social media per day. So, it’s safe to say that you’re already missing out – on a lot. In fact, there’s no possible way that you could keep up with everything. As such, maybe it’s time to purposely miss out on what Kylie Jenner is doing and concentrate on the world around you.
3. You’re Disregarding Your Priorities
Remember that kid of yours who’s still in the first grade? Or, maybe the fourth grade? Wait, do you even have a kid? Hopefully you’re keeping up with that. But the point is – you have priorities like work, parenting, school, or that next comic con you’ve already bought tickets for. Remember those things?
Being too plugged in can make you lose sight of your priorities, or forget about them entirely – including the people closest to you. For example, if your child has been begging for your attention but you can’t seem to put your phone down, sticking them in front of the TV and putting on YouTube so you can keep scrolling isn’t going to solve the problem. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to unplug for a bit and reengage with life.
4. You’re Questioning Your Worth and Your Purpose
It’s easy to put whatever you want on social media and hide what you don’t want people to know about, right? After all, would you really want to let people know about that mole you had removed from your armpit yesterday? Please don’t.
Social media has led many to believe that everyone around them is living fabulous, perfect lives. When in reality, this is not the case at all. Over time, this can make you question your own life, your own worth, and your purpose in life. And if you find yourself feeling down or depressed when reading about one of your friends as they gallop across the Mongolian Steppe on their next great adventure, just remember, that’s their life, not yours. And you’re likely to have plenty of unique adventures of your own.
If you’re questioning your worth, it’s time to unplug for a bit. And besides, it’s too cold in Mongolia anyways.
5. You’ve Begun Body-Shaming Yourself
Before the digital era, men and women alike would compare themselves to models on TV, or in books and magazines. And the same principle is just as true today as it was then – you’re you, and you need to forget about attaining “perfection” and learn to love yourself, flaws included.
Digital media has caused an uprising in cases of anxiety along with depression and disorders, a lot of which include body dysmorphia. But you have to remember that with the ease of altering photos and the prevalence of filters, many of the images we see in the digital world have been enhanced.
Filters are great to play with, and some are even quite cute. Seriously, who doesn’t love that waggly tongue filter on Snapchat? But, if you’ve become depressed because you think you’re looking at the perfect body that you wish you could have, it’s time to take a step back, look in a real mirror, and realize just how naturally beautiful you really are.
Time to Take a Digital Break
As mentioned, you don’t need to give up the digital world entirely. But hitting the pause button from time to time and taking a lowkey break can work wonders for your mental health and for your overall state of well-being.
We all need to remember one thing. We’re human. As human beings, we’re social creatures by design. And if we don’t practice interacting with each other and with the world in a natural way, this can lead to mental health issues and a false sense of reality.
So, take a break from time to time. In fact, you should probably stop reading this article right now and get started. Go outside, eat an apple, get dirty, or do something that you love. And remember that kid of yours is probably in the other room eating a bag full of sugar.
Ready to begin a lowkey digital detox? Reach out to Ellie Mental Health and talk to an expert today.