Why A Digital Detox Is Good For You
“It is a great chance to recenter yourself, focus more on what matters to you whether it is more time spent with family or friends, or just to be more present with the world around us without staring at our phone, computer, or even our smartwatch.”
We are not meant to be on our digital devices 24 / 7 / 365 a year. I think a key part of realizing how our digital lives are so integral to who we are nowadays is to take some time away from them whenever possible. On a recent vacation I was on, I was able to be without cell service or an internet connection for a week. I do have to say that while the first day or two was difficult, it became nice to be out of reach for a while. It is a great chance to recenter yourself, focus more on what matters to you whether it is more time spent with family or friends, or just to be more present with the world around us without staring at our phone, computer, or even our smartwatch.
Now, in work or in school, we are always expected to be plugged in and reachable even when we might not want to be. However, if you’re on a break, a vacation, or it’s the weekend, I do believe that is a good time to have a digital detox where you can put your devices away. A day, a week, or even a month, is not asking too much to get away from your emails, your social media, or your mobile applications. In that time away, you can really interact with the physical world more fully, feel more present with what you are doing, and it is likely to be healthier for you to devote more time to walking, hiking, playing sports. Instead of reading Twitter or X now, you can read some books. Instead of listening to Spotify, you can play some records or some CDs on your speakers to gain a greater appreciation of the music you like.
In addition, you will have more time to pick up a new skill like playing the guitar, focusing more on your home life with fixing up your apartment or house if it has been neglected, and you can take full advantage of spending more time with friends and family. Digital detox is not so much unplugging from technology forever but temporarily taking some time away to focus on other parts of your life that may have been neglected due to your time spent online. It is hard for most of us to realize this fact, but we likely spend 4–5 hours a day online especially if we have classes or must work online for our jobs.
On top of video games, streaming TV and movies, and the rise of augmented and virtual reality headsets, we are on the path to being more present virtually than being present physically. There is such an endless amount of content that we are exposed to when online that it can be overwhelming for us. If you find that you are too wrapped up in your emails, your Instagram feed, your TikTok videos, or just not being able to pull away from your computer to get enough sunlight and fresh air, you could use a digital detox.
After my week away from being on my laptop, phone, and tablet, I felt lighter in the sense that I was not so overburdened by the constant stream of emails, updates, reminders, news updates, and overall wave of notifications that come with being plugged in. You really live more in the moment when you don’t have your devices with you or in my case, not being able to connect to WIFI or the 5G connection while we are on vacation. Overall, this is a good thing to happen in my view. If someone needs to reach out to us, a regular phone call is still possible or if it’s an emergency, you can enable texts or messages to come through to you.
However, there are many activities and hobbies to do without needing to be online as you’ll soon find out when doing your digital detox.
I encourage you when you go on vacation from work or school to leave your phone and computer on silent or off or even leave it at home. You’ll be surprised on how much you don’t miss it after 1–2 days of the initial FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) hurdle. You will likely be more present with others, more engaged with the world, and more aware of what you are actively doing without the necessary digital distraction or allure that the smartphone, smartwatch, or laptop has on us.
Yes, we do need our digital devices most days, if not every day, but if you can at least take the weekend off, or take a few hours where you’re unreachable, then that is also a good form of digital detoxing. I do recommend using a week or two each year to not be reachable via your devices or to not use them at least for Internet, email, or any mobile applications.
That week or two where you’re fully unplugged will do a world of good for you and your loved ones who could join you to be fully present with you. You’re likely to be closer to one another, enjoy doing more things together, and really appreciate what the physical world has to offer whereas you’re not really thinking anymore about what’s going on online or what kind of digital content you’re potentially missing.
Lastly, we should remember that for hundreds, if not, thousands of years, everybody got on pretty well living their daily lives without being able to have the Internet, computers, or TikTok. They managed to do just fine in the world without the digital age. I think it is good for each of us to remind ourselves that we can get by fine without our devices, if only for a short while. Overall, It is good in my view to be free of technology here and there because as much as we rely on it more and more nowadays, it is not the end all, be all for our lives here.