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Digital detox: why should we be offline from time to time?

The line between normal use and addiction can be very thin. Some individuals are aware of this excess and bad influence on the mental state and from time to time practice the so-called digital detox.


Social networks have been an integral part of our lives for many years. Thanks to smartphones and the available internet, you can be "online" almost constantly. Having a device where you can find everything you need in an instant is definitely amazing, but on the Internet and especially on social networks, they are good servants, but bad masters.

The line between normal use and addiction can be very thin. Some individuals are aware of this excess and bad influence it can have on their mental state and from time to time practice so-called digital detox, a term that refers to a period of time during which a person voluntarily gives up using electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets or laptops or radically reduce its use.

Why should you also take an offline day from time to time?

Simply because it will benefit you.

Honestly, who isn't familiar with it? When you wake up, your mobile phone is the first thing you reach for. You will check the messages or reply to them immediately. You then go to the toilet with your phone, where you can quickly fly through what's new on Instagram. To brush your teeth, you can play music from Spotify and before you leave the apartment, you will look up the time when the bus leaves. On the way to work, you then reply to messages via Messenger, and during the meeting you go through Facebook to shorten the long time. Have you just seen yourself in it? Then it may not hurt to voluntarily take a digital detox from time to time. In addition to your phone's battery, your mind will also rest.

If you do not feel to completely put away the electronics on a scheduled day, try to at least limit its use and watch the time you spend on it. Below are some tips on how to set up a detox.

1. NO PHONE HOURS BEFORE SLEEP AND AN HOUR AFTER MORNING 

As mentioned above, many people are used to falling asleep and getting up with the phone. However, this does nt suit the psyche, and most importantly the health. It is scientifically proven that blue light produced by devices such as smartphones or tablets disrupts biological sleep receptors and thus artificially prolongs alertness. The brain feels it is day and does not allow the body to relax. If you fall asleep to falling asleep with your mobile phone, you risk sleep disorders, a higher susceptibility to depression, eye problems and cervical spine blockages, due to the constant tilting of the head to the display.

Therefore, put your phone aside for at least an hour before you go to bed. Have a relaxing time, take a shower or bath, instead of reading an article on the Internet, read a few pages of a book or magazine. In the morning, instead of scrolling through the Internet, prepare a more time-consuming breakfast; if you hate silence, turn on the radio or television as a background when preparing for work. Maybe the most demanding for you will not taking your phone to the bathroom, but you might be pleasantly surprised by how morning hygiene will be faster with the absence of the phone :-). Thanks to that you might manage to hop on an earlier bus or train to work.

2. TAKE CARE OF YOUR TIME SPENT ON THE MOBILE PHONE

 For the period of your "usual" operation, it is helpful to install one of the statistical applications that monitor your time spent on the device. Android users can use, for example, the "Digital Wellbeing" app, and iOS users will benefit from the "Screen Time" app. Other interesting applications that will help you to "cut off" are, for example, "Moment", where you set how much time you want to spend on your mobile phone per day. If you exceed this limit, the application will notify you immediately. Another useful, though perhaps more radical application is "Freedom", where you can block access to applications and the Internet. And lastly, we have "Space", where you can set your goals in the area of using a mobile phone and then monitor whether you meet these goals or you are on your mobile phone more often than you would like to.

At the end of the day or week, you will find out how much time the electronics take from you. Did you really spend 6 hours watching videos on YouTube? And now imagine what you could have done or experienced instead.

3. REPLACE THE PHONE WITH ANOTHER ACTIVITY

During the day, everyone experiences moments when they have nothing to do, and the vast majority of people at the moment reach for the phone. However, when these "moments" add up per day, you will find that you have spent two hours and sometimes on the networks. You could devote this time to something more interesting or useful.

Set an hour (or even more if you dare) to start each day for one week, when you leave the phone out of your reach and do not pick it up. Instead, start doing one of the activities you've been avoiding for a long time: work out, cook from fresh ingredients, instead of having some fast food, enjoy a moment with a friend without constantly checking your cell phone, just start living the real life and enjoy the things and people around you once again. You may be surprised at what escaped you all the time you were constantly absorbed by the phone.

4. TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS

Realize how easy it is to be disturbed at the slightest "clink" of a new notification on your mobile. Did someone just comment on your holiday photo, or did you even get a comment on your other comment? Does your favorite online clothing retailer just send you a discount voucher for your next purchase? Think about whether any of these situations really can't be delayed. If you answered that it can withstand, go even further and either turn off notifications for a while or turn them off permanently.

Thanks to the notifications turned off, your phone will be really silent and you will go through everything in peace when you really want to. You may eventually find that it suits you better and you will not return to the old regime. Your friends will also appreciate your full attention when you are with them.

5. DELET EMAILS AND SOCIAL NETWORKS

And finally. How many unread emails do you have in your inbox? Say goodbye to them once and for all and do a cleanse of your accounts. Delete all spam, unread messages that you know you don't care about, read messages that you know you won't need in the future, and enjoy an empty Inbox. You can immediately unsubscribe from all newsletters that do not interest you and unsubscribe from all services and applications that you no longer use. Then do the same on social networks. Erase all the virtual friends you wouldn't even want to meet in real life, hide the posts of those you don't want to erase but their content irritates you (such as eternal complainants or political commentators). Unsubscribe from profiles and sites that force you to compare yourself to others or to the ones you no longer relate to. You will see how liberating it'll feel.

Being offline definitely doesn't mean not being in touch with people. It's the exact opposite. Finally, you can devote yourself to them to the fullest. Someone immediately falls in love with the days offline and starts doing this on a regular basis. Some people only have to take care of the time spent on it, or limit its use once in a while. Don't compare yourself to others and set the rules according to your needs. It is important that you do not have a problem at least to "cut off" for a while. Believe that your mind will ultimately reward you for it.

For Sloneek blog, Tereza Kudrličková 

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