Disconnect To Reconnect: What Is A Digital Detox?

A laptop is chained up and beside it is a notebook and tea, meant to represent a digital detox

Technology can be such a wonderful thing. It helped to keep us connected with our friends and family during the pandemic, it gives us instant access to information and can help us save time

But being connected and plugged in can be harmful to our mental health and well-being.  

According to a study done in 2015, we spend an average of three hours a day on our phones. That number has only exploded as technology becomes more advanced and more people than ever have begun to work from home.

However, one thing we can do to try to combat the negative side effects of technology is to disconnect to reconnect, by taking a break from our electronics and trying a digital detox.

But what is a digital detox? And should you do one?

In this post, we will look at exactly what a digital detox is, what the 5 benefits of a digital detox are, how long a digital detox takes, and how you can do a digital detox.

What is a digital detox? 

According to the dictionary, a digital detox is a period of time during which a person refrains from using any electronic devices, such as smartphones.  

A digital detox is when we stop using our electronics in order to relax and cleanse ourselves of technology. 

What does a digital detox do? 

A digital detox gives us the opportunity to take a break from technology. This allows us to disconnect from the chaos that might be happening online and reconnect with our friends, and family, and to be more present in the world around us.

What are the 5 benefits of a digital detox? 

1) It can reduce stress 

Do you know why sometimes you feel anxious when you pick up your phone? Technology overwhelm is a real thing and it can really hurt our mental health.  

In a world of emails, notifications, messages, comments, and social media posts, the amount of information we consume through that little device in our pocket is astronomical when you really consider it.  

Participating in a digital detox to relax and unwind can really help to reduce stress

2) It can improve our relationships 

How many times do you or your partner sit side by side and watch television, or a movie, or use your phones, but barely speak two words to each other?  

Taking a break from technology can help strengthen your relationships by allowing you to spend more time with the people you care about and reconnect with them in a deep and meaningful way (instead of just sending Tiktoks back and forth).  

3) It can lead to better sleep quality 

Did you know that what is referred to as blue light from your phone can actually disrupt your internal clock? Research shows that the light from our electronics can cause our body to think it’s light from the sun.

That is one reason why it can be much harder to fall asleep immediately after putting your phone down. 

Not using our electronics for a while before bed helps our bodies to maintain their natural rhythm and get more sleep at night.

4) It improves your focus 

Think of how many apps on your phone, or tabs on your computer, that you use on a daily or weekly basis. That is a lot of multitasking and multiple things to keep track of and doesn’t even include what is going on in your life outside of social media.  

Starting a digital detox can give you the chance to refocus on important tasks, and regain the mental clarity you need to chase your goals or complete important projects. 

5) It gives you more time 

Life can be overwhelming. Often times it feels like we never have enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we want to. But how much of your day is spent absentmindedly on social media? If you actually kept track you would be shocked. I bet it’s more than you think. 

By detoxing from our electronics, we can free up more spare time in our day, and could even include some more self-care activities in that time.  

A pile of electronics like a phone, ipod, and several laptons are unplugged, showing we need to disconnect to reconnect

How long does it take to do a digital detox? 

The length of time that you decide to take a break from technology from all depends on you. It depends on how you choose to do your digital detox, as well as how much time away you feel you need to feel refreshed. 

Does disconnecting to reconnect really work?

I have personally done a digital detox several times now. In fact, my husband and I usually make sure that our bi-monthly date nights are electronics free.

This allows us to spend time focusing on spending quality time with each other, and reconnect when the day-to-day routine of life can get in the way, without the distractions of social media.

How do you do a digital detox?  (7 easy tips)

There are several different methods that you could try based on your lifestyle, needs, and personality:

1) Take a short break 

Sometimes it can be useful to plan to purposely take an evening or 24 hours away from all electronics to sort of reset yourself.  

It doesn’t have to be very long for you to see the benefits of it, and see if it is something you want to do again in the future. 

2) Take a long break 

The longest I have ever gone without my electronics is a week. When we travel, sometimes I make the conscious decision to leave my phone at home so that I can truly unwind and refresh myself. 

The longer the break, the more benefits you will start to see, but take the amount of time that you think you need. 

3) Set technology blackout times 

Maybe you want to try banning phones from the dinner table. Or maybe you want everyone in your household to be off their phones by a certain time in the evening.  

Scheduling technology free time can help everyone to get a break. 

4) Put your phone away 

Boundaries are an important part of life and setting a physical boundary by putting your phone somewhere that you won’t be able to just casually reach for it when you get bored can help to stop you from overusing it. 

5) Only use your electronics if absolutely necessary 

While trying to do a detox, you could simply decide that you will only use any electronics if it is something you really need to do. Things like sending a work email, or verifying a meeting time are examples of things that you might decide are necessary.  

Meanwhile, scrolling social media because you are bored, or watching hours of Youtube might not be. 

6) Set time limits 

Did you know that many electronics track their own usage, and if they don’t, they make apps for that. That way you can ensure you are using your time wisely. 

For the extremely serious there are even parental control apps, that will only let you use your electronics during certain times of day, or for a certain amount of time before they become unusable.  

7) Use alternative options 

Instead of texting or messaging your friends, you could give them a call. Although this is technically still using your phone, you aren’t staring at it, and would be focused on your call instead of messaging and then getting lost in the allure of the internet while waiting for a reply. 

You could also do things like read the paper for the news or start to journal instead of posting your thoughts online. 

By including a digital detox in your wellness routine, and disconnecting to reconnect, you can discover new ways to unwind and recharge your own batteries in a world that is consumed by technology. Disconnecting from the chaos of the online world and reconnecting with the things you really love about life has no downsides!

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