Research has shown that (on average) people spend 24 hours a week on their phones and here in the UK the average person picks up their phone 28 times a day. One of the results of spending so much time on your phone, and Social Media in particular, is that it can start to affect our self-esteem and confidence, and with this in mind, we’d recommend taking a Digital Detox every now and again...
A Digital Detox is just committing some time and awareness to how much you’re on your phone / gadgets. It doesn’t have to mean coming off everything all at once, it’s about recognising where you are using your phone too much and making adjustments to re-balance your time - here’s our top tips on how to do this:
1. Monitor your screen time
Use Apple’s 'Screen Time' feature to monitor how long you're spending on your phone and set some realistic limits to how much time you’re on certain apps. If you’re a non-Apple user you can just as easily set time limits using alarms or reminders – anything to make sure you're having regular breaks.
2. Notifications No More!
One of the easiest ways to get better control of your screen time is to turn off your notifications. This way you will only check your phone when you want to, not because your phone is demanding attention!
3. Social Free Sunday
Think you could go without your phone for a whole day? Try dedicating your Sunday to self-care and turn your Wi-Fi / data off so that you’re still contactable in an emergency but unable to access Social Media. Just taking a bit of time out regularly is sure to have a positive effect on your well-being.
4. Make a List
Well actually, two lists. Firstly, list all of your gadgets / apps you use regularly. This will show you how dependent you are on technology. Secondly, make a list of all the things that you enjoy doing in life, but aren't doing presently. Every time you go to pick your phone up, check your ‘things you enjoy’ list and see if you could do one of those things instead.
5. Commit to IRL relationships
Have you ever been talking to someone who just keeps checking their phone? Rude isn’t it. If you’re socialising or meeting a friend, keep your phone in your bag or pocket to avoid temptation. Also, the detox itself can be a topic of conversation, and even a fun game ... Try ‘phone stacking’ - everyone puts their device in the middle of the table and the first to reach for theirs has to do a forfeit, such as buy the next round or wash up.
Some other Digital Detox Quick Wins:
- Keep tech out of reach: light from screens stops production of the hormone melatonin, which is vital for getting to sleep, so leave them to charge somewhere you can’t reach when you go to bed.
- If you’re spending hours in your room revising, or finishing an essay in the library, don’t eat at your desk. Go outside at lunchtime instead. Not only does it get you away from your screen, it stops you from sitting down too long – also very bad for you.
If you're feeling lonely, or homesick - or just generally a bit down, here are some other helpful tips on how to try and address some of the potential causes.