Do Not Disturb
Disconnect to Reconnect via Digital Detox
By Nichole Naoum

Digital Detox

There is no denying that our smartphones have become our daily companion. It is probably within arm’s reach as you are reading this, or you might even be reading it ON your smartphone! The reality is that in our digital-centric lives, we have made ourselves accessible 24/7. We are always on standby – ready to scroll through our news feed, share a post, or binge watch the latest show. While there are perks to this level of connectedness, there are plenty of drawbacks.

For one, as we become more tech savvy and social media-obsessed, our physical and mental health continues to suffer. We are missing out on enriching experiences and valuable face-to-face interactions that are otherwise spent staring at a screen. Quitting cold turkey is impractical, especially if your job is to be virtually available all day every day. But, unplugging on occasion can do wonders for your well-being.

The key to retaining your sanity in our hyperconnected world is adopting healthier, more sustainable habits so that you are in the driver’s seat of your own life, and not the other way around.  This is where digital detoxing comes in. A “digital detox” refers to a period of time in which users disconnect themselves from electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and computers.

To kick off the process of cutting back on your digital dependency, disable all push notifications for social media apps, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, news sites, and dating apps. That way, you will be in full control of when you access these applications and for how long.

Although listening to music on your phone while you exercise is inevitable, stopping mid-interval to reply to a text or read an alert is also not a productive way to burn calories. Before you begin your workout routine, turn on “airplane mode” or “do not disturb” so you are not tempted to sneak glances at your messages.  Not only will this facilitate better focus during your session, you will be more likely to attain that endorphin-soaked performance boost without any added distractions.

And finally, find a way to get your social media fix in real life. Identify the sites or apps you are spending most of your time on and consider why you are so drawn to them. Then, seek out that satisfaction elsewhere. If you are inspired by landscape photos on Instagram, take the opportunity to visit a scenic location and engage in the moment with all your senses. Chances are you’ll retain the memory better than if you were to spend the duration of your venture snapping photos.

The internet may have facilitated easier information gathering and communication between friends and family, but it has also watered down many of the joys that come with genuine human contact. Stay in the cyber world for too long, and your social connections in real life will inevitably take a back seat. Being tethered to a device means you are not living in the present – you are elsewhere, living vicariously through an easily replaceable gadget. But, technology can wait. Your life can’t.


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Esteban Villanueva