5 Tips to Help You Digitally Detox

Woman lying in bed on her mobile phone

With Digital Wellness Day fast approaching (May 7th), you may be hearing talk about the ‘2021 digital detox’. With the shift back to normality taking longer than many of us hoped, wellness experts are suggesting a temporary disconnect from digital devices. This will likely have a positive effect on mental health, as we take a breather from the pandemic and all that comes with it! However, given that so much of our lockdown lifestyle is centred around technology, a complete detox would be tricky. Still, there are lots of little hacks to help manage the time we do spend scrolling. 

Force of Habit

Something to bear in mind is that many of us have merely developed a habit of turning to our phones for news, entertainment, or mere escapism. Carrie Budds, a Workplace Wellness Consultant at Quokka Wellness, suggests putting ‘blockers’ in the way of the cycle that often ends up in doomscrolling. This is the common tendency to click through large volumes of negative content, even though it’s making us sad or anxious. Here’s 5 tips to help you stay in control of the scroll: 

1.    Standing Desk 

Investing in a standing desk (or improvising at your kitchen counter or with an ironing board) will encourage you to keep moving. “It’s a great option”, says Carrie, “because it means you’re not sitting in front of a screen all day, exacerbating things like back ache, shoulder pain or tech neck.” 
 

2.    Change Your Mode 

Another trick is to utilise your phone’s various modes. Try setting it to ‘do not disturb’ at night, switching it back online after breakfast. Greyscale meanwhile removes colour from the screen, and is more effective than you might think! Your brain will no longer be rewarded by bright, shiny colours, and you’ll likely feel less compelled to keep scrolling.  

3.    Limit Your Time Online 

If you tend to fall down the scrolling rabbit hole, Carrie recommends setting a timer. Allow yourself 15 or 20 minutes to catch up on news and reply to messages, then put the phone down again.  

4.    Block Distracting Websites 

If celebrity gossip or TikTok videos tend to draw you in for hours on end, there are ways to avoid them! One option is obviously to unfollow certain pages, but you can also install apps that block selected websites. Carrie recommends BlockSite and Freedom

5.  Hand Over Your Phone! 

Are evenings your weakness? “If you tend to jump on Instagram when you finish work”, says Carrie, “try handing the phone to your housemate or partner, and head straight out the door for a walk.”  

Bonus. Limit Blue Light 

If you simply can't get away from the screen, there are ways to reduce the amount of potential damage to your eyes. “We know blue light can interrupt melatonin and our brain’s connection to winding down”, says Carrie. “If you’re doing something like working late in the evening, consider a pair of blue light reducing glasses.” 

Tools for Success 

 It may seem ironic, but there are lots of great online tools to help you stay, well – offline! “There’s no avoiding the fact that we’ll keep using more and more tech,” says Carrie. “That can be really beneficial. But if it's getting out of control, you may need to examine your digital behaviour.” She suggests checking out the following apps: 
 
•    Zinnia: Helps you start a digital creative journal  
•    Forest: Encourages you to be present as you stay away from your phone 
•    Loftie: An alternative to using your phone as an alarm clock 
•    MyLife: Motivates you to get out and get active