Can a Digital Detox Help Your Mental Health?
If you are rarely parted from your smartphone or gadgets and you’re always feeling the urge to check it (even when you know deep down you haven’t got any new notifications or messages!), you should be aware that it’s a negative sign on your mental health. Movement control order (MCO) has increased stresses linked to technology in many ways. It’s therefore really important to think about technology’s place in your self-care plans. During MCO, we were all forced to attend lessons and complete homework with our gadgets, now is the best time to do yourself a favor, go on a digital detox and reconnect within and with people around you.
How technology can contribute to poorer mental health?
According to research, the average person checks their phone up to 10,000 times a year. That’s 28 times a day or more than once every single hour. There can be a few factors involved in this, including Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) on news or notifications and getting dopamine (hormone) rush similar to fuelling an addiction whenever our phone pings with something new. A digital detox of 24 hours (or longer) can have lots of well-being benefits. Lower stress levels, sleeping better and a stronger focus on studies are just a few examples of the mental perks you are likely to gain from switching off completely from your digital life for a day or so regularly. And that’s got to be a whole lot better for your wellbeing, to focus fully on yourself and where you missed out in your lessons and catching up with loved ones.
Here are a few steps to make it happen :
- Time your check-ins: The ultimate goal is to get used to the idea of switching off from technology and not feeling stressed or anxious when you do it. Start your day without gadgets. Seek the morning sun, you’ll probably find that the day gets off to a calmer and more productive start. Plus, you’ll have more time to take care of yourself with a healthy, nourishing breakfast too. This can be hard to do in reality, to begin with since mindless scrolling was part of the routine. Once you feel more comfortable with this, you can go a bit longer between check-ins but it may take a while to get to this point if you’re too attached to your devices right now.
- Go to places you need to unplug in: If you’re going to places where using technology is a no-no, you’ve got no choice but to embrace it. Fitness classes, hiking, and swimming pools are a couple of examples of this and as a bonus, you’re engaging in another form of self-care: exercise! A sedentary lifestyle can cause stress, depression, and anxiety. Science has proved exercise is as effective as many existing interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for preventing and treating mental health conditions. Of course, when someone is in the grips of mental health issues, starting to exercise can feel like moving a mountain. But, the smallest of changes can have a big impact. Exercise has immediate effects on your brain chemistry.
Did you know?
People, who meet the government’s recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week are 30 percent less likely to suffer a depressive episode in the future?
Over time, the future of healthcare will see digital detox and exercise prescribed as a safe, effective intervention for many conditions. Don’t miss out, you may start self-prescribing today. Whether you or someone you know is struggling with devices or simply want to increase your emotional resilience, get into action by the surprising fact that one needs to look for an alternative. Have a technology-free hour: Once you’ve built up to going for an hour without using any form of technology, pick an hour every day where you’ll switch off, step away from all of your devices and enjoy life. An hour is your first goal but big bonus points if you can work up to having a tech ‘blackout’ for a whole weekend! If you are contemplating getting started, have a look at this self-help worksheet attached.
|“Me time” daily 5 mins (involves only you)
|Walk 10,000 steps daily
|Phone free day once a week
|Do a form of strength training twice a week
|Start writing. Keep a gratitude journal.
|10 push-ups, 20 sit-ups, 20 lunges, 20-star jumps – form a circuit repeat 3x
|Pick a hobby without gadgets
|Morning walks 20mins. Never underestimate the power of the morning sun
|Meal time without gadgets
|Wake up your glutes with yoga, stretching, and lifting your body weight count to w100
Written by :
CEO & Founder of Drona Wellness
Certified Mental Health Response Instructor
Disclaimer: The information is provided by Drona Dewi, a mental fitness coach who is from a biotechnology background, and a lifestyle researcher. Certified mental health first aider by Malaysian Mental Health Association and Certified Mental health response Instructor by Mental health Management, Australia. The information is NOT intended to be and should be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional medical advice.