Have you ever realised or thought about the time when we did not have access to apple iPhones, Netflix, or any kind of habit-forming digital devices? This is strictly for the Boomer generation, Gen X, Millennials, and maybe some early Gen Z in India. How did we pass our time after work, after school or when we met our friends? Did we stay glued to our digital phones? Did we even know the concept of "screen time"? The idea that is so widely used and embedded in our phones and new parents mind. Everyone from the Boomers to Generation Z and even the Generation Alpha is battling phone addiction. Research shows Indians spend an average of 1,800 hours on their phones annually manoeuvring through the digital world.
You will find many people are with their heads down, slouched posture or lying on the bed into their phones and electronic devices. Kids as young as 8 years are going through internet addiction, and the worst is, they are unaware as much as their parents. The pandemic has only made matters worse. If you ever take time off while travelling (be it to your office, home, or vacation) and look outside with your phone kept aside, you will observe 90% of the folks with their heads down into their mobile devices. Your watchman, your house help, your boss, your kids, your partners, your shop walla, the guy waiting on the scooter on the signal, the one sitting on the car back seat, and we mean everyone is with their head down. They deep into social media, series, and video games, absent in real life and sucked into the digital world.
When was the last time you voluntarily from within picked up an actual paper and read news from one of the most authentic sources; the print? When was the last time you willingly put your phone aside to give attention to a loved one? When was the last time you took an actual storybook with a six-year-old and read it out loud to them? When was the last time YOU read a book before going to bed? When was the last time you fed your child without YouTube or some visual stimulation? When was the last time you had a meal without Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar? When was the last time you enjoyed your tea without scrolling through your phone? When was the last time you cooked a meal as a family with involvement from every member?
Ironically, we are writing about DIGITAL DETOX to be published on a digital medium.
Everybody teaches you how to begin, where to go, what to do, what not to do, where to look, what to look, what to achieve, how to conduct, how to love, how to live, what to follow, what not to follow, how to lead, how not to lead. But nobody teaches you WHERE TO STOP. Even we do not tell us where to stop. We have locks on apps, timer restricting the amount of time for phone use is proof of our collective failure as a society and individuals. However, the intent to create such applications is noble (we have suggested a few in this blog and know). Still, the fact that we have lost the plot using technology speaks volumes for itself.
While the internet has made information ever available, brought the world in one place, and made unthought-of possibilities real, the negative consequences are anything far from dire. Digital life is not just all-consuming, disconnecting and ever-present. It is also thoroughly distracting and stressful. A digital detox is a great way to help create a synergistic balance between our real and virtual lives.
Here are a few simple tips on how to do a digital detox to make your online and offline lives richer:
Move away from your daily work-life balance.
Pick a getaway, slightly far from your daily movement patterns of home-work-gym-diner and leave your phone behind. Our blue light screens have engaged us so profoundly in the virtual world - where we socialise, work, entertain ourselves, and shop, that all places seem the same unless you really cleanse them of devices. Digital overuse needs us to get out of our everyday spaces, explore and refresh ourselves out of staleness.
Leave your fear of missing out behind.
One of the most deeply troubling effects of being constantly connected is the fear of missing out. Dependence on the internet and quick information have made us feel lost without navigation, insecure in our inability to reach people and generally unsafe in the world. Studies show that most of this danger is only imagined. Navigating the world without our phones will change the way we experience our lives and help us regain freedom and a sense of security. This instils confidence in life without constant dependence on our devices.
Make your entertainment less dependent on the internet.
It is vital to delink entertainment from technological devices. Even if you're bored, don't mindlessly scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feeds. Because guess what, it's designed to keep you on the website constantly, creating a constant stimulation loop. Seek your entertainment outside your screens- in conversations or meeting with friends for lunch.
Don't be in work mode 24 ghanta.When did you last take a real break? Be unavailable at post-work hours when you do not want to be reached by your boss or clients. Owing to devices, we carry our work with us all the time, not just literally but also mentally. Simply, this translates into constant unbroken work stress. Switch off your work email or phone number once you're off work to get a psychological sense of having done your job for the day and let your hair down. Next morning, start afresh.
Do your Digital Intermittent Fasting
Simple in principle, hard to apply. But breaking the consumption cycle for anything, including your digital diet, will give you a fresh perspective on everyday life. Get off your devices for a few days consciously and realise how you spend your time on them. Recognise the importance of things you may be missing out on in life. Most importantly, observe what's really on your mind and bring back balance into your overall well being and mental health.
Dig out your Life To-do List or Prepare one if you don't have
Take an art class, learn an instrument, do pottery. Find a hobby you enjoy. Go back to the wish-list you used to have before all our choices got trapped in our phones or MAKE A NEW ONE. Moreover, doing physical activities or working with your hands will de-clutter your mind and bust stress and make you feel more grounded and present.
Craft quality Family time
Technology addiction is a problem that affects young adults, adults and children in the family differently, along with collectively reducing quality family time. When was the last time you sat across from your partner or with your kid? When did you chat about their lives or listening to a favourite song? Incorporate family cookouts, board games, singing, dancing into your daily lives or at least over the weekends.
Studies show that the impact that devices have on children affects their eyesight or their memory and their behavioural traits and emotional growth. Investing in family time is essential for healthy relationships at home.
Download Focus Apps from mobile store
Nobody foresaw the flipside of technology which is why a set of new apps emerged out of Silicon Valley. Geeks realised the havoc digital distractions were causing to the users.
These apps help you focus by locking your phone, organising your app usage and telling you how much time you've spent on screen.
Use an app like Forest that blocks your phone access off for the duration you want to work for and makes your distractions unreachable. It will itch at first but enhance your creativity over time. Try Forest, Freedom or Noisli.
It may be helpful for someone who really needs it!
Meditation needs no introduction.
Okay, I know this is a cliché, but meditation is a great way to clear your head and regain your focus. As attention spans decline below those of a goldfish (it's true, I kid you not), excellence can only be pursued if we learn to get our focus back and keep at things without getting distracted constantly. Yoga in general and meditation mainly help build attention and reduce the stress that we pile up each day.
Eat without Electronics.
Eating with a screen in front of you not only hampers digestion but also makes you less aware of how much you eat and miscalculate portions. This also leads to excessive eating, obesity, and lethargy. Get off your cell phone and screens while you eat and pay greater attention to your meal. Try to feel its taste & texture, how your body feels and how much you need to consume.
Create a no cell phone zone in your home.
Keep a small space in your house an electronics-free zone. You may keep some books here, some plants, maybe your canvas for painting or anything for that matter that you would love to do.
You'll be surprised how often you'll feel like going in and leaving the chatter of the world, colleagues, friends, Instagram celebrities behind and help you spend some time by yourself.
Encourage bedrooms free from screens.
One of the things that spike our stress levels is that we see our phones first thing in the morning and are up till 2 am scrolling our news feeds.
A great way to sleep well and fix biorhythms is unplugging from your mobile phones before hitting the bed. This helps the brain signal the end of the day and relaxes your body. Use a traditional or quirky alarm clock to wake yourself up in the morning and avoid the screen as your first visual engagement in a day. Instead, wake up, do a bit of your routine and then get to your mobile.
Sleep Well with Auric Mind Rejuvenation
Auric Mind Rejuvenation has Brahmi and Shankhpushpi that help relax the mind and improve the quality of sleep. It is a 100% natural drink made with ayurvedic herbs, coconut water with the natural refreshing taste of mango and saunf. Try drinking 1 bottle every night before going to bed and observe the improvement in quality of sleep.