Digital Detox: 5 tips to unplug from digital and find balance

Digital Detox: 5 tips to unplug from digital and find balance

Publication date: 11-08-2023

Updated on: 11-08-2023

Topic: Mental health

Estimated reading time: 1 min

In recent years, the term “digital detox” has become increasingly popular. But what does it really mean? And why has it become so important in our increasingly connected society? In this article, Dr. S. Pagliuca, Dr. E. G. Bertoldo and Dr. V. Fiolo of the Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology Department of Policlinico San Donato will explain the concept of digital detox, its meaning and importance, as well as provide practical advice on how to do it.

What does it mean and what is its purpose?

Digital detox, literally “digital detoxication”, is a term used to describe a period when people decide to unplug from digital devices, such as smartphones, tablets, computers and social media. So, it represents an opportunity to get away from technology and restore a balance between the digital world and real life.

Digital detox can take different forms for different people. Some may opt for total disconnection, while others may choose to reduce the use of digital devices to certain times or for certain activities. 

The main goal is to create a space of time free from technology so as to reconnect with oneself and one's surroundings.

Digital detox serves multiple purposes, but the most important is to restore a healthy balance in our lives. We live in an age where we are constantly connected, receiving notifications, e-mails, messages, and are bombarded with information from all fronts. This constant digital stimulation can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health and our personal relationships.

When we immerse ourselves in the digital world for long hours, this can: 

  • adversely affect our ability to concentrate;
  • create anxiety, stress and even impair the quality of sleep. 

In addition, overuse of social media can lead to an addiction to “likes” resulting in a loss of self-esteem and a sense of personal evaluation based on superficial metrics.

Digital detox, then, enables us to: 

  • regain a sense of inner calm,
  • improve our concentration,
  • strengthen interpersonal relationships,
  • reduce stress.

Social detox: why it is important to unplug from social media

Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. They are a way to connect with others, share life moments, inform and entertain. However, overuse of social media can lead to a number of problems.

First of all, social media can be addictive. The idea of constantly receiving notifications, likes and comments can stimulate our minds in a drug-like way, making us addicted to the instant gratification they offer. This can lead to a constant need for external validation and a sense of dissatisfaction if we are unable to get enough online interactions.

Second, social media can negatively affect our self-esteem and emotional well-being. We often compare ourselves to the “perfect” lives of others, based on carefully selected images and moments, and feel inadequate or in competition with others. In addition, the lack of authentic and deep interactions can lead to a feeling of loneliness and isolation, despite the presence of thousands of virtual “friends”.

Finally, social media can rob us of valuable time that we could devote to more meaningful things. Spending hours on social media can cause us to lose sight of activities that bring us joy and satisfaction, such as spending time with our loved ones, engaging in hobbies or pursuing our personal goals.

How to do Digital Detox: 5 practical tips

If you have decided to do a digital detox, here are some practical tips for getting the most out of the experience:

  1. Set a goal: Before you start, you need to think about what you want to achieve from digital detox. It could be restoring balance in life, improving one's mental health or simply having more free time to engage in other activities. Setting a clear goal serves to keep you motivated along the way.
  2. Create a device-free routine: define times or activities during which you commit to not using digital devices. For example, you might decide to avoid using smartphones and computers for at least an hour after waking up and before going to bed. Instead, use this time to focus on yourself, meditate, read or exercise.
  3. Turn off notifications: social media notifications can be extremely disruptive and constantly interrupt attention. The suggestion is to turn off notifications of the apps that distract us the most and check our social platforms only when we really need to.
  4. Find healthy substitutes: during the digital detox, try to replace the use of devices with healthier and more rewarding activities such as meeting friends in person, reading a book, exploring nature or discovering new hobbies. Filling free time with meaningful experiences will help overcome anxiety about lack of digital devices.
  5. Practice mindfulness: while engaged in digital detox, it is helpful to practice mindfulness. Being in the present moment, enjoying what you are doing and becoming aware of your emotions and thoughts. This will help develop a greater awareness of how technology affects our lives and how it can be managed in a healthy way.

In summary, digital detox has become a necessity in our increasingly connected society. Unplugging from digital devices and social media allows us to regain a healthy balance, improve our mental health and strengthen our personal relationships. 

By following the practical advice mentioned above, you will be able to embark on a digital detoxification journey that will help you discover a more authentic and fulfilling life, free from digital distractions and rich in meaning.

Read others

Mental health

Mindful walking: what it is and what benefits it can bring

Mental health

What does "dysmorphophobia" mean?

Mental health

Happiness: what it depends on and how to be happy