3 reasons to do a digital detox

Many of my patients visit me suffering from chronic fatigue and stress. It’s no surprise; many of us live fast-paced, busy lifestyles with little time to rest. Plus, we’re so accustomed to habitually scrolling through our social media feeds every chance we get.  It’s not uncommon for us to unconsciously reach for our phones and begin looking at the highlight reel that is Instagram and Facebook.

Dr. Marita Schauch

The problem is, social media can cause us to compare ourselves (and our lives) with others’, causing our self-esteem to suffer.  Additionally, studies show that screen time has detrimental effects on physical health, making children and adults alike become more irritable, exacerbate concentration issues, and in some cases, even create addiction issues. This can create stress in the household due to its negative effect on mood.

If you’re wondering why I haven’t been sending my regular monthly newsletters this summer, I challenged myself to do a digital detox.  Instead of being consumed with my social media feed, I used this time to embrace the beautiful weather by spending more time outside and connecting face-to-face with the people I love.  

This detox positively impacted my life in many ways, and I’m sharing my top three reasons you should consider getting off your screens to use your time more productively.

  1. Humans need face-to-face connection

We often forget that we are social beings; our brains are wired to connect, and unfortunately screens are poor substitutions. In-person communication not only helps us feel apart of a community, which is essential to cultivating feelings of belonging, it reduces feelings of loneliness, boosts the immune system, and even increases the production of endorphins, known as the body’s natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals.

Dr. Marita Schauch

2. Save time

The average person in North America uses a screen for seven hours a day. While I understand that many people need to use their computers for work, imagine how much more you could do in a day if you cut out the unnecessary scrolling on your smartphone.  When I got off social media this summer, I was able to be more present with the people I spent time with. I got outside more, read books that had been on my list for months, and felt overall more focussed.

Dr. Marita Schauch

3. Improve your mood

It can feel exhausting trying to keep up with the instant gratification and constant flow of information provided on social media. Not only can this feel draining, social media use has been closely linked to anxiety and depression.  Instead of reaching for your phone when you feel low, try getting outside, exercising, practicing yoga, or even creating a gratitude list to feel more satisfied with what you already have in your life.

Yoga Cara Calibaba - Dr. Marita Schauch

If you can’t commit to doing a digital detox for an extended period of time, try cutting out social media for just a weekend (or evening!), and see how you feel.  Just practicing being more conscious in your use of screens will cut down the amount of time you spend on them.

Riley Webster