The term digital detox has been talked about for a few years now but it’s mostly been an American phenomenon. Over the last 12 months though it’s gathered pace around the world and is now becoming very much a central part of how we should be looking at our lives in the UK.

What is a digital detox?

A digital detox is a length of time where you decide not to use any kind of electronic connecting devices. This covers laptops, smartphones, computers and tablets. It is seen as a chance to decrease stress levels and reconnect with real life social interaction in the world around us.

Essentially a digital detox is walking away from the internet; social media, forums, emails and general online use.

There has been a great deal of research in the last couple of years which shows the value of taking part in a digital detox. Mental health improves and productivity is much better in all areas of life. Deciding to have a short digital detox of just a few days really highlights the bad habits many people have to the point where addiction to any device which connects to the internet takes over life.

Those who decide to have a few days or even a week detoxing usually find it’s hard at first to not connect online but after the initial 24 hours gradually start to lose the ‘pull’ to see what is happening on social media or favoured forums. Sleep improves and mental agility clears and sharpens.

Initial steps to re-shaping life

The great thing about digital detox is that there are easy ways to make the first steps towards changing your life. Adult colouring books have become very popular in the last year and many are saying they really help them relax and focus on completing the designs which distracts from wanting to check emails and status updates.

Mindfulness courses which look at meditation and thinking about enjoying the small things in life around us are becoming more available and more and more people are starting to research the subject.

Gradual changes to really make a difference

Withdrawal from the online world has to happen slowly in small steps otherwise it will feel more like kicking a habit and will be very hard to maintain. We all need to be available for work purposes or to contact family but it’s about achieving a balance. Digital detox weekends will mean that devices can be switched off for just two days and then reintroduced at the start of a new week. That way the life/internet balance can be found for each person and they can decide if they want to introduce more times where reconnection with the real world takes place.

Small changes will help us feel more in control of our decisions and less overwhelmed by the pressures of the digital world.