Digital Detox: Get Off Your Phone! by Emily Hasselquist, LCSW

Like many others, I often start my day by scrolling through a couple of my favorite social media sites as I enjoy my morning coffee.  One recent morning though, I had just had enough.  I thought about how many times I spent picking up my phone throughout the day and how those minutes were taking away from the many other things I enjoy doing.  I love planning vacations, taking walks, reading, spending time with friends and family, and participating in the many activities Chicagoland has to offer.  I became determined to focus on these activities, not my phone.  I challenge you to do the same!

The rise of social media, in particular, has had many negative effects on some people.  It can be easy to feel jealous or lonely after viewing images of other people’s social activities or accomplishments. The constant scrolling through news stories can result in stress and fatigue.  The harmful impact being on your phone has on sleep is also well researched.  The issue of cell phone and electronic dependence is a reality for some.  Internet addictions are just as real as a gambling addictions and may require treatment.  While this is not what the average adult is dealing with, many of us would still admit to spending a substantial amount of time on our devices.

My challenge to you is to plan a “digital detox.”  Whether it’s for an hour, a day, or a week make a commitment to detox.  Pledge to stay off social media, ignore the alerts popping up on your screen, leave the work emails at work.  Take notice of how this impacts you. While initially you may feel like you’re missing something, ultimately you may notice yourself more relaxed.  You’ll be more present in the moment. You’ll free up time for home projects you’ve put off. You’ll be more available and approachable to those around you if you’re focus is not on a device in your hand. So as you finish this article I ask you to join me in the following challenge; get off your phone!  Read that book that has been on your shelf for months. Go outside. Make plans with your friends or family and commit to technology free time together. Take in the sights and sounds of the world around you.

If you are looking for more ideas on how to implement a digital detox, the staff at Gurnee Counseling Center can help. Contact us at (847) 336-5621 for more information. Looking for ways to get your kids off of their electronic devices too? Stay tuned for our next article!