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New Year. New Me. The standard phrase that circulates at the end of one year and into January. Resolutions get made. Resolutions get broken and then we spend the rest of the year wondering why.

This year, instead of focusing on creating a new me, I am focusing on taking a digital detox before the year is up and seeing how this will impact me going into 2021!

Now don’t get me wrong, 2020 became the year that we spent online, with national lockdowns and the global pandemic, we spent more time online! In fact, according to Ofcom we were spending an average of 4 hours a day online & using twice as many video calls to keep in touch. However, this ends up having an impact on one’s mental health.

That is why instead of drawing up resolutions to become fitter, leaner and more productive in 2021, why don’t we focus on ourselves and coming offline for a week can help put things in perspective.

We will cover a few reasons why a digital detox can have wonders on your mental health as you prepare for 2021 (or as some call it 2020 part II)

What are the benefits of a Digital Detox?

1. Sleep

Have you noticed recently that you feel perpetually exhausted, even though you are not going anywhere or doing anything strenuous?

Being online 24/7 can actually disrupt your sleep and using multiple devices before bed can ruin your chances of a decent nights’ sleep without you even realising.

95% of adults admit to using their digital devices right up until lights out – not only does the blue light from the devices keep your brain awake and kicking, but your brain is also subconsciously comparing and making lists in your head of what needs to be done. You might be harmlessly scrolling but your brain is working 10x harder in the background

2. Work-Life Balance

Our work-life balance definitely fell to the wayside in 2020, as we were working from home, 45% of adults admitted to working longer hours every week in order to stay on top of work. As we were working from home, there was this temptation to be constantly online and to check emails and address them as soon as possible even though it may be 9pm!

Taking a step back and unplugging can help us see things more clearly as we create more of a work-life balance rather than being slaves to our devices and emails!

3. Less FOMO

Do you find yourself comparing yourself to these picture-perfect lives on social media? You are not alone, this is a completely normal reaction, especially during the festive season? A digital detox after Christmas can help you put things into perspective and focus on what matters to us, rather than wishing your life was like that of those online.

By turning away from the digital devices for a week, we can live in the moment and appreciate what we have in front of us – be it friends, family, pets, or even neighbours.

Now we are not suggesting going cold turkey or booking a cottage in the most secluded & remote area to get a detox – as this can actually have adverse effects on what we are wanting to achieve. Instead, there are small changes that we can do to put things into perspective to have the 2021 that matters.

Here are our tips on having a “digital detox” to start your 2021 off with a bang.

1. Place notification blocks on emails after a certain time

Turning off notifications on emails between 6pm and 6am can help you focus on yourself & your family / loved ones. No dings or beeps to distract you between these times can help you unwind and focus on tasks or hobbies

2. Place your devices on charge in another room or across the room

If you use your device as an alarm, try charging it on the other side of the room to avoid rolling over and snoozing, but also to stop yourself from reading emails in bed as soon as you wake up. What this does is put your mind straight into fight or flight mode and your anxiety makes it difficult to make rational decisions and 9 out of 10 times you tend to crawl into bed and avoid getting up until the last minute. Not very productive

3. Have Do Not Disturb on your devices when you go to bed

There is nothing worse than just falling asleep and then you hear your phone vibrate or it lights up the room. Your brain then just wants to get up and check it.

On most mobile devices, you can set up a ‘sleep’ routine where your devices automatically go onto Do Not Disturb from a set time and notifications, noises, lights etc are silenced until your set wake up time – that way you can get the rest you deserve and not have to worry about pointless notifications.

4. Unfollow toxic social media accounts

These are accounts of completely fake online lives of those who are ‘living their best lives’ and in reality, their lives are not at all like the online ones.

Just these small changes can help set you up for a successful year ahead. If 2020 taught us anything it is that being online 24/7 can have a detrimental effect on our mental health, but this is something we don’t need to take into 2021. Small changes can help & can actually make you more productive at work, at home and with yourself.

How are you focusing on mental health and your digital consumption in 2021?