Digital Detox: Balancing Screentime for Mental Wellness

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Digital Detox: Balancing Screentime for Mental Wellness

By The Sculpt Society

Want to rehab your relationship with your digital devices? You’re not alone. Most of us spend a ton of time online these days, and it’s causing us stress (doomscrolling!) messing up our sleep (falling down a TikTok rabbit hole at 2 AM), increasing social anxiety (Instagram comparison is the thief of joy—is that the expression?), or numbing out (all of the above, really). There are so many reasons to do a digital detox, including maintaining a better work-life balance, being more productive, feeling more present, and feeling happier + more positive overall. De-connecting from the digital world, even temporarily, and coming back with better habits around technology and social media, is well worth it from a mental and physical health perspective. Step away from the smart phone…here are our top digital detox tips.

Impact of screen time on mental wellness

Ask anyone who’s ever owned a smartphone—technology can be wildly stressful. Even just misplacing your phone for half an hour can spike your stress hormones. The ever-present connection to our work emails, social media, and texts can affect stress (think about all the notifications you get in a day). And it makes it especially hard to draw a boundary between work and home.

Excessive screen time, especially on social media and digital devices, is linked to increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness—not just in young adults, but for everyone. Social media can invite unrealistic comparisons and increase FOMO. Plus, too much screen time—especially late at night—can disrupt healthy sleep patterns, since blue light emitted from screens interferes with the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone). Too much scrolling can even contribute to bad posture, as anyone who’s ever hunched over their smartphone can attest.

But the issue here isn’t unplugging completely—it’s limiting your tech use, so you don’t feel quite so overwhelmed, and spending time on the apps that make you feel good. Read on for the top reasons you may want to do a digital detox…

Benefits of a digital detox

What are the benefits to cutting down your scrolling time? So many, including: 

Better Sleep

There’s practically nothing healthier than deep, restful sleep, which resets your mind and body like nothing else. Especially if you struggle with sleep, putting down the phone at least an hour before bedtime is a no-brainer.

Reduced Stress

Getting a notification every other minute leaves you on high alert, and on edge. The pressure to stay connected, whether for work, personal life, or both, is overwhelming; making it tougher to relax and unwind.

Less FOMO

When you’re not checking Instagram, you’re protecting your energy. Constantly comparing yourself to others, whether you’re secretly snarking on them or they’re making you feel bad by comparison, is exhausting and depleting.

Stronger Relationships

You’re more present when you’re not attached to your smartphone, meaning, you can fully engage with the people you care about.

Healthier Habits 

When you’re less online, you’re more outside. Instead of spending evenings after work on the couch scrolling TikTok, invite a friend for a sunset walk or take your dog out for a quick jog around the block.

How to start your digital detox

Need tips on starting your digital detox? We’ve got you covered: 

  1. Let your friends and family know you’re going to be taking some time away from your phone, so they’ll know not to panic if you don’t text them back for a couple of hours.
  2. Take breaks away from your screen during the day. Go for a walk, take a real lunch, call (don’t text!) a friend. 
  3. Delete your favorite social media apps (you can re-download them later, of course). Out of sight, out of mind.
  4. Power down your phone at a reasonable hour, and don’t turn it on again first thing in the morning. Having a set time for using your devices will minimize the overall time you spend on them, and this means you can wake up to a less stressful activity than scrolling. Same goes for winding down.
  5. Get creative. Think of other, more fun activities to distract yourself! Although nothing beats being on your phone while you watch TV (jk, but seriously), take up drawing, knitting, listening to audiobooks, reading, collaging, cooking, playing with your pets, puzzles…
  6. Create a no-phone zone. Maybe phones are temporarily banned from the bedroom or the living room, and you limit your smartphone usage to the office and kitchen.

Tips for maintaining a healthy digital balance

What’s key to this mental health experiment known as the digital detox is, you’re not necessarily looking to opt out of technology entirely—you just want to reframe your relationship with your devices so you feel healthier and less stressed out, distracted, and exhausted. Gradually add back in some of your old habits, like scrolling TikTok for dog training tips and Eras Tour content; while staying firm on your “no phones 2 hours before bed” rule. Maybe you have set times throughout the day for checking work email and Slack. Maybe you delete Instagram every Thursday and re-download on Monday. Maybe you’re aiming to spend Saturdays completely, one hundred percent device-free. It’s all about whatever works for you! You want to aim for being present and mindful, not perfect. 

There are so many terrific reasons to do a digital detox, from wanting to be more present and show up for yourself in your own life, to increased productivity at work, to getting bored with social media and wanting to pick up a really great, interesting new hobby, to getting better sleep and taking concrete steps towards working on your mental health. Whatever your reason, a digital detox can be a great tool for learning more about what makes you feel happier, more relaxed, and satisfied. Wasting time on our phones is absolutely a bit of a given, but when it’s contributing to feelings of anxiety and less sleep, it’s just not worth it. We highly recommend doing a digital detox, even for the most internet-hooked of us all.



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Digital Detox: Balancing Screentime for Mental Wellness

Digital Detox: Balancing Screentime for Mental Wellness

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