Digital detox to recharge and reboot you

A digital detox is switching off electronic gadgets such as mobiles and smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers for a certain period of time. This allows you to spend some screen-free time and enjoy whatever you are doing

Feeling anxious by just thinking about giving up your smartphone and missing out on social media updates for a day? It may not be as bad as you think – if you’re prepared.

Dr Harish Shetty, consulting Psychiatrist at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai, explained, “Continuous use of smartphones and other gadgets can cause neck pain, headache, loss of concentration, memory problems, irritability, anger, mental fatigue, sadness, depression, insomnia and increase in blood pressure.”

Doctors say digital detox helps to recharge, become more productive and also helps to develop a different perspective.

“Disconnect to reconnect. Unplug the distraction to amplify the attention,” said Dr Yusuf Matcheswalla, senior
psychiatrist at Masina Hospital, Byculla.

“You are going to get habituated and feel irritated if someone doesn’t allow you to touch the device. Low mobile battery can also make you feel agitated and restless. You start ignoring people around you. Nowadays, people don’t have face-to-face conversations. Constant use of devices at work place can also cause distraction and low productivity. It can spoil one’s professional and personal life,” said Dr Heena Merchant Pandit, Consultant Psychiatrist and an assistant professor in department of psychiatry, KEM Hospital, Parel.

Doctors say that the awareness on digital detox is now spreading as they are seeing many patients seeking help for the same. “Many patients consult me regarding digital detox. My advice is to use these gadgets in moderation. Take frequent breaks, while using them. Understand that, live interaction is more important. Regulate the screen time in order to live a healthy life. Research has shown that late night watching the screen can result into a disturbed life, sleep pattern and hormone cycle,” added Dr Shetty.

A recent study published by the Public Library of Science revealed that more time a person spends on Facebook, the more dissatisfied they ultimately feel with their own life.

Dr Sagar Mundada, youth wing President, Indian Medical Association (IMA) – Maharashtra Chapter explained, “Those who go for digital detox get less irritable, start perceiving things much faster. Their level of alertness and attention also increases.”

Dr Merchant also mentions that, “Digital detox is necessary for mind and body and advises to switch off the phone while sleeping. Digital detox will help increase your productivity at workplace, improved relationships. It will help you to become mindful. It’s a gradual process. Take the help of professionals. Involve your family members.”

Digital detoxing lets us dictate how we spend our own time, rather than spending all our time answering other people’s demands. Talking to My Medical Mantra, Samidha Ajay Narvekar, who was an avid mobile user once, said, “I had a habit of using my cell phone every night. Now, I make sure that I limit my cellphone usage. At night, I keep my phone in the locker, so that I am not tempted to use it. Now, I sleep peacefully and I feel stress-free.”

 Benefits of digital detox

  •  Reduces stress and makes you feel active
  • Increases productivity at work
  • Calms you down
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Helps in bonding and improved relationships
  • Improves concentration level