Get off the 'gram

The modern yogi loves a scroll on Instagram. But the moment it becomes an unhealthy habit, fuelling unrealistic expectations or comparisons to others, it's time to hit the brakes. Here's how you can moderate (or even eliminate) the lure of social media

It's springtime and that can mean detox time for a lot of people. But it isn't just alcohol or junk food that we should be mindful of when considering a healthy lifestyle, according to the folks at private rehab clinic, Delamere.

As well as our bodies, we should also focus on taking care of our mental wellbeing, and cutting down on the things that can have a negative psychological impact.

We can all be guilty of passing the time by scrolling aimlessly through social media, or glued to Netflix until the early hours. However, over indulgence of digital media can have a negative impact on us. In fact, studies have shown a correlation between a high amount of screen time and experiencing depressive symptoms. Temporarily disconnecting yourself from the matrix can bring lots of physical and mental wellbeing benefits. Here, the Delamere team explain the benefits of a digital detox, and why having time away from screens of all types is important.

Why a digital detox is important

Between working all day on a computer, to endlessly scrolling through social media, or streaming your favourite tv shows – that's a lot of screen time! Globally, the average person is estimated to spend a total of 6 hours and 58 minutes per day plugged into the internet, almost like a full working day. If that wasn't worrying enough, there is the link between spending large amounts of screen time and negative mental health, as well as an increased risk of burnout.

If you are regularly getting lost down an online rabbit hole, and it is affecting your mind in a negative manner, you may need to take a digital detox to avoid experiencing burnout.

Benefits felt from taking part in a digital detox will differ from individual to individual. People may feel that they have increased productivity and are able to manage their time better due to spending less time consuming digital media.

You may also find that you are experiencing reduced feelings of anxiety, and an improvement in self-esteem, due to spending less time comparing yourself to others online. Sleep quality may also improve, leaving you feeling more refreshed and alert when taking on day-to-day tasks.

Get off the gram

How to do a digital detox

For many people, it's not always as simple as just putting down your phone. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help you to reduce your screen time and develop a healthier relationship with online media. Here are a few ideas:

• Set up screen time alerts

A handy way to reduce your time online is to enable screen time tracking on your mobile device. This will update you on your daily average usage and can provide a breakdown of where you are spending the most time. If you are finding that you are spending excessive amounts of time on certain apps, this is an indicator that you need to cut down your usage.

• Delete apps from your phone/deactivate your accounts

If you are particularly prone to scrolling for hours on your mobile phone, the most effective way to detox is to delete social media apps from your device, or deactivate your accounts. Sometimes, removing the temptation altogether is the best method for sticking to your goals.

• Set yourself limits and stick to them

If you are a little more disciplined when it comes to regulating your screen time and don't wish to delete your apps, you can simply set yourself agreed time limits to use certain apps or websites each day. Make a plan of when you will use digital media for leisure, set time limits and stick to them. You may benefit from setting yourself reminder alerts that will notify you when you've used up your designated time, and that you're ready for a break away from the screens.

• Switch off your push notifications

Switching off push notifications is a great way to ensure that you are sticking to agreed screen time limits. By doing this, you are able to reduce the temptation to look at your phone without the constant alerts or notifications. You may find that this can help you focus on day-to-day tasks and be more productive. Notifications can be paused in most smart phone settings or within the individual app itself.

• Don't start the day with screens

For many people, the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning is spend time scrolling through their phone. Setting yourself a rule to not look at your phone as soon as you wake up is a great way to gradually break this habit. Instead, take the time to meditate, to show or make a healthy breakfast.

• Don't scroll before bed

Doom scrolling is particularly prevalent late at night or whilst in bed. Keeping your brain on high alert whilst scrolling through negative stories can severely disrupt your sleep for the rest of the night, as well as potentially causing feelings of anxiety or distress. Putting your phone or laptop away an hour or two before your usual bedtime is good practice to help your mind to disengage for a better night's sleep.

• Choose books over screens

Particularly when it comes to bed time, books – yes, good old-fashioned books – are a much more suitable method for relaxing and unwinding, rather than a digital screen. It worked for centuries prior to the digital age...and it's still as valid today.

• Set 'no phone' rules

If you are socialising with friends and family, agree to a 'no phone rule' for a period of time. This will remove any distraction and ensure that everyone is present in the conversation and each other's company.

• Download digital detox apps

With the increasing awareness around the need for a digital detox and more conscious media consumption, several apps have been created to help. Yes, this may seem ironic, suggesting downloading more apps to reduce time spent on apps, but these can be handy. The apps can allow you to set yourself time limits for certain apps, and once the limit is up, your phone will not allow you to access the apps until the limit refreshes.

Find out more about digital detoxing at:

Om Magazine

First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.