You spend a lot of time carefully curating your Instagram profile, and it’s been a while since you’ve left your phone behind when going out of the room. You check your emails obsessively, you have a compulsive need to scroll through Facebook and Twitter when you’re bored, and the internet seems to be such an important part of your life that you panic when your WiFi isn’t working. Does all of this sound familiar?
If the digital world is stressing you out and even pulling you away from your studies, it might be the time to take a little break. For those who believe they’re in need of a digital detox, here’s why it’s useful and how you can go about it.
You don’t have to be online to be present
The fear of missing out is a frequent problem of people who seem to be glued to their phones, but in reality the addiction can go even further than that—studies show that constant internet abuse can lead to a diminished capacity to stick to long-term goals and self-modulate. The fact that we can get so easily distracted means we’re unable to focus, and for a student whose sole goal is to focus on their studies this could be disastrous. Being away from tech doesn’t mean you’ll be missing out on much. Quite the opposite—it can enable you to actually live in the moment and concentrate on what you’re doing.
Studying and procrastination
When someone puts a phone in our hands, it’s pretty much a surefire way to distract us from anything that’s happening around us, and a lot of college students have trouble focusing on studying if they leave their phone on the desk next to them. The pull of it can be very strong, and if you keep telling yourself that you’ll get back to coursework as soon as you check Facebook and then end up scrolling through it for the next half an hour, you know there’s a problem. To minimize the temptation, it’s a good idea to leave your phone in another room, or even give it to your roommate and tell them not to let you have it until you’re done working.
Quiet mindfulness before the exam
Exam time is usually a really stressful period, and it’s when we’re most likely to feel tense and jumpy. Rather than turning to social media for comfort, a much better way of nurturing our mental health and actually calming down is mindfulness. Find a few quiet moments for yourself, away from any tech, and sit down to meditate. You can spread around a few scented candle jars to set the atmosphere in the room and play quiet music to further soothe your anxiety. Take 15-30 minutes of simple peace and quiet to do nothing other than this, and you’ll find your focus again. Once you’re done, you can get back to studying with renewed vigor.
Uninstall unnecessary apps
If your tech device is actually important for school, you don’t have to stop using it completely. You can also minimize the distractions by uninstalling the multitude of apps you don’t even need, especially online games. That way your phone, tablet, or laptop can actually become much more practical.
Get an old phone
If you just want something to help you stay in touch with your parents and friends, why not grab an old model rather than the latest iPhone? If discipline is the problem, this is a great way to impose an easy restriction on yourself that you won’t have a choice but to obey.
Ban tech from certain rooms
Your bedroom should be a tech-free zone, especially if you’re frequently plagued by insomnia. The bright light from electronic screens can keep us awake way past our bedtime, so removing yourself from those influences could help you sleep. It’s also good to have one spot in your living space where you don’t have to worry about social media drama and can just be yourself.
Get closer to the offline world
If you build your life only around your Instagram account, it’s no wonder anything apart from that seems bleak and boring. However, a student has plenty of opportunities to socialize and engage in activities that are completely unrelated to any technology, so why not try to develop interests that require you to step away from your computer and see what else is out there? For example, you could join a sports team or a book club that lets you meet other people face-to-face and develop strong bonds of friendship that will help you through college.
Don’t let the online world overtake your real world. While you don’t have to abstain from it completely, putting a certain distance can help you become a better, more focused student.
Sophia Smith is beauty blogger, an eco-lifestyle lover, a graphic designer and a food enthusiast. She is very passionate about natural skincare, minimalist wardrobe, yoga and mindful living. Sophia writes mostly about lifestyle-related topics in her articles. She has contributed to a number of publications including: She is Fierce HQ, Soar Collective, Cause Artist and Bon Vita Style, Just Haves, How to Simplify and Carousel.
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Almost everything you describe is about me. I didn’t think I was so dependent on the phone. But I looked at the statistics that I spend more than six hours with a smartphone overall.
I definitely need to reconsider my attitude to the phone and technique over the summer. Thank you for making me think about it!
Thankss for writing this