Everyday it seems there is more chaos in the world…political turmoil, natural disasters, and other trauma-inducing news stories. Then we have professional stress, personal priorities, and a constantly connected society. 86% of adults in the US say they “constantly check email, text and social media, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). No wonder people are desperately in need of a break from it all. This is where I found myself AFTER coming back from a vacation.

Of course in my case my vacation was a working one where I am still learning how to balance professional responsibilities with my own personal needs. Regardless, I needed to unplug. Lucky for me I already had a camping trip planned so I had the perfect setting to turn off all notifications, set up my auto-replies and tune into nature and myself. And it felt SO good!

Our gluttonous digital life is taking a toll on us. Knowingly or unknowingly, technology has shadowy impacts such as feelings of disconnection and jealousy, and studies are showing people who are addicted to social media are at greater risk of sleep disorders, depression and stress. Over-usage of technology is literally becoming a mental health issue.

The first step is to acknowledge this is the case so that we can start to find a sustainable and balanced way to manage our tech usage. Answer these questions and see for yourself whether or not you are in need of a digital detox:

Do you experience panic mode if you forget your phone or it dies?

Has your partner, children, friends or a colleague complained about you being distracted because you are constantly glancing at your phone?

Do you sleep with your phone bedside and look for it first thing in the morning?

Is your spare time complete digital mode, whether binge-watching Netflix or playing games?

Does social media make you feel bad about your life?

Do you constantly feel like you don’t have enough time to get things done yet are spending a ton of time online?

Does your thinking feel funny?

Reality check time. If you answered yes to most or all of the questions you should consider a digital detox. No need to feel guilty or ashamed as you are one of many and beating yourself up about it is not helpful in the change process.

“Taking a digital detox is one of the most helpful ways to manage stress related to technology use. Constant checkers could benefit from limiting their use of technology and presence on social media. Adults, and particularly parents, should strive to set a good example for children when it comes to a healthy relationships with technology.” Lynn Bufka, APA

Come back next week for an article on how to do a digital detox…see you then!