It's a universally acknowledged truth that gluing yourself to screens all day can leave you feeling fatigued, stressed, and burned out. Much the same as alcohol, coffee, or sugar, the key is moderation—and if you're overdoing it, your body will soon let you know. So if any of the following signs resonate with you, it might be time to consider a digital detox
1. Chronic FOMO
Social media is the perfect place to feel connected with other people, however, this can quickly turn to FOMO. FOMO, or the "fear of missing out", is a common symptom of being addicted to your phone. It stems from feeling lonely or ostracised by others' seemingly 'always on' behaviour.
The anxiety and stress people may experience when they feel they’re not hitting traditional milestones like getting married, having children, buying a house, achieving career goals, etc - Dr. Patel-Dunn
FOMO is an unhealthy response as it prevents you from enjoying the present moment. It's hard to be content when you're constantly feeling like there's something more fun going on elsewhere, or people are reaching ‘life milestones’ before you. If the feeling gets too much, taking a break from your screen activities, social media in particular, should be your first port of call.
2. Brain fog
Brain fog isn't technically a medical diagnosis, it's a collection of symptoms that can signal a problem. Brain fog is usually associated as a side effect of catching Covid-19, but stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, and too much screen time are also culprits. Common symptoms of brain fog include:
Short-term memory loss
If your symptoms of brain fog are prolonged and pronounced, that’s usually a sign that you're not getting enough sleep or managing stress properly, the fault for which can lie with your collection of screens. Too much screen time can cause what neuroscientists call "digital dementia", which affects short-term memory, attention, and concentration—sound familiar?
3. Low productivity
Productivity isn't just about getting more done in less time, it's also about feeling like you're making progress (and feeling good about it). Productivity is one of the most common reasons to take a digital detox. The average Brit spends more than 6 hours per day on their phone, and that doesn't even account for other screens like laptops and TV.
It actually takes 23 minutes to refocus once you’re distracted from a task, as your brain can only truly focus on one thing at a time. This can lead to feeling like you're always behind on your tasks—be it work, chores, or social—with no end in sight. So if you notice that you're wasting time, working into the witching hour and getting absolutely nowhere, it could be time for a digital detox.
4. Poor sleep
Poor sleep is one of the most common symptoms of digital addiction. If you're sleeping poorly, you'll wake up feeling hazy and fatigued, which can affect your memory, mood, and concentration. Over time, this can have a huge impact on your social life, work life, and mental health.
When you spend the hours before bed scrolling on TikTok, the light from your screen signals to your brain that it's time to wake up—this is why too much screen time can mess with your sleep pattern. Thankfully there are apps, functions, and reminders that help limit screen time late at night, which can help get your sleep back on track.
5. Easily distracted
If you find yourself constantly distracted by notifications, social media, emails, and texts—or even just one of those things—it’s time to take a look at your screen time habits. The average person checks their phone 150 times a day, which means that each minute, you’re checking your phone about once every six minutes. So it's little wonder you're struggling to finish your tasks or getting forgetful.
While it’s impossible to completely eradicate distractions and notifications from interrupting your focus, you can certainly limit the amount of time you spend on your phone, especially during those times when you need to concentrate and be present.
Time for a digital detox?
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms regularly, it may be time to take a digital detox—your mind and body will thank you for it!
If you're wondering how to begin your digital detox, the best place to start is getting in the habit of planning out your schedule for the day. To-do lists and strict time limits on screen time can help you ease into things (and stay on top of everything else too).
It goes without saying, but a digital detox is mostly about putting the screens away, and keeping them there—which is where Unplugged comes in. Come and stay in your very own off-grid cabin, where unplugging from your screen and plugging into nature is our mission!
Fancy time away from the screen?
Recharge your batteries by going off-grid for 3 days. Backed by science - you will feel more calm, relaxed and creative after your digital detox.