I’ve realised that there are times when I feel really anxious and restless and I could never really work out why. When I stopped to take note, my life was pretty much in order. I slowly came to realise that whilst I was working on detoxing my life, I was only really focusing on the physical aspect of it. I was working on getting rid of clothes, books, dvds, cds, house hold items. I even went so far as to ditch friends and relationships that were no longer sustaining me or were giving me too much anxiety. What I wasn’t doing was focusing my energy on one of the biggest sources of anxiety amongst young adults these days – the digital space.
Whilst social media is a necessary way of life now, it can also be really overwhelming. It’s so easy to get lost inside the digital space because it takes up so little physical space but can be a really big stressor.
This is what I do when I feel it’s all a bit too much.
- Emails – Clear out your inbox. If it’s not urgent, contain important information or require an action from you, get rid of it. Either delete it or put it into a relevant folder for you to refer to when you need to.
- Email Folders – Speaking of moving things into folders, go through your folders. I went through mine a couple of weeks ago and found online receipts from 2008. Considering it was just clothing that I had ordered, I really didn’t need to keep it.
- Email Subscriptions – When I get new emails from companies, I literally take a second to decide whether I want the subscription to continue or end. Most of the time I end it. If it’s a newsletter or something like that but you find yourself always saying ‘I’ll read that later’ just unsubscribe because history tells you that you won’t ever go back to it. Alternatively you can create a number of email accounts to help you manage different aspects. I have one that is used solely for online purchases, another that is solely for newsletters and subscriptions, a personal one for important matters and a fourth one for blogging and an online presence.
- Social Media – If you don’t actively use and enjoy a certain social media platform, get rid of it. I love the idea of Twitter but I just don’t use it or care enough to want to use it. So I got rid of it.
- Facebook friends – Now this is a hard one because it can get complex. There are people that I used to work with or went to uni with who I’ve deleted off Facebook and tbh, I can’t imagine the other person has cared too much. However there are people who may be on there who cause you stress but you can’t delete them without it becoming a much bigger issue than you’re willing to deal with. If this is the case I strongly recommend fiddling around with your settings and lists and finding a solution that works for you. You can choose to limit what you see of theirs and you can also choose to limit what people can see of yours.
- Instagram followers – Instagram is a bit of a funny platform in that it’s pretty much the most prevalent one to give you FOMO or making you feel like shit because you didn’t have a 5 ingredient super smoothie and go for a 10km hike before the crack of dawn. So if anyone on there makes you feel like crap or doesn’t share our outcome or values, unfollow.
- Pinterest – Go through your pins and decide whether you want to keep them or delete them. If you’re honest with yourself you’ll know which projects and articles you’ll get around to doing/reading and which you won’t.
Doing these things has really helped me with my mindset. I feel that now I’m working on creating a stress and anxiety free existence in all areas of my life and that makes me smile.
I’ve also become very aware of how much time I spend on my phone checking things like emails, facebook and instagram. I know I’m not as bad as some people but I really thought I was better than most but the stats don’t lie. I downloaded an app called Digital Detox where I can shut off my phone for a set amount of time and I accumulate points in doing so. I don’t really know what the points do but it’s a good way to cut down your usage. It also tells you how often you’ve checked your phone and what percentage of time you’ve spent on particular apps. It’s actually quite an eye-opener.
What are your thoughts on a digital detox?