Exciting things to do instead of staring at your phone
Digital detox is good for all of us – but what should you do when cell phones are taboo? We have a few ideas.
Digital Detox: Not only since the pandemic, in which our time in front of the screens increased from 8 to 10 hours, many people have decided to take a little distance from social media. But even if many of us still know a world without digital media from our childhood/adolescence, very few can imagine today what life would be like without the constantly vibrating smartphone nearby.
It’s worth taking a break from social media and the like – for our psyche alone. But in a world that’s becoming increasingly digital, we may not immediately know how to spend our time elsewhere. We’ve collected a few suggestions to make “Withdrawing” easier.
Social media has a negative impact on our psyche
Why digital detox at all? In short: Because we damage our mental health if we spend too much time on platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Co. The studies supporting this are plentiful: a 2015 study found that British children were twice as likely to give responses in a survey that the study says can be assessed as an indicator of mental illness (without it being this was a diagnosis) if they spent three or more hours on social media in a school day.
Of 1,500 US respondents, 86 percent said social media has a negative impact on their happiness and self-image, and between 79 and 83 percent also reported negative impacts on their anxiety, loneliness and depression. A 2022 cross-country survey from the US, UK and Norway found that people who used social media to entertain themselves or reduce their loneliness during the pandemic had poorer overall mental health.
On the other hand, those who take a break from social media can look forward to fewer fears, better sleep and a positive mood change – at least these are the results of a pilot study among 68 students from 2021.
Digital Detox: What Can You Do Instead?
The earlier you start taking a break, the better, it seems. But that’s often easier said than done, after all, the use of social media takes up a different amount of space in people’s everyday lives. How to fill this space again? And above all: with what? Simple counter-question: what not? After all, in addition to the digital world, we also have a fairly large, exciting, colourful, real world away from the screen.
The question you should ask yourself is: Why am I using social media? To relax? To stay or get in contact with my friends and other people? Just for entertainment?
Depending on the answer to this question, there are also other tips that you can use to fill the gap left by your digital detox.
Tips for social media users who want to relax with it
Many people like to use beautiful Instagram pictures and funny TikTok videos to switch off a little. But you can also treat yourself to a little break from the stressful everyday life in other ways:
- Listen to relaxing music (e.g. your favorite song)
- Candlelight and essential oils ensure a relaxed atmosphere
- read a book
- Draw or paint something or try your hand at crafts
- Bake something for you and your loved ones
- Play with your pet
- Do some yoga or meditate
- Treat yourself to a nice, hot drink like tea or hot chocolate
Tips for social media users to keep in touch with friends this way
It is only human to seek contact with other people. However, you do not have to use social media for this.
- Call your loved ones (also possible via video call)
- Invite someone to eat and/or drink
- Bake something for your neighbors – you can chat a little while handing it over
- Organize an activity with your friends, for example a weekend brunch, a hike or a shopping tour
- Volunteer, for example at the Tafel
- Take a class, for example at a local community college
- Become a member of a (sports) club
Tips for social media users who engage in conversation with it
Sure, a 30 second video can be quite entertaining. But life away from social media also offers enough entertainment.
- Visit a concert
- Learn a new instrument
- Attend a dance class
- take a hike
- Visit your local museum
- Try gardening or balcony work
- Listen to a podcast
- Watch a movie or a new series
- Have a game night with friends and family
Sources used: healthline.com, bitkom.org