group of people all on electronic devices asking do you need a digital detox?

Do you need a digital detox?

If you’ve ever felt that you lose hours of your day to social media, then maybe it’s time to think about trying a digital detox. Or at least adopt some new habits around usage.

We all know that social media can impact your mental health. Yet so few of us have managed to find a balanced way to reap the benefits while ignoring the consequences. Mindlessly scrolling through news feeds while ignoring loved ones or allowing people’s perfectly curated feeds to question your own decisions is not a healthy way of engaging with social media. For Lee Havern, it reached a point where he felt like a robot. He was mindless posting and scrolling so as not to be left behind. Until one day, he had enough, and decided to go on a complete digital detox. Now, while deleting profiles and turning off notifications may not be an option for some of us, many of Lee’s discoveries are helpful in finding a new and healthier way to engage with social media.

Lee says: “I was spending a lot of time flicking between apps, checking news feeds, checking emails and basically getting lost in my phone. I had had enough. I felt like I was turning into a robot. This behavior was seriously affecting my mood, my focus, my time with friends and my attention span. So, I decided to de-clutter and took it one step at a time. Some people find a perfect balance with social media use, however, talking to a lot of people it would seem they feel the same way I did. They just think they’ll miss out if they remove social media from their lives. I have to say that it is one of the best things that I ever did. I am a lot more productive and feel a lot calmer.”

Rearrange your home screen

I moved all my social media apps to the last page on my phone. This meant they weren’t automatically the first apps I saw when I opened my phone.

Banish notifications

I turned off all notifications, except for phone calls and text messages. This meant I had to physically go in to each app to see what notifications I had. Also, if something was urgent then people would have to call or text.

Limit emails

I deleted the email app. Emails were constantly coming through, so I made the decision to only access my email while in front of a computer.

Delete your favourite

I deleted the Facebook app, which for me was the biggest step. Facebook was the app I used most, I checked it constantly, so much so that sometimes I didn’t even hear when people were talking to me. So it was goodbye to the Facebook app. Two years later I still haven’t seen a news feed. I did however keep the Facebook Pages app as I still needed to be able to post on my business page.

Be realistic

I deleted Instagram completely. I had reached a point where I felt like I had to constantly post just to stay in the loop. And I didn’t need it.

Quality over quantity

I started to unfollow people on Twitter who didn’t add value to my life. At that stage I was following 2.5k people and was constantly annoyed at what I was seeing. Now I follow 100 people, meaning everything I see has value.


Lee Havern is co-founder of Platinum Training Institute, a health and fitness education company offering qualifications from Queen’s University. He is also founder of Fit Mind Matters, a mental health and wellbeing blog and podcast. For more information visit fitmindmatters.com