Embracing Digital Wellness During Winter Break 

Author: Mag Shou
Mag is a student employee with Technology Services and is a senior at Illinois majoring in Communications.

The approaching winter break
provides a golden opportunity for students to reflect on and enhance their digital habits. This break is a chance to really delve into how we interact with technology and its effects on our health, mood, and identity. With digital spaces integrating into much of our lives, completely disconnecting for a long period may be unrealistic or impractical. So instead of advocating for a complete digital disconnect, this time can be used to master a balanced approach, where technology use aligns with and enriches our daily lives.

Digital Wellness and its Impacts

Digital wellness emphasizes the beneficial use of technology while avoiding overwhelming experiences. Reid Health, a renowned healthcare community, recommends a moderate phone usage limit of 2-3 hours daily outside of work or study to maintain manageability. This is because excessive use can result in significant stress, primarily driven by the incessant urge to check emails, texts, and social media. 

In addition, Reid Health also mentioned that heavy daily technology use can have adverse effects on the mental health of adolescents. An increased amount of time spent on digital devices is linked to various issues, including insomnia and poor sleep, altered mental status, and physical health issues. 

Implementing Digital Detox During Winter Break

Winter break offers an opportune moment for a digital detox, which doesn’t entail a complete tech shutdown but rather involves setting limits to promote your mental and physical well-being. There are a few approaches to implementing digital detox.  

  1. Reduce Notifications: Limit distractions by turning off non-essential alerts.

  2. Schedule Digital Time: Designate a daily period for checking and responding to digital messages.

  3. Explore Detox Options
    • Try a fully digital fast for a day or more
    • Dedicate one day weekly as device-free
    • Focus on limiting use of specific apps or sites
    • Temporarily cut down on social media

  4. Support Your Detox:
    • Communicate your plans with friends and family 
    • Keep yourself occupied with other activities
    • Remove tempting apps from your phone
    • Get outdoors and engage in physical activitie
    • Journal your progress and thoughts

Though challenging, a digital detox during winter break can be a liberating experience. It may initially bring discomfort, but it ultimately leads to a better understanding of your relationship with technology, fostering a more mindful and present approach to life and studies.