With the influx of stress-inducing news articles circulating the world wide web, a digital detox can benefit your mental and physical health

Issues like insomnia, vision problems and eye strain have been linked to the overuse of technological devices. While the abundance of news articles regarding the global coronavirus pandemic and the political unrest at home and overseas can induce feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Speaking to Erin MacNeil, the Director of Wellness at Asaya Hong Kong, a digital detox is “really about creating boundaries and awareness with the devices and platforms we use every day”. Individuals use only 5% of our consciousness during a day, meaning that we unconsciously absorb 95% of what we’re exposed to (good or bad). For those who are more sensitive to negative information, this can take a real toll on your physical and mental health. 

See also: How To Cope With Stress And Anxiety During Covid-19 According To Hong Kong Mental Health Experts

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Above Asaya in Rosewood Hong Kong (Photo: Courtesy of Rosewood Hong Kong)

What are the health benefits of having a digital detox?

According to MacNeil, “depending on how often you use your devices or what you use them for will have a different impact on how you feel”.

It’s important to set boundaries with your devices, as it can give you a feeling of having more control over your life and provide a sense of freedom.

“Creating screen time limits can immediately improve sleep, increase energy, provide more cognitive presence, decrease feelings of anxiousness and of course give time for yourself and the ones you love” says MacNeil.

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Above Erin MacNeil is the Director of Wellness at Asaya (Photo: Courtesy of Rosewood Hong Kong)

What are some tips for those trying their first digital detox?

MacNeil’s two most important tips for your digital detox are to “set your Out of Office notifications – this advises your colleagues you are unavailable. The more you practice and hold these boundaries for yourself the more others will learn to follow them.”

“The second one is Unfollow! If what you are seeing on social media leaves you feeling upset, angry or questioning your worth, you need to unfollow those accounts and personalities. You have the power to decide what you see on your social feeds and empower yourself to only associate with what makes you feel good” says MacNeil.

See also: 10 Unexpected And Quirky News Stories Triggered By The Coronavirus


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Above Asaya in Rosewood Hong Kong (Photo: Courtesy of Rosewood Hong Kong)

What should people be aware or take note of when undergoing a digital detox? 

As a society, we have grown comfortable with filling time and space with our technological devices and it has gotten to a point where sitting by ourselves without a phone, TV or laptop can actually produce feelings of anxiousness and restlessness. But MacNeil recommends pushing pass this initial feeling and “give yourself the opportunity to sit through the discomfort, (to) feel it, observe it and let it go to make room for new habits and behaviours that help you become more aware and present in your one precious life.”

See also: Meditation Misconceptions: It's Not As Hard Or Boring As You Think

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