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Digital detox: going offline

Can you remember the last time you switched off your mobile for a day? We're always checking our email, WhatsApp messages and Facebook posts, or surfing the internet. All that can be a real strain in the long run. We're going to show you how to do without.

For many people, the first thing they look at in the morning, and the last thing they look at at night, is their mobile phone. A train journey without a smartphone is barely imaginable. They'll even get it out several times during a meal to make sure they've not missed anything important, and keep it in constant reach so they're available any time, any place.

It's time for all that to stop. The digital detox movement, originating in the United States, encourages people to go offline to rid themselves of digital "toxins".

Offline at weekends and on your holidays
The best time to do without your mobile is at the weekend or on vacation. To make sure you don't annoy your friends and family you should warn them in advance that you'll be abstaining from digital. Leave an email absence message, change your status on social media, or leave a message on your answering machine. If you want to ensure you won't yield to the temptation of using your smartphone during your holidays, there are now even companies offering special digital detox vacations.

Change your habits
But reducing your smartphone use to a reasonable level doesn't always have to mean total abstinence. Like a diet, it can also lead to a yo-yo effect. What's more important is changing your everyday habits.

  • For example switch your phone to flight mode 90 minutes before you go to bed. You'll still have access to useful functions like the clock and the light, but you won't be disturbed by calls or messages.
  • In your free time go to the theatre or cinema, or attend a talk or lecture – all occasions where mobile phones aren't welcome.
  • Do sport and leave your phone in your locker.
  • View your emails the same way you collect physical mail: you don't go and check what's in your letterbox at home every two minutes, do you?
  • Take another tack and use one of the many apps designed to help you keep tabs on your mobile use.

If you have any further questions about your health, you can ask the doctors and medical staff at the sante24 health advice helpline for expert advice – free of charge, 24 hours a day. On request, sante24 can also make a doctor’s appointment for you. Tel. +41 (0)44 404 86 86