Should I try a digital detox?

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Nearly one in three of us take a break from our devices each day, while a quarter of us ensure we have a social media detox on a weekly basis. But how effective are social media detoxes, and do we really need them?

Should I try a digital detox?

When was the last time you disconnected? We’re spending more and more of our time online, whether that’s browsing social media to catch up with friends, following our favourite influencers, or catching up on the latest shows being streamed. Many of us get our entertainment, news, and updates from those we love, all through a device. It’s no wonder that one 2021 survey revealed almost a third of us (31%) feel like we are ‘almost constantly’ online – and a whopping two-thirds of us (64%) feel that social media is having a mostly negative effect.  

Could taking a break from social media and having a digital detox be the answer we’ve been looking for? Or are there any pitfalls to switching off and disconnecting from our digital lives?

What is a digital detox?

From digital detox retreats to phone-silencing pouches, some of us are even switching off our smartwatches and fitness trackers to go back to analogue solutions to help us decrease our time spent online.

A ‘digital detox’ refers to taking a break from your devices for a set period of time. This could mean not using your smartphone, computer, laptop, tablet, or other smart devices to access social media. Taking a digital detox doesn’t just mean turning off TikTok or switching off Snapchat; it also can include decreasing how often you check your emails, play video games, send texts or other messages, and even catch up on the news using your devices.

As of January 2023, globally, we spend an average of 2 hours and 31 minutes using social media each day - around five times the recommended 30 minutes per day maximum that some researchers suggest could lead to significant improvements in our wellbeing.

What are the benefits of having a digital detox?

The benefits of taking a break from tech can vary from person to person depending on how much time you’re already spending on there, how you’re interacting with it, and how it makes you feel. Overall, decreasing your social media use can help you not only get more time back in your day but can help to decrease your likelihood of other negative experiences including:

  • encountering cyberbullying
  • experiencing fear of missing out (FOMO)
  • feelings of isolation, anger, or upset
  • comparing yourself to others

A growing body of research suggests that internet addiction may be a real worry - including

10 rejuvenating things to try in February to benefit your wellbeing

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From a podcast that will get you stomping outdoors to a photography technique that will light up the sky, try something new with our enriching suggestions

1. Page-turners

10 rejuvenating things to try in February to benefit your wellbeing

Letter To My Younger Self: The Big Issue Presents... 100 Inspiring People on the Moments That Shaped Their Lives by Jane Graham and The Big Issue

What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self? Interviewer Jane Graham conversed with well-known figures, from Paul McCartney to Olivia Colman, to ask them exactly that. The result? Letter To My Younger Self – a collection of reflections and words of wisdom for when you need it most.

(Out now, £9.99)

2. Out and about

Paint a light picture

Try your hand at long-exposure photography, and be mesmerised by the illuminated masterpiece that is captured through light painting. Simply place your camera on a tripod, set your camera to a long shutter speed, and use your torch to paint the sky with light. What are you waiting for? Grab your camera and watch the magic unfold.

10 rejuvenating things to try in February to benefit your wellbeing

(Visit canon-europe.com to find out more)

3. Act of kindness

Volunteer at a Repair Cafe

Are you skilful at sewing, or handy at mending things, and want to put your skills to good use? Volunteer for a local repair cafe to help fix everyday items, such as electricals, bikes, clothes, furniture, and more. You’ll be helping people save money during a time of economic uncertainty and, in turn, contributing towards protecting the planet.

(Visit repaircafe.org to find out more information)

4. Lend us your ears

‘Stompcast with Dr Alex’

Go on a stomping journey with Dr Alex, as he takes you on a wander through the great outdoors and into the lives of each of his podcast guests. In each episode, Dr Alex meets a renowned podcast guest in an outdoor location of their choice and embarks on a walk, all while engaging in thought-provoking conversations about wellbeing and mental health.

(Available on all podcast platforms)

5. Plugged-In

Tamara Michael

Do you ever just feel instantly soothed from a racing mind after doodling? From a scribble to help you to self-regulate, to one designed to provide relief from phone anxiety, artist Tamara Michael has a doodling tutorial for every occasion. There’s a reason art therapy is so popular, so grab your pen and put it to the test.

(Follow @tamaramichael_)


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Do I need a problem to start therapy?

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We’ve all heard of the benefits of therapy. But do you need to wait for a big, specific problem to start working with a therapist? We answer your most asked questions about therapy, why people work with a counsellor, and what you should know before starting therapy

Do I need a problem to start therapy?

Therapy. Our perception of what therapy is – and who it’s for – has changed drastically over the years. According to the Mental Health Foundation, around one in eight adults (12.1%) in the UK receives some kind of mental health treatment – just 3% of which is some form of psychological therapy. In the US, one in five adults (21.6%) are seeking out treatment for mental health issues. Yet many of us don’t realise that talking therapy isn’t just for when you are experiencing ill mental health.

Talk therapies can be helpful for anyone who is experiencing a tough time or who has emotional problems. Therapy can help you to reach specific goals in your life, reflect on your past, and to better understand who you are, what you want, and where you want to go. But you don’t need to have a specific problem, diagnosis, or even be struggling in order to see real benefits from working with a counsellor, therapist, psychotherapist, or psychologist.

Here, we answer some of your top questions on therapy and how working with a therapist can help you (even when you don’t have a specific problem).

Do you need problems to go to therapy?

You don’t have to have a specific problem, issue, or diagnosable mental health problem to go to (or benefit from) therapy. While many of us will wait until a major life crisis hits or we feel like we are struggling before we seek help, it is never too early to speak with someone.

You can work with a mental health professional like a counsellor or therapist to talk in general. Many people find that this can help them to sort out their feelings, release pent-up emotions, or even to discover underlying issues that they didn’t know were weighing in on their minds or actions. Speaking with a therapist can feel freeing, as you can talk about issues, events, experiences, or thoughts you haven’t felt able to share with anyone before.

We asked people what they think counselling is and why people seek therapy

Can happy people go to therapy?

It’s important to note that not only unhappy people seek therapy. Many people who would classify themselves as ha

7 budget-friendly eco swaps (that could even save you money!)

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If money is on your mind, but you still want to do your bit to help the planet, you might wonder what you can realistically afford to do. The good news is that there are plenty of green choices that don’t break the bank, and some that could actually save you money in the long run

7 budget-friendly eco swaps (that could even save you money!)

When it comes to sustainable living, it’s important to try to use whatever you have first. Reuse, repurpose, and repair wherever possible. But, when you do need to eventually replace something, the following eco-friendly swaps are not only better for the environment, some could also save you money over time!

So, what are you waiting for? Visit our sustainable swap shop…

Meat-free Mondays

Did you know that going veggie for one day a week could save the equivalent of 100kgs of CO2 each year? In fact, according to the Exeter City Council website, if you decided to do a meat-free week each month, that could save 153kgs of CO2 per year, and going vegan for a week each month would add up to around 230kgs of CO2 saved!

While supermarket prices vary, plant-based produce is typically cheaper than meat, with meatfreemondays.com suggesting that vegans can actually save about $1,280 a year on their food bills. Research also suggests that since plant-based foods are typically lower in saturated fats, this move could improve your heart health, even without full-time vegetarianism.

7 budget-friendly eco swaps (that could even save you money!)

Bamboo toothbrushes

Traditional plastic toothbrushes aren’t recyclable, which can result in as many as 23 billion toothbrushes going to landfill each year – with each one taking up to 1,000 years to decompose. As an alternative, bamboo toothbrushes have seen a starp rise in popularity, due to the handles being 100% biodegradable (typically taking around six months in compost), and created from sustainable materials. However, this comes with one strong caveat: check the bristle material. These are often made of nylon, which isn’t biodegradable and would need to be removed from the handle before composting.

From a cost perspective, this swap won’t necessarily save money, but prices are comparable to plastic options (lots of great products start at around £2.50), which means that doing your bit for the planet won’t take a hit on your wallet.

Reusable rags

From mopping up spills to drying your hands, many of us turn to paper towels without even thinking about the waste, or cost, involved. But the reality is that to make one ton of paper towels requires 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water. And, with people in the UK paying anywhere from £1–£3 per 100 sheets of kitchen roll, it adds up.

A simple, eco and cost-friendly solution? Choose reusable rags instead. These could be made from old clothes that no longer fit for a cost-free repurpose. Or you could purchase absorbent, long-lasting cloths, such as the Jangneus Design Cloths which are 100% biodegradable (£9.95 for a pack of four).

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6 ways to exercise and create a sustainable routine

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6 ways to exercise and create a sustainable routine

Whether you’re looking to refocus on your exercise routine to help reach a specific goal, or are hoping to start living a healthier lifestyle, finding ways to exercise in your already busy schedule can be tough. Not to mention ensuring you’re in the right place mentally to move past the initial excitement and create a sustainable routine that works for you.

It can be easy to fall into the ‘New Year, new you’ mentality. As a new year approaches, setting resolutions can feel uplifting, encouraging, and like a big motivator. What better way to start the year, than with a big change? But the thing is, this all-or-nothing mentality can be more harmful than good.

According to research, just 16% of us stick to our New Year’s resolutions. Experts believe that this is often due to us focusing on a specific outcome – “I’ll reach X weight next year!” or “I want to be a size X by this time next year!” This can result in us treating our goal as a sprint rather than a marathon, meaning we ignore or underestimate the time, effort, willpower, and continued effort we need to put in to turn our end goals into an attainable, achievable, sustainable process.

Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist and Hypnotherapy Directory member, Morag Stevenson, explains more.

“A resolution is a new habit that we want to create. To make your resolution stick, you need to understand how to shift a new habit from a wishy-washy thing that might or might not happen to a firmly rooted routine in your life. What could make the difference? What could help you not only start a new habit but stick to it? Be precise, be clear, and be realistic.”

So before you get started on your journey to exercising more, it’s worth asking yourself: Why do I want to do this? What do I hope to achieve? And how am I going to measure my success? Having smaller, attainable milestones towards a larger goal can be a big help in keeping motivation high.

Why is exercising important?

Exercise is essential at every stage of our lives. Regular physical activity can improve your physical and mental health, reduce your risk of developing serious health conditions, help you to manage, maintain, or gain weight, as well as strengthening your bones and muscles. Exercising can lower your risk of early death by up to 30% according to the NHS. And best of all? It doesn’t have to cost a thing.

Regular exercise provides a huge range of benefits. From boosting your self-esteem, mood, overall energy levels, and quality of sleep, to reducing your risk of stress, clinical depression, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and dementia – exercise can feel intimidating, but the benefits are substantial.

It’s recommended that adults try to do something active every day. Over the course of

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