As a blogger and social media instructor, I find myself immersed in the digital world. While I try to separate my work life from my personal life, it’s darn near impossible – mostly because of my phone. I can always check something. But lately, I’ve been making a bigger effort to have a little less phone time. This isn’t a weekend in the woods with no reception, not to worry. It’s little things like scheduling the “Do Not Disturb” on my phone between 10pm and 7am to prevent any extraneous noise or interruption to my sleep (every night) and turning off notifications for my email and social media accounts, so that I make the conscious decision when to check it and not the other way around. So here’s a mini introduction on how to digital detox, since we could all use a few fewer moments attached to our phones…
What is a digital detox?
You may have heard of friends or family taking a virtual time out – logging off Facebook or Instagram, or (gasp!) tucking away all technology for an evening or weekend. In an ever-connected world, unplugging can be both terrifying and necessary.
There are no set rules for taking a digital detox, other than forgoing the use of your tech devices (and social media!) for a set amount of time.
What does a Digital Detox do for Me?
By putting down the screen, we’re better equipped to engage with the people and world around us. This might result in reduced stress and increased mood and mindfulness.
How To Digital Detox
A digital detox can take on many forms, and you can design one to best fit your given situation. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you may eliminate the use of devices several hours before going to bed (and perhaps invest in a pair of blue light blocking glasses).
A vacation or weekend away could provide the perfect opportunity to log out of your social media accounts and step away from your phone. You may also benefit from trashing old emails and saved voicemails (why do we do that?!), deleting phone contacts, and turning off app notifications. You may also choose to delete apps from your phone, mute your email, or disconnect from wifi during certain times of the day.
Be sure to take notice of how you spend that time previously allocated for scrolling through Instagram or shopping online. Are you able to read more? Did you get outside for a much needed walk? Consider logging these reflections in a journal (or on a simple sheet of paper… but not in your iPhone notes app, okay?)—keeping a gratitude journal can be tremendously beneficial in managing stress, maintaining a positive outlook, and staying present. Appreciating what you’ve gained in the exchange will make a digital detox that much easier and, perhaps, sustainable.
Design a digital detox that is both doable and beneficial—this can become a long-term habit, or a one-off experience. Just think of what you might see (and how your posture will improve!) when you’re not buried, neck craned, in your Twitter feed.