In the digital age, we are always plugged in. Smartphones, emails, TV, Alexas…these devices offer us the world, enhancing communication, efficiency, and ease. However, the digital age comes with its drawbacks. Too much technology is closely linked to depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. Being glued to screens means you’re less likely to exercise, connect face-to-face, and spend time outdoors.
The digital detox is an increasingly popular way to negate these effects. A digital detox is a period of time where one either refrains or reduces their exposure to electronic devices, including smartphones, TVs, video games, etc.
A digital detox is a great way to reconnect with yourself and maintain a truly balanced lifestyle. Here are several ways to unplug and begin a digital detox.
Turn off Push Notifications
Push notifications are little reminders that ping throughout the day that your device exists and that it needs attention. More often than not, the notification isn’t truly urgent! So the first step to reducing your screen time is to turn off push notifications.
Although picking up the phone definitely becomes habitual, the fewer notifications you receive, the less likely you are to pick up your phone. This goes for all devices: computers, iPads, and more. The fewer push notifications you have, the less reason you have to draw attention to and open your devices.
Go Black and White
If you have an iPhone, change the settings to black and white! Part of what makes your smartphones so alluring is the bright colors. Let this sudden change of settings also serve as a reminder that you are detoxing! Every time you see the black and white, ask yourself: why am I picking up my phone? Is it serving me or is it mindless?
One great reason to try the black and white setting is that you won’t check social media as much. Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok all lose their appeal when they’re not in color — and reducing social media’s appeal is half the battle of a digital detox.
Put Away Phone During Meals
It’s very easy to be attached to our phones; they follow us everywhere One way to lessen the time we spend with our phones is to simply not allow them at mealtimes. That’s three times a day for at least 20 minutes you are phone free.
Whether this allows you to truly connect with your family or roommates at dinner, have thoughtful discussions with coworkers at lunch, or spend time in your own thoughts for breakfast, putting away your phone during meals encourages connections and conversation — with self and others.
Create No Phone Zones
One great way to digital detox is to create phone-free zones. Whether that’s your bedroom, your kitchen, or your garden, find spaces that you can function in fully and freely without your digital devices.
The bedroom is a particularly effective place to ban your phone from. Although you may need to purchase an ‘old-fashioned’ alarm clock, making your room a device-free zone will ensure you sleep better, harder, and longer. It will help you truly rest and help eliminate the perceived need to be attached to your phone at all times.
Limit Yourself to One Screen at a Time
According to psychologic research, there is no such thing as multitasking effectively. Your brain cannot focus on two things at once. If you’re choosing to play TV in the background while reading, your brain will inevitably choose one or the other, switching between the two things rather than multitasking. Each time your brain has to switch tasks, it takes time and energy to recalibrate — you cannot simply drop back into the task.
One of the core drawbacks to using multiple devices at one time is that you are less efficient, less focused, and less productive. So, on your digital detox, strictly limit yourself to one device at a time! If you’re using your computer for work, don’t have the TV on in the background. If you’re face-timing your family, do so without working on your computer. This will give you the opportunity to truly hone in on your task — whatever it is.
Find an Accountability Partner
Lastly, as with all detoxes, your digital detox will work best if you find yourself a partner to hold yourself accountable. Encourage a friend to detox with you or tell your partner your goals. Then, ask said partner to check in with you at least once daily about your goals. They can help hold you responsible in a friendly way and support you when it gets tough.
Put a Puzzle Together
Start a puzzle, keep your mind occupied on something else. They can be a fun family distraction away from all things digital.
Plant a Garden of Fresh Herbs
Gardening is a good way to step away from the digital world. It gets you outside, on your porch, patio or balcony. Breathing fresh air and being a part of growing something good. To start gardening you can simply pick a garden kit and start growing!
Digital detox is about disconnecting from our devices so we can reconnect with life. Through disconnecting from screens even a little, you can pave the way to a happier, healthier, and more engaged.