In a world where everyone is pressured to go-go-go and to be ‘on’ at all moments of the day, we’re making an effort to slow down and get back to the basics. This month’s wellness blog is exploring what a digital detox is, why you should schedule one in, and how you can have a successful detox!
How many times do you reach for your phone to text a friend back but mindlessly go straight to Instagram? One hour later you come out of your trance and realize you still haven’t done what you meant to do. This is one example of why it might be time to consider a brief (or extended!) digital detox. Most of us spend 8+ hours a day looking at a screen for work, the last thing we need to do is tack on an extra hour or two of phone screen time.
What is a digital detox?
A digital detox is a period of time when you refrain from using your phone or computers outside of work duties. This is a practice that will help your mind, body and soul. Because you’re spending time doing other things that bring you happiness, like spending time with friends or doing the hobbies that bring you joy. If your work requires you to be on a computer there isn’t a way to get around that. However, a digital detox is still helpful if you refrain from looking at screens on your free time.
Boredom is a good thing.
One of the reasons why most people are addicted to their phone is because when we’re bored, it’s easy to pick up a phone and entertain ourselves. We have essentially forgotten what it’s like to be bored.
Being bored can lead to creative breakthroughs or lead to new possibilities. Being bored can help cultivate mindfulness(LINK). When you’re on your phone or watching TV you’re essentially in a hypnotic state which is why time flies during those activities. Being bored in turn causes us to be more aware of what’s happening to us in real time instead of thinking about something that’s going on months down the road.
Why you should do periodical digital detoxes
The main purpose for a digital detox is to relieve stress. Whether we realize it or not, we often times are comparing ourselves to other people we see on social media.
Constantly being on social media and watching TV has turned into a way for people to numb themselves in the same way people use alcohol, drugs, smoking, and stress eating. Anytime you’re using/doing something to forget about the stress in your life is an opportunity to really dig deep and figure out what it is you’re hiding from.
Regular digital detoxes could be a time where you go inward and hash out some of the negative thought patterns you’ve fallen into recently to get back on track. No expensive retreat needed!
Screen Time and Procrastination
Often times when we’re procrastinating it’s not because we’re lazy. It actually has a lot more to do with our anxiety and stress levels. Ever notice you procrastinate the things that are the MOST important? It could be because part of you is anxious about it. Procrastinating something we are anxious about gives us an endorphin hit. We put it off, we feel an instant sensation of relief even though we haven’t accomplished anything.
How to have a successful digital detox
Turn off your app notifications
The main goal of app developers is for their users to use their app as much as possible. Which is why apps send notifications. They want you to want to check the app. Luckily, you have the option to opt out of notifications!
You’ll be surprised at how less you look at your phone when you’re not getting notifications constantly. In your Settings you can pick and choose which apps send you notifications. In my case, I still receive notifications from my Calm app and Planoly. I use Calm for meditation and Planoly to post on Instagram for work.
Move the apps around on your phone
Our muscle memory will ruin your detox every time. Trick your mind and muscles by moving your apps around. If you have to stop and think for even a couple seconds, you might be reminded that you’re on a digital detox and will close your phone before you waste 30 minutes on Instagram
Delete the apps off your phone
While this seems like more of a hassle (remembering all my passwords? L O L) it could help if you really are having a hard time being mindful about not using your phone.
Tell your friends
If you have friends, family, significant other you live with tell them about your digital detox. Sometimes being reminded from friends and family is just what you need to
Activities to do besides being on your phone:
Daydream and journal. You never know what might come through.
Read a new book
Paint a picture or color
Deep clean your home. Organize and get rid of things that aren’t serving you)
Do yard work
Try a new restaurant/coffee shop
Go on a walk with a friend