All day long, our smartphones, laptops and tablets are turned on. That means we’re tuned in – and stressed out. We’ll show what a digital detox is all about and how it can help you.
What do we do when we need to know something? We ask Google. Dinner with friends? iMessage and WhatsApp. When the bill comes? Venmo or PayPal. We stream music and films online and email our bosses from our phones in bed to tell them when we’re sick. And we’re on phones a good part of the day.
Meanwhile, being separated from our phones and social media can make us feel stressed and disconnected from other people or like we’re missing something crucial. However, a digital detox can actually reduce stress and provide respite from your burgeoning technology addiction. What is a digital detox? Let’s take a look.
Digital Detox: Put Your FOMO to the Test
There’s a term for why we check our phones so often: FOMO, the fear of missing out — the exact opposite of JOMO, the joy of missing out.
FOMO conditions us to react to every single ring, vibration or notification without hesitation. It’s also the reason we reach for our phones even before receiving any notifications. We’re constantly overstimulated by all our technology to offer. Considering the negative effects of social media, It’s no surprise we’re stressed all the time.
But there is a solution: Digital detoxing promises to cure you of your online hangover, decelerate your day and help you live in the present. It may sound like a healthy smoothie regimen, but if you’re looking for ways to avoid burnout, a digital detox may be just what you need.
Simple Steps for a Digital Detox
The digital age has given rise to “digital detox camps” — places to spend time offline. Ironically, you can also find various digital detox apps and browser plugins aimed at helping you reduce your screen time.
However, there are a few simple ways to do a digital detox without traveling or touching your phone or laptop at all. Spending an offline weekend doing something you enjoy can work wonders.
Here are some tips to help you start your digital detox regimen today.
Keep Your Bedroom Technology-Free
Watching Netflix or browsing on your laptop from bed can be a cozy way to end the day. But you can benefit way more from a full phone detox or internet detox in the bedroom. Designate your bedroom a technology-free zone. Studies show that looking at screens before going to bed can have a negative impact on your sleep quality and duration. Shut your devices down in time and grant yourself the good night’s sleep you deserve.
Utopia’s tip: Ways to Fall Asleep: Tips and Tricks
Use a Manual Alarm Clock
No, we don’t mean the app on your phone. Using an analog alarm clock decreases the chance your phone will end up back in your bedroom (the designated digital detox zone). Furthermore, a manual alarm clock ensures you won’t spend the first waking minutes of your day on your phone — one of the most common morning mistakes. Start your morning routine off on the right foot by missing the snooze button and learn how to get out of bed without your phone.
Check Your Email Once a Day
There’s a reason why we’re on our phones most of the day; being reachable at all times has its perks. However, at the same time, we often feel obligated to answer texts and emails immediately.
Instead of giving in to this unwritten agreement, limit your email checks to once or twice a day. Designate a time during the day to check emails, Facebook, Instagram and so on. If something important happens that absolutely requires your attention, your friends and family will call you.
Digital Detox: Turn your Phone Off
Nowadays, digital devices use up very little battery when set to Do Not Disturb. Instead of turning them off, we leave them on all day. That means always easily accessible.
But what is a digital detox, if not the perfect time to turn off your devices completely? The rule goes: Once your work on a device is done, shut it off. When you finish up on your laptop, shut it down. You’re done reading an article on your tablet? Turn it off until tomorrow.
That way, you’ll be better prepared to deny the urge to turn your device back on for no reason. Having to turn your phone or tablet on gives you time to rethink your decision and find something better to do. Knowing when to shut devices down is an essential part of a digital detox.
Read more: 5 Reasons Why You Should Turn Off Your Phone
Take Time for Yourself (and Your Devices)
Take care of all your online business at once and avoid constantly splitting your attention. Speed-swipe through Instagram updates, check those blue Facebook messenger dots and read or delete emails. If you think of things to Google, write them down and research them all at one time. You’ll spend less time in front of a screen and more time enjoying life offline.
Leave Your Phone at Home
Whenever you’re out with friends, spending time with the family or going jogging in the mornings, leave your phone at home. When it’s not in your pocket, it’s not there to cause a distraction. It will probably feel weird the first time, but you’ll get used to it. Just give it some time (and effort!)
Schedule Your Digital Detox Days
Designate a day of the week to make your “digital detox day.” Stay offline all day long, not just when you’re busy doing something else or away from home. Spend the day with friends, family or read that book you’ve been meaning to start. Why not spend your digital detox day outside? Go urban camping, get out of the city for wild camping, or stay close to home with slow jogging — without your phone.
If we’re being honest, we very rarely take the time to empty our minds and be present in the moment, and that neglect comes at a price. Our hectic running about all day can be incredibly stressful, and that stress has a negative impact on our health. Digital detoxing slows down our everyday lives and lets us live in the moment. In turn, this reduces stress and makes life simpler.
Mindfulness exercises offer a way to reduce the stress built up from the daily grind and help you live a more balanced, relaxed and healthy life. For more information about mindfulness and how to incorporate it into your daily life, check out our guides:
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Living in the Present
- 8 Yoga Alternatives for Mindful Exercise
- Guide to Mindful Walking Indoors & Outdoors
- 12 Different Types of Journals for Staying Mindful
- 30 Gratitude Journal Prompts for Mindful Happiness
Do you have like-minded friends who might also enjoy a digital detox? Set some simple ground rules for your next meet-up in the form of a digital detox evening. Have everybody turn their phones off and put them in a bag or bin. Whoever insists on taking their phone out first (to check Facebook, text their boyfriend, etc.) owes the rest of you drinks or dinner. If that’s too steep a price, bragging rights are satisfying, too!
This digital detox method adds a bit of fun and keeps everybody focused on what’s most important: spending time together in the present.
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