Anything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes– even you! In this digital age, burnout is inevitable. There are computers, smart phones, Instagram, tablets, email, so much technology it’s overwhelming. Are you exhausted by being “on” 24/7? Maybe it’s time for a digital detox.
First step: admit you have a problem. We are humans, we don’t like to show our faults (even though we all have them), but sometimes to get over a hurdle you have to accept there is one. If you’re even wondering whether or not you have a digital addiction, you probably do.
Now, here are some tips to help you survive a day without your iPhone (or, okay, at least a few hours!)
Choose a good detox time and put it on the calendar
It’s probably not smart to take a break from email when you’re in the middle of a huge project at work. Pick a time that is slow, like vacation time, and won’t interfere with your work. If you don’t have a vacation plan, weekends will work just fine. If you plan ahead for your detox, you have time to prepare and put your “affairs” in order.
Buy an alarm clock
Seriously. I use my phone to wake me up every morning, and it often leads to an hour in bed reading my Twitter feed. Having your phone on while you sleep can be distracting. I don’t know about you, but my New York friends love to text in the morning. But what is 8:00 a.m. for them, is 5 a.m. for me–prime sleeping time! With an alarm clock, you can turn your phone off at night while still having a reliable source for that morning wake up call.
Participate in social accountability
You can’t detox in secret. When you let people in on your plans to disconnect, you not only gain a support team, but you can also eliminate stress. If someone knows you are unplugged, they won’t be worried or upset if you don’t reply ASAP.
Tell people how to contact you
There’s no way around it: people are constantly in contact. You can email, text, Gchat, DM, and the list goes on. If you need to be reached when on your detox, pick a method and stick with it. If you choose email, be mindful of how many times you check your inbox (ideally: cut this down to two times per day). Your inbox is a place filled with other people’s requests of you, so if you’re looking for more white space, tell people to call you and cut down your email checking time. This is a time to slow down.
Set intentions for your day
Like I said before, I often spend my early hours on my phone. But what if I journaled instead? Write down your vision of the day and the goals you want to accomplish. Write down what you need to write down. You’ll feel less stressed and will have a clear vision of what is to come.
Try Doing One Thing at a Time
How often do we pick up food to go and eat at our desks? I do it all the time. Whether you’re working or surfing the web, eating in front of a computer is dangerous while detoxing. Try going out to lunch, either by yourself or with others. When you eat with co-workers, you’re able to connect, face-to-face, where you can’t with a screen.
Cut Out Romantic Meals With Your Phone
This is good practice for everyday life, not just during detox. I’m guilty of reaching into my purse and placing my phone on the table every time I go to a restaurant. It’s a bad habit I need to break. I know you don’t want to miss a thing, but with your phone by your side at all times, you actually miss what’s going on around you. And not to mention, being on your phone in the company of others is pretty rude.
Meditation and practicing mindfulness work in beautiful ways. You’ll be able to live in the moment and connect with your surroundings. Meditation is a peaceful time and should always be sans phone. If you like to listen to music or guided meditation, try a different source than your cellular device. That way you won’t hear the pings of incoming messages and emails.
Blow Your Own Damn Mind
When not occupied with social media, you will find time will open up. But what does one do without technology, though?! Try something new! If you always have wanted to knit, go for it during this time. Not only will it be a distraction, but it will also benefit your wellbeing and reduce stress. Oh, and no TV! Don’t forget TV is a screen, too.
Try a “light’s out” routine
In those late hours of the night, we often find comfort in our gadgets. We can read, we can play games, we can socialize on them. But the truth is screens are really bad for sleep and getting good sleep is one way to stay in good health.
Leave it at home
Too tempted by that iPhone? Easy solution: leave it at home. Not only will you not be tempted to check it every second, you also just won’t be able to. Does the idea of being unreachable scare you? Go back up a few steps and try to meditate. Release your stress.
Anxious about going analog? The withdrawal will pass. Keep your mind on your goal, and know that you will feel accomplished at the end. Relaxation will set in. When ready to retox, go slowly. Try keeping your phone on silent during the day or muting push notifications. Keep the habit of eating away from your computer and whenever you can, leave the phone at home. And when you get out of control again, know that you can always re-cleanse, and relish in the fact that you now know you can.
Do you need a digital detox? Already taken one? What helped you survive?