How to Do a Digital Detox
It’s probably safe to say that “detox” is kind of a buzz word these days, but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective. There are all kinds of detoxes and cleanses out there of the dietary variety that are meant to help us feel our best. But right now I want to talk about a type of detox that is entirely within our grasp, because it’s technological, and has to do with our digital devices that we use on the reg every single day.
Could you go a whole day without being plugged in? Checking your phone? Emails? Computer work?
That is the question… *Insert Shakespeare’s Hamlet skull dramatization here…
The Importance of Unplugging Every Now and Then
There’s no question that technology has brought so much of a positive impact to our lives and continues to hold that potential constantly. As we evolve and change, so does our technology. We are more able to connect with others around the world than ever before. People are making best friends with those in completely different countries. We have the capability to express ourselves and understand each other better than ever. It’s a gift, truly it is. But just like any good thing, too much of it can be harmful.
Here’s How You’ll Know if a Digital Detox is Right for You
When your day is impacted by the amount of likes you get (or don’t get) on Instagram.
When you lose track of time endlessly scrolling through Facebook (and feel worse about yourself afterward.)
You’re addicted to checking your site or social media analytics.
The first thing you do (even before you get out of bed!) is check your phone.
If you’re a digital entrepreneur, and you’re dreading work, it’s time for a break.
If you’re unable to pull yourself away from the monitors, screens, or tablets long enough for basic self care like exercise, water, social interactions, and sunlight.
If your emotions have taken a nosedive, our knee-jerk reaction is to escape to social media, but that’s a recipe for disaster. When you’re feeling crappy, get off social media.
I Know, I Know… Easier Said Than Done
I can hear the groans of “Ok, ok, I’ve heard all this before, I get it…blah, blah, blah…” And yes, this is all easier said than done. Especially for those of you who work online. But I’d like to pose this question, and this is something I’m currently working on myself so believe me, I’m in your boat! A lot of times we jump online for harmless reasons. Connecting with friends and relatives. Watching a tutorial. Learning new things. Working for the end result of financial freedom. Building businesses.
But also, if we get caught for hours in this space and can’t pause long enough to reap the benefits of feeling peace and freedom right now, then the cost that we are paying for constant digital connection is far outweighing the benefit.
Case in point: balance is important.
The Benefits of a Digital Detox
So, I’m not really interested in buzzwords or just writing this article just for the sake of “oh, that’s interesting,” and that’s it. I’m more interested in the actual effectiveness.
So, the questions for a digital detox is: can we detach from our digital vices, and also come back into it better than before?
Doing a Digital Detox Can Often:
Change the way we interact with others on social media
Allow us to build our self-esteem on our own instead of asking social media to validate it for us.
Change the things we search for or the videos we watch.
Allow us to grow at our own pace and slow down.
Allow us to realize the things that are truly important to us.
Allow us the space for self-care and caring for others.
Here’s How to Do a Digital Detox
Gotta love action steps, amirite? Well, here are the sure-fire actions steps you can take to ensure that you experience a blissful time of digital detachment. The goal is that the positive feelings you experience while doing this exercise will carry over to when it’s time to pick up that phone again.
Digital Detox Tips & Strategies
Set a date and plan a span of time. This could be for 1 day, or maybe a week, but just pick a date and time that will work for you and your schedule. And choose a date and span of time you can accomplish, so you don’t feel frustrated with yourself if you “fail” (there’s no failure, guys!)
Set the ground rules. Often, we still need to text or call to communicate. So maybe you set your parameters for your detox to be just no social media for this span of time, but necessary texting is okay, such as texting your spouse or the babysitter. Set your rules so that it works for you.
Plan ahead and tell others what you’re doing. If you work online, or people are used to being able to reach you 24/7, plan ahead. Let them know that on such and such dates, you will be unavailable. Set an outgoing message in your inbox. Create automated FB messenger replies. Put up a shop notice on Etsy. Have an assistant monitor your calls. Do what you need to do so that on your days of digital detachment, you will have guilt-free peace and quiet.
Brainstorm ideas on what to do instead. Yay, this is the fun part! Maybe you want to hit the gym you’ve been dying to try, or the salon, or the mountain biking trail. Go shopping. Take a luxurious bubble bath. Experiment with a new dinner recipe. Read that book you’ve been putting off. Paint something. Do work with your hands. Journal. Take your daughter to the zoo. Have a plan on what to do in this span of time, and make it fun
The Goal is To Feel Better
The entire goal of this exercise is to feel better. Sometimes our attachment to digital devices seems necessary or needed until we take the time off to not need it anymore. For many of us, it simply feels better to just get off Facebook for a little bit. To not be inundated with emails for just one day. To not be so connected and available 24/7. And to take the time off to spend with your family, friends, and pets.
I think it’s all about self-reflection and making sure that you feel balanced and refreshed inside and out. Because when we feel balanced, healthy, and really, really good inside, it affects everything in our lives. Our ideas become better, our relationships blossom, and our emotions are more level. Everything gets better!
So three cheers for digital detoxing and coming back stronger and better than ever!