Planning Your Digital Detox
Beep. Beep. Boop. In the last few minutes, how often has a notification popped up in your browser (it’s probably your boss — again) or your phone vibrated with an awkward emoji from your BFF?
This constant tethering to our electronic devices seems like the norm nowadays, but psychologists warn that all this digital connection is stressing us out, giving us anxiety, making us more depressed and ruining our health.
Maybe it’s time for a digital detox. Think of it like juicing and sipping detox tea, but for your gadget habits. You’ll feel less stressed, you’ll restore your health and happiness, and you’ll maybe finally figure out how to get your mom to stop forwarding you all those terrible cat memes.
Here are 5 tips to help you get started:
1. Make a List and Check It Twice
Make a list of all your digital devices. This includes obvious ones like your smartphone and your laptop, but also includes smart watches, smart TVs and anything else that connects you to the cloud. Most people are shocked when they realize just how wired they are!
2. Disable Pushes
How often do you glance down at your phone’s screen and see dozens of notifications, from text messages to Facebook alerts to that annoying new email icon. The average person checks their phone more than 200 times a day, often because their phone is constantly pushing alerts and information at them. Head to your phone’s settings and swipe off push notifications. This puts the power back in your hands: Instead of your phone telling you what to do, you get to set boundaries and decide when YOU want to check your phone.
3. Give Yourself a Digital Time Allowance
Choose set times that you check in. Perhaps you’ll set your alarm to check your gadgets once in the early morning, again at lunch and then again in the late afternoon. Make them reasonable.  For example, saying you’ll be offline for 24 hours might work on a Saturday, but it likely wouldn’t be feasible on a Wednesday workday.
4. Take Advantage of Your Disconnection
Fill the time that you’d normally spend scrolling through Instagram or browsing the news. Many people find that being less connected gives them more mental clarity, improves their creativity and ability to problem solve, and so much more. Take advantage of that and work on a project, journal, read a book, or do other fulfilling and productive activities. Once you see the benefits of being less tethered to the Internet, you will be more motivated to set clear, healthy boundaries with your gadgets.
5. Avoid Random Temptation
If you head to the bar or restaurant, it’s not uncommon to see a table of friends sitting together but no one talking to each other. Instead, they’re all on their phones. Limit temptation by simply avoiding the chance for it to arise! Play the table game where everyone has to put their phone face down in the middle of the table and the first person to reach for their phone has to buy everyone a snack or drink. Better yet, leave your phone in the car when you’re heading out, and keep it out of sight when you don’t truly need it.
Now that you know how to do a basic digital detox, start to plan your own. Just like with a juice cleanse, you’ll feel lighter and healthier. Don’t worry, we’ll still be here when you get back. ;P