Your Digital Detox Prescription
April 16, 2016
Listen, I think technology is absolutely phenomenal. I honestly can’t imagine my life without it. And I am old enough to remember when email didn’t exist, when I had to go to the actual library to do a book report for school, and only rich people had cell phones.
I also know that technology has a dark side. The constant beeping and notifications that pop-up can put us into constant fight-or-flight mode. This increases our cortisol, the stress hormone, which makes us gain weight around our middle and feel irritated at the slightest inconvenience.
Today, the average American spends more than half of their waking life staring at a screen. MORE THAN HALF. This can negatively impact our relationships with our family, partners, and even ourselves. Our culture has become one big FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) that can create a sense of anxiety that we must constantly be plugged in.
During the last year, I have tried to take a 24-hour digital detox at least 1-2 times a month. After each period, I always feel more energized and renewed. My favorite day to do this is Sunday and I completely unplug. I mean no TV, no phone, no iPad, nothing, nada, zilch. The struggle can be harder for some than others.
I found it easier to be successful when I followed these 12 steps.
Choose a day that works for you. Weekends are usually the best.
Choose a time. If you can’t do 24 hours, pick a specific period like 12-4 PM.
Let your people know so they don’t freak out. Set an email “out-of-office” autoresponder if needed.
If you plan to travel during your digital detox time, plan ahead. Print out any maps, instructions, or recipes you might need.
Before you go to sleep the night before turn off all your digital devices. Put them in a drawer or high place where it will inconvenient for you to cheat.
Set a goal or intention of what you would like to gain from your digital detox. This will help keep you focused because it can feel very unnatural the first few times.
In the morning, go to the local store and grab a newspaper to read along with your morning coffee.
Get out into nature after breakfast. When is the last time you took a walk without your phone? Go alone and appreciate the beauty of nature. Or take a friend to keep you company and reconnect with them without all the usual distractions.
Make a nourishing meal. I have an old school record player that I only play during my digital detox days. Previously it would simply collect dust b/c my natural instinct would be to turn on my favorite Spotify playlist.
Enjoy your meal without watching TV or checking your email. If you are alone, just let your mind wander and really take the chance to taste your food. Maybe even have a small notebook or journal to jot down any brilliant ideas that come to you.
Spend the time you would normally watch TV to relax to read that book or magazine you have been “too busy” to finish.
Commit to the entire time period you set for yourself. I know it’s tempting to want to post the amazing thing that just happened on social media. You can do it later.
Did you do it? Was it hard or easy?
Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!