While technology is awesome for so many things, from connecting with others and creating community, to learning new things, to providing a sometimes much-needed distraction, spending too much time on your phone or computer can lead to muscle pain in your neck, shoulders, and back, increased anxiety and feelings of isolation, headaches, trouble sleeping, and difficulty with remaining focused. If you're starting to feel like you're always attached to your phone, feeling like you're not truly present in offline life, or find that social media is leading to feelings of comparison that are making your feeling less-than-great about yourself rather than supporting you, it might be time to think about taking some time to intentionally unplug. Here are some tips to help you do a digital detox in a way that is manageable and sustainable, to help you get back into balance with your use of technology.
Commit to Going Offline
Like with any major change, it's important to get committed and remember your why, so that you have something to focus on when you're itching to scroll through Instagram. Having a goal and a time frame in mind will give you something to stick to. Keep it a manageable and accessible goal, knowing that you don't have to go all in right away. Maybe you make it a goal to keep your phone out of the bedroom, commit to having only one screen on at a time, or take a break from a certain social media platform. Uninstalling apps that you no longer plan to use, or using apps that block certain applications and the internet such as Cold Turkey and Freedom can help.
If you've every tracked the time you've spend on all the different websites on your computer or all the apps on your phone, you'll quickly discover how fast your screen time use can add up. Rather than trying to stay away from the screen, focus on what you can add in instead. This is the perfect time for trying out a new hobby, or take things old-school and get your entertainment from reading a hard copy book, or opting to read the newspaper to get the news.
Introduce Alternate Ways of Contact
Texting, e-mailing, and DMing are crazy convenient, but they can make us forget other forms of communication. Prioritize spending time with friends in person or catching up on the phone during this time of digital detox, and make sure that you turn off notifications on your smartphone so you aren't feeling like you constantly need to check in to see what's happening. This can also be a great time to send a nice handwritten note to a loved one.
Go Back to Paper
Sure, technology can make things like brainstorming and writing quicker, but there really isn't anything that compares to putting pen to paper. You may find that writing and doodling in this way helps your creativity to flow more easily, so this might work really when you're going through a creative period at work, or when you're trying to allow your mind to wander and contemplate all those big dreams you might have. Shifting back to paper also gives you extra time away from blue light and sitting at a screen, which may help with headaches, trouble sleeping, and neck and shoulder stiffness.
Cleanse Apps & Social Media Accounts
Digital detoxing doesn't even have to be about committing to spending less time offline, but you can make a commitment to using your screen time more mindfully. Take a moment to look through all the apps on your phone, getting rid of those that you don't use anymore, or that you don't feel bring you peace of mind or enjoyment anymore. If you'd like, you can even try uninstalling all the apps on your phone for a week, and only reinstall the ones that you truly found yourself missing. You can also take the time to go through the social media accounts that you follow, unfollowing those accounts that you find drag you down or that leave you into a comparison trap, so you can leave more space for accounts and friends that leave you feeling uplifted, informed, or entertained.