The onset of digital life has opened up new doors on how we communicate, work, and relax. More often than not, we’re spending large chunks of our days online or using screens. When we return home at night, we embark on similar paths.
Why consider a digital detox? To start, spending too much time staring at screens can have direct, negative impacts on our physical and emotional health. And for the thousands of Americans who are using screens to complete work during, and well-beyond the traditional office hours, it’s no surprise that productivity levels decrease, stress levels rise, and moods turn sour.
Detoxes: More Common Than You Think
We embark on detoxes in many areas of our life. Perhaps we’ve eaten too many sugary sweets during the holidays and need a January cleanse. Maybe we’d like to limit the amount of martini’s we drink at night. Your next step? Restrict your consumption of post-work drinks for a month.
The truth is, no matter what we’d like to detox from, the important step is realizing the need for an intervention. And just like any of the vices listed above, taking a break from our digital lives can offer significant improvements on how we work, play, learn, and live.
Ready to get started?
Not sure where to start? Take a look at the following 6 tips to help you start and complete your very first digital detox.
- Take regular hikes
Do you need an activity to ease into your detox? Why not begin weekly hikes where you leave your laptop, phone, and even any fitness tracker behind. Taking small, frequent hikes can improve so much more than your day. You’ll leave the trail feeling energized and stress free. Channel this weightlessness into your workday and beyond.
- Travel without your phone
If your digital overdose is closely tied to the activities you perform at home and at work, why not remove yourself from the equation? Take a trip where you’re able to leave the brunt of your work and your life at home. For those who find it impossible to step completely away from their jobs, try and limit the work you do to a set hour each day. Then, for the rest of the trip, enjoy the time off.
- Say Yes to Yoga or Pilates
Choose an exercise routine that limits your use with technology. Yes, running or walking are great ways for you to stay in shape but it can be easy to reach for your headphones and iPod to blast music along your route. Yoga, on the other hand, mandates that you spend quality time with yourself. You’ll have your mat and maybe an instructor. But beyond that, you’re on your own to listen and quiet the inner voices you may hear.
- Sign up for a Camp
Summer camp is not just for the kids in your life. And for the true technologists out there, signing up for a dedicated program may be the best option for you. While there aren’t camps in every city or state, do your research to see if any strike your fancy. Much like the summer camp days of your youth, you’ll be focused on activities that aren’t in your day-to-day agenda. This can be a great alternative for those who find it impossible to leave their iPhone for even a few minutes.
- Eliminate the temptation
If you’re looking to detox at home but can’t force yourself to give up on the savvy tools you use frequently, put yourself on a time out. Just as a parent may take away a toy when their child exhibits bad behavior, consider this tactic for yourself. Hide your remotes or remove the batteries. Ask your partner to stash your chargers in a sneaky spot. Once your battery drains, you’ll be left with a useless tool.
- Start Small
With all detoxes, changing your life radically can feel like a difficult burden. Instead of pulling all of the plugs at once, remove small slices of your tech habits over time. This may mean leaving your phone downstairs at night. Or vowing to only check social media twice a day–once before and after work. This strategy may help more beneficial for you in the long run than delving into an intense week of no tech. Not only will you build sustainable practices into your day, but you’ll be more apt to find new ways to unplug in the process.
Completing any detox is extremely hard work. But with the right motivation, you’ll be able to step away from your technological screens and devices. Chances are, you’ll return with a refreshed attitude and a commitment to limit your use.