Digital detox seems like a scary thing to do, even if you know you’ll benefit from the effort.
Of course smartphones allow for a multitude of intelligent actions any time, day or night. But if you check your phone nonstop for no reason or the same reasons (social media, email..), then face it, you could be addicted.
And you’re not alone. In this hyper-connected age, most of us are addicted to our phones to some degree.
When this addiction is taken to the extreme, it has another name: Nomophobia.
According to certain studies: “The term NOMOPHOBIA or NO MObile PHone PhoBIA is used to describe a psychological condition when people have a fear of being detached from mobile phone connectivity. “
You can digital detox yourself from all screens: phones, laptops, tv, computer, video games, etc… But for the sake of simplicity, I’ll focus on the phone – it’s hard enough as it is, right?
DO YOU REALLY NEED TO DO A DIGITAL DETOX?
Just in case you’re trying to wiggle your way out of what’s good for you, check below for signs that a digital detox could do you good.
Signs you need to let go of your screen for a bit
- Do you go to the washroom with your phone?
- Do you pick up your phone to look something up and find you get lost in the email or social media maze?
- When watching tv do you go for your phone during ads? Or worse, glance at your phone during the movie?
- Do you wake up and check your phone before starting your morning routine?
- Do you take your phone to bed and scroll even in the dark?
- Is your sleep affected by using your phone or laptop before sleep time?
- If you forget your phone at home, do you make a u-turn and go back to get it?
- Are you often comparing yourself to others when scrolling your feed?
- During work or study time, do you lack concentration because you’re looking at your computer or phone?
- Do you start feeling stressed when you can’t find your phone?
- If you can’t think of anything to do, do you pick up your laptop or phone?
- How often do you lose track of time because you’re distracted on your laptop or phone?
- Is your house a mess, but you always know where your phone is?
I could keep going. But you get the idea.
If you’ve answered honestly, then you’ve answered yes to several of these questions.
In which case, you’re in the right place.
Help Yourself to These Journal Prompts.
DO’S AND DON’TS DIGITAL DETOX ACTIONS
But I …
This is the part where we all come up with a good reason why…
I work on my laptop/phone. I need to know where my kids are. I worry about my parents. I need to research. I work online. I’m waiting for an important message.
And so on and so one and so one…
So let’s be clear from the start. A digital detox doesn’t have to be a radical no-screen forever-type situation.
Many of us need our phones for important reasons, but it becomes a problem when we get sidetracked and pulled into mindless pages, feeds, and so on.
When you learn to restrict your screen use you get personal freedom and peace of mind. We’ll talk more about that below.
Do spend a little time decluttering your phone before the digital detox.
If you don’t use it, don’t keep it. That includes apps, unsubscribe from newsletters, delete the long list of saved items you don’t even remember you saved.
You get the idea. Make your phone work for you. Not the other way around.
Do start your digital detox on a weekend or a day off. You may feel a little nervous, but it gets better once you decide and prepare yourself for change.
Do plan what time you can pick up your phone, for example from 12 to 1230 or 2 pm to 2.30 pm. When you set time limits, it’s easier to go without.
Don’t decide to hide your phone and have zero access to it completely. The point is to restrict your phone use. Not deprive yourself.
Don’t take your phone or other screens in your bedroom. Instead, turn it off an hour or half-hour before sleep and use that time to relax doing something you enjoy.
Do forget about morning scrolling. When you wake up, do your morning routine before even thinking of turning on your phone. Mornings are smoother without phones for everyone.
Do turn off those rings, bings, dings, bells, and sounds that notify you when something happens with Facebook, email, and so on. Come on. You don’t need those. The world is not ending anytime soon, so don’t get distracted from what you need – or want to do.
Don’t bring your phone during meals! Obviously, phone-free meals, especially when you’re sharing them with other humans!
Need I say more?
5 FREE and HEALTHY BENEFITS
1. YOUR STRESS LEVELS GO DOWN.
By constantly picking up your phone to check irrelevant things, you’re training your brain that it’s a priority to do this.
When in fact, you’re doing it out of fear of missing out. FOMO is a real thing, and you reinforce it each time you check your feed, your email, videos, or any social media – and you keep repeating the same patterns.
What happens next? Your stress levels go up.
Put your phone down and do something else. Do this long enough, and your stress levels will go down. You’ll start feeling in charge of your actions, your mood, your life.
It really does make a difference.
2. YOU’LL GAIN FOCUS
At first, when you do a digital detox, your brain will get scattered, your mood may change for the worst, and others may point out how irritable you are.
Ok. Accept it and move on.
Once past the point of frantically looking for your phone, you’ll get your concentration back.
Your work will flow with fewer distractions, and your focus sharper.
Yes, it will.
3. LIBERATE YOUR IMAGINATION
So you’ve restricted your phone use. Now what? Once you start feeling ok about it and your stress is down, all sorts of possibilities open up!
Zone in on what you like doing – besides scrolling. For example:
- Make a list of some great books to read
- Have fun in the kitchen.
- Start getting creative. Maybe drraw or paint, write poetry or start a journal. Why not get some exercise or cook up a meal.
- Find a partner and put technology to good use by learning something new. Or go solo and brush up on your wildest dreams.
- Who knows? Now that you have time maybe you’ll discover a newfound passion?
Many people pick up their phones because they feel bored.
But I don’t believe that boredom exists. I think it’s just an excuse not to work your imagination and get those brain cells nurtured.
4. SET THE EXAMPLE
If you have teens at home, set the example.
Studies show that most teens are addicted to social media and have no idea how to curb phone use.
The self-esteem attached to likes and the comparison game makes them even more self-conscious.
But teens aside, you can also set the example when out with friends or family.
By not checking your phone all the time, you’ll notice that others won’t either, and real-life interactions (the best type) can finally occur.
5. LEARN TO MONITOR YOUR FEELINGS
When you don’t have the phone attached to your hand 24/7, you learn who you are.
I believe there’s no better benefit.
Instead of drowning your thoughts and feelings into your smartphone, you actually have the time and the possibility to understand your thoughts and ask yourself the right questions.
Take time to know what you want, where you want to be, and make a plan of action to move forward.
After all, life is about change, and adopting positive behavior gets you going in the right direction.
KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WHY
When you embark on a digital detox journey, whether it’s one day to test the waters or one week to reap the benefits, you have to know why you’re doing it.
Like everything else, knowing why we do something is essential.
Do you know why you scroll endlessly on Instagram or other social media and why you watch endless videos on youtube?
I figured as much. Yes, you have lots of reasons, but most of them probably aren’t valid.
So to take back control of your actions, you need to know why you want to do a digital detox.
These can include simple things like having more time or more complex reasons like working on a dream project.
Open a notebook and write down your reasons.
While you’re on the page, write down your feelings about spending so much time with your phone.
Why do you feel you need it so much? What recurring thoughts do you have when you scroll endlessly? Do you compare? Do you feel better? Do you learn something, or maybe it brings up feelings of low self-esteem?
Just be honest.
It’s our need for instant gratification.
Some think that a true digital detox involves not touching your phone at all.
I think that’s a bit drastic, especially for those who have a real fear of being without their device.
So no need to go all out because it probably won’t work so well.
Start small and implement positive changes in your day. Decide on a plan of action. No phone zones. Set your times and limits.
Turn it off a half-hour before sleep, don’t turn it on so fast in the morning. Leave it another room. Enjoy your meals. Make a list of things you enjoy and refer to this list instead of reaching for your phone.
THUMBS UP FOR A DIGITAL DETOX
Our need for instant gratification is getting the best of all of us.
Slow down, take your time, understand that your self-worth shouldn’t depend on a smartphone, and free yourself.
It’s not easy. We know that.
But when you do a digital detox, you can’t even imagine the benefits for your stress levels and creative mind.
When you put the phone down, you learn to shift your priorities in a positive way.
It leaves room for something else. Because yes, other wonderful things do exist other than what happens behind that omnipresent screen!