Sometimes we need quiet to slow down our minds and fight the feeling of having to keep up with our fast paced digital world. When we turn off, we stop answering to the demands of others - whether it’s our boss, family, or even our followers - and we start reflecting on what we truly find meaningful. If you’re feeling like you’re on the edge of a major burn out or just in need of some perspective, the following tips will help you pull off a quick, but effective digital detox.
Before You Start
Set Goals & Boundaries
In order to gauge the success of your detox and to keep you motivated through the process, you need to set goals. What are you doing this for? Maybe you just need time for yourself or you’re looking for a connection IRL instead of online. Whatever your motivation, make it clear to yourself and write it down as a reminder.
Just as important as goals, boundaries will help you better manage the process and get the most out of your detox. Try scheduling a firm start and end to your detox. You can shut off for a whole 24 hours, or maybe you only have time for the few hours after work, but knowing there will be an end to this temporary insanity will give you the motivation to see the whole thing through.
Don’t Just Drop Off
Your boss might be expecting you to respond to emails or your friends might be looking for you to confirm dinner plans, so get all of your digital responsibilities done ahead of time and let everyone know you’ll be off the grid for the duration of your detox. This is not only considerate to their needs, but it will also give you the peace of mind to unplug completely.
Plan Your Activities
Now for the fun part, plan your detox activities! There’s a time for spontaneity but it isn’t now. Don’t go into your digital detox without a plan as you could easily find yourself bored and reaching for your phone before you know it. Curling up with a good book, journaling, or catching up with an old friend are all great uses of this time away from your devices.
Get Back Into Nature
Once your detox officially begins, turn off your phone and leave your digital life behind. You may find it helpful to spend time in nature, as being outdoors helps to reboot the body’s natural rhythms and provides a great opportunity for some exercise. Find some popular hiking spots in your area or even consider camping. Being in natural daylight is a great way to reset your circadian rhythm if you’ve been cuddling up with your phone at night.
If Netflix binges have been keeping you in on the weekends, you may want to take this time to plan a fun brunch and have your friends join you in your detox. To help avoid temptation, place everyone’s phones face down in the center of the table. Whoever reaches for their phone first pays for brunch!
If you have a lot on your mind or a big decision coming up, it may be best to to spend this time alone. A few minutes of meditation or journaling can be a great way to relax and reflect, but if you’re having trouble quieting your mind, a private spa night can help put you in the mood.
Life After The Detox
Unfollow, Unsubscribe & Delete
It’s natural to feel a bit overwhelmed by all the emails and push notifications that will inevitably flood in after your detox, so to make this transition back into the digital world easier, you can build better habits now. Your inbox is probably bombarded with spam or promotional emails every day, so unsubscribe from email lists that you no longer need and even empty your inbox if you can. Unfollow or block anyone who you’re no longer in touch with or roll your eyes whenever they post. Delete those workout apps you haven’t opened in months and any others you don’t use regularly.
Don’t Answer to Pings
Turn off all push notifications and only check your email or feed when it’s convenient for you. This way you can be more present and intentional about how you use your time and attention.
Schedule Mini Detoxes
If your schedule and demands can’t allow for regular detoxes, you can set aside short chunks of time to stop looking at your phone or other devices. Starting your mornings with a light breakfast and a short workout routine can be a vast improvement over aimlessly browsing Instagram. More than just avoiding screens, what you end up replacing that time with can make a huge impact on your mental and emotional health.
Let us know your favorite ways to take a break from your online life in the comments below: