Do you remember the last time your phone wasn’t right next to you?
How does that make you feel? We’ve all heard the stats. Excessive amounts of time online has been proven to lead to a variety of issues, including low self-esteem, poor sleep and lower productivity levels, not to mention increased stress and anxiety levels. In short, not really living life well. But when platforms are designed to make you scroll all day long and the content is just. so. shareable. what is there to do? A smartphone is one of the greatest inventions of the last few years, but we need to use it to enhance our lives, not take over it. Easier said than done, we know. A digital detox is a great place to start - if only just to build a healthier relationship with the devices in your life.
'But where to begin?', we hear you say. Set a goal to reset your habits. Less doomscrolling, more intentional use. Winner. Let’s get into the tips.
Want to take a break from screen time for a week or two? Great. Find that literally impossible with your job/lifestyle/brain? Take the pressure off and make it work for you. If you can’t turn everything off for an extended period of time, try doing it at mealtimes, first thing in the morning or last thing at night. It all adds up to more intentional use of your phone.
Find it more of an instinct to pick up your phone at any given opportunity? You’re going to have to create some distance between you and the device. Put it on charge in another room. Put it in a drawer or a box even. Whatever works for you. If you really need it, or in the unlikely event that it actually rings, you’ll make the effort to stand up and get it, but the physical boundary alone will dramatically cut down your usage. If you have trouble putting down your phone, try storing it in another room to discourage yourself from using it. Then try getting out of the house; go to dinner with friends or pop out for a walk and leave it in your bag or at home.
Some people will find giving up their devices relatively easy, whereas others will struggle to break the habit, which could even provoke a little anxiety. Take a breath. Remember that the fact that you are trying is a win here. Any difference is a difference.
You may not need to get rid of the device altogether - you may want to simply just remove the apps you want to cut down on. Deleting social media apps can reduce temptation in the short term. You may even find that you use the platforms more intentionally if you need a laptop to access them. Also - remember that these devices have features to monitor screen time. Set a maximum time a day and the timer will block them for you when you hit the limit. Admittedly, it’s pretty easy to dismiss the notification, but it will increase your awareness and break the cycle a little bit. Turning notifications off also help, as you will be able to only open the app when you choose to, which stops things pinging at you all day long.
If you tell people what you are doing, you are likely to succeed as they can not only support you but they can also help you to stay on track! Oh, and it may also stop them worrying. If you are often online and then suddenly disappear - they may wonder where you are!
You may need to plan a few ways to stay distracted as you begin this to avoid fidgeting. Try reading a printed book or magazine. Maybe try writing or drawing or painting. Or, use all of the extra time that you have to clear all of the things on your To Do list that never seem to get done - clean out the closets, drop off the recycling, clean the car, schedule coffee with a friend… the possibilities are endless!
Sometimes we need a reminder to hold our resolve. Here is a mini list of facts and fugures to help you to stick to your guns.
Tempted to take a digital detox now? Let us know how you get on! (afterwards of course!)