Taking a Digital Detox — 3 tips to get you started!
Our daily lives are virtually ruled by technology and devices. We work, date, socialize, play games, and watch pet videos on them. We share our lives with friends and family, gamble, take pictures, and listen to meditations on them.
The list is endless, and research says we spend 5–10 hours of our day in front of one screen or another. Add that to all the speculation about what screen time is doing to our necks, thumbs, relationships, stress levels and kids, and we are finding ourselves in a pretty serious situation.
Along with the physical impact of these devices, we are also affected emotionally. We compare ourselves to others, feel bad about ourselves, and aren’t in the moment to moment presence and connection with friends and family. Although devices are super helpful and make life easier in so many ways, they can have a negative impact on our self-worth and relationships.
Our ongoing work will be to find a way to use technology and screen time in a way that benefits us but doesn’t dominate, as well as remember to cultivate ways to truly be present with ourselves and the people we love. As genuine connection decreases, the more disconnected we feel. Although it is hard, and we may feel as if we are connecting to others with our devices, it’s no substitute for what we experience when we are truly connected in real time. When we are truly present, our sense of being seen, loved and gotten is engaged, and on the surface and deep into our primitive brain, we feel safe and loved.
Taking a digital detox is a great way to step away from the devices, see what comes up, and work on making some changes. Technology is here to stay, so our job to decide how, when and why we want to use them and not allow them to dominate us!
Ready to take a digital detox? Here are 3 tips to get you started!
1. Go cold turkey
Create the best conditions possible for a successful detox. Go all in and take a break from every screen. 48 hours is a suggestion, a week would be amazing! If you just can’t, don’t get caught in the all or nothing thinking. Maybe do work only emails or whatever you know you can commit to and stick with it!
2. Observe what comes up
One of the tenants of mindfulness is to observe without judgment. You WILL be uncomfortable and find yourself reaching for and rationalizing why you need to jump on, just this once. Sit with these feelings and try to ride them out.
Bonus: You will learn a lot about what makes you uncomfortable. Journal about your experience and ask yourself self-inquiry questions like what is beneath the discomfort. Mindful meditation at its core!
3. Make a commitment to creating a few small, realistic changes.
Once the detox is complete, you can begin to make some small changes in your daily life. A few tips might be no email after a certain time, no devices at meal times, put them away an hour before bed.
Bonus: Research says that even having them in the same room is distracting, so get them out of the dinner table area and the bedroom during sleep!
Authors Note: I wrote this blog on a digital detox while on a wellness, yoga and meditation retreat in Vietnam. We were on a boat in Bai Tu Long Bay for 48 hours with no wifi or cell service (although someone managed to procure the the Alabama game score). We all took a digital detox as part of the trip and it was freeing. My concession was having my computer to write but NOT be online. And that is where I wrote this blog and took this picture. It’s all about finding balance!