- Make better use of your time; eliminate unused apps and remove any alerts, dings, or notifications that are not your phone or voicemail.
- Assert self-discipline, but know that digital detox tools are available if you need help.
- Get all devices out of your bedroom for more melatonin, better sleep, and physical connection with your partner.
In 2015, the idea of “digital dieting” was in the news as the world realized that our reliance to being connected digitally to a device was increasing. Enter 2020. The reliance has grown to a full-blown dependence as everything we do from the moment we rise to the moment we go to sleep has the involvement of a digital device.
Using your phone to set an alarm to wake up? Guilty.
Scrolling through my Instagram feed before I leave my bed or brush my teeth? Guilty.
Shopping on Amazon for cute shirts in the darkness of my bedroom while my entire family sleeps? Guilty.
Reaching for phone and swiping it open with no intention and not even thinking with intention? Embarrassingly guilty.
We all do it. In the rise of this, there have been various organizations around the world that have been voicing their concerns on the negative impacts to our mental health – such as stress and depression. There are some excellent TED Talks that provide some explanation on the genesis of those feelings. The world is realizing that it’s not just time for a diet – it’s time for a hard detox. As digital devices become a fabric of our daily routines and everyday life, many of us will find that we are addicted to the swiping, swooshing, and clicking. Before you get there or if you are there now, below are some tips for starting a digital detox and hopefully sticking with it:
USE WITH PURPOSE. Review your phone and remove any applications you haven’t used in forever. Remove any notifications that aren’t required for emergencies, like a phone call or a voicemail. If there is a true emergency, it’s unlikely that someone is going to text you or send you a notification through an app. This will give you less distractions and allow you more time to focus on the task at hand or give your mind a mental break and reduce mental clutter.
SET BOUNDARIES ON YOUR OWN OR WITH HELP. Very few people are successful at kicking additions “cold-turkey”, so take a realistic approach when setting boundaries. Pick times during the day when technology is off limits, but give yourself an allowance to browse social media, play games, or check e-mail. Apple and Google have both recently released tools to help track and monitor screen time. These tools help keep you honest or aware of what’s sucking all your time and prescribe time limits – ranging from giving reminders to get the hell off your phone or even locking you out for the rest of day.
GET YOUR DEVICE OUT OF THE BEDROOM. For most people, there is no end in sight for being on your computer all day at work, which will leave you handcuffed to setting those boundaries at home. Try putting your phone outside of the bedroom – this will prevent you from making it so it’s the first thing you grab in the morning and the last thing you touch at night. Your bedroom is a place to relax, have sex, and sleep – not to creep on other people’s lives and shop for new shoes. Yes, you may have to resort to getting an old school alarm clock, but you may find that you get more sleep, get laid, and just feel less anxiety.
If you can set digital boundaries, you will find that you get more time back and the time you spend is more meaningful. We can have more time to focus on the things that will ultimately bring us more joy in the long-term – like our partner, our family, or ourselves. Doing a detox will force you to connect with others and reconnect with yourself. For those of you with little humans at home, there is the added benefit of setting a good example of healthy digital habits for the next generation. You’ll find that the more you log off – the more connected you will feel to yourself and your love ones.