Digital Detoxing: How to Reconnect & Relax Through Disconnection

Are you someone who checks their phone first thing in the morning? Do you find yourself doom scrolling endlessly for hours or opt out of other activities to spend time on social media? Then you might be a good candidate for a digital detox. In today’s day and age, it’s hard to click the off switch when it comes to connectivity. Thanks to technology, we are able to connect with others at any time, for any duration, irrespective of where we are in the world. Unfortunately, the irony is that it has led to us ignoring those near us.

What Is a Digital Detox?

Did you know that the average adult in the US spends about 11 hours a day on their devices? This may not be surprising, given that mobile phone addiction is a very real issue. So don’t beat yourself up too much about it if you think you may qualify – mobile apps are designed to be addictive, headlines are carefully worded to get us hooked, and everything in our devices is built to ensure we spend a lot of time on it. It’s no wonder we’re so addicted to technology!

This is where a digital detox can be helpful. It’s when you intentionally allocate time to put your devices away. It could be for a few hours, a few days, a week, or even longer. But you must refrain from using technology and devices during your digital sabbatical. This means no text messaging, emails, video games, social media, or TV.

We get it, these digital detoxes are immensely challenging in today’s tech-dependent world, but they can be great for your overall well-being. In fact, studies prove that taking a digital detox can reduce stress levels, allow you to enjoy time better, improve sleep quality, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Before we look any further, it’s important to understand that digital detox isn’t a complete break from technology. Rather than thinking of it as an extreme measure, consider it as taking small steps to create boundaries between yourself and your devices.

So are you ready to take the leap and unplug, here are some ways you can get started:

Take Baby Steps

Unplugging from your devices will not be easy, especially when you’ve been hardwired to check your phone every few minutes. Start by not looking at your phone for 15 minutes. Slowly work your way towards unplugging for 30 minutes until you can go a whole day without your phone every week.

Turn Off Notifications

When your device beeps, you feel tempted to check it. And when you check it, it creates a sense of pressure to respond right away. When you turn off notifications for social media, emails, and texts, you can respond to them when you are available without constantly being interrupted or distracted when you’re involved in something else.

Keep Your Phone Away

Many of us lose hours of sleep when browsing the phone before bedtime. This is why having your phone in a completely different room is a good idea to avoid that natural tendency to pick it up. When you go out, put your phone in your backpack rather than in your pocket, so it takes more effort to get it out.

Plan Some Tech-Free Activities

Try going on camping adventures or biking expeditions, pick up your shovel, and start gardening or attend art, cooking, or needlework classes. These real-life activities that don’t involve any technology allow you to fully engage in the moment with a hundred percent attention while also having some great fun along the way. When you re-learn how to entertain yourself without the screen’s glow, it will allow you to appreciate moments with gratitude.

“Lights Out” At Night

Maintain a nightly digital shutdown by banishing all electronics from your bedroom by late evening. Indulging screen time before bedtime can disrupt mood, melatonin production, and sleep quality. When you get insufficient sleep, it can lead to health issues. So to give your body the rest it needs, embrace the darkness, and switch off your devices.

Go Back To Pen & Paper

Our fingers are so accustomed to tapping screens that writing things on paper is sometimes difficult. So give your wrists, fingers, eyes, and brain some rest by going old-school. Make notes, write letters, start painting, sketching, or even embroidering. Doing so gives you a refreshing break from the digital world.

Read a Book

A lot of people have lost the lure to indulge in reading. You see people waiting for their trains or doctor’s appointments, and almost everyone has their eyes glued to their screen. But why not do something more educational and productive instead? Try taking a book with you to fill the dead times. Not only will this offer a welcome escape from the cacophony of the world around you, but it will also calm you down.

Spend More Time with Nature

Spending time in nature cures so many things. You may feel drained after a long day or stressed out with work, but a few hours amid nature is enough to relieve you from all the anxiety you’ve accumulated throughout the day. Try getting involved in nature activities like biking, walking, hiking, or adventure games, and you’ll find that you’ve lost track of time and that urge to check your phone every few minutes.

Besides, going out into nature may give you all the more reason to boycott your devices because you may literally lose connection due to poor signal. Soon, you will learn that you can live without texting or browsing the internet – and that you’re not missing out on anything much at all.

Final Thoughts

Technology comes with many benefits, but this constant connectivity comes at the cost of addiction, where we find it hard to turn off our devices and be present with the people around us. The best way to handle digital addiction is to create a schedule – and follow it religiously. Remember that it takes time to form habits, but once you get there, you will find that it gets easier.

Learn to prioritize things that are important to you. This includes family time, hanging out with friends, walking outside, playing board games, and reading, to name a few. If you have checked all your daily priorities, you can reply to those social media messages, read the news, watch your favorite shows, and so on. The key, however, is keeping your phone away when involved in things that matter to your health and wellness. Be sure to be present in the moment so you feel genuinely accomplished.

When you make the conscious effort to unplug from your devices every now and then, you will start to reclaim the real-life experiences that our phones and other gadgets have stealthily robbed us of. For those addicted to the digital world, cutting out on it might be challenging, but it’s the only way to reconnect with people and other things that genuinely matter.