How To Do a Digital Detox
Our attention span in 2o16 is now shorter than that of a goldfish...
Let's face it. We are addicted to technology. In this age of digitization, we can often feel like a slave to our devices. For me, I have to consciously and regularly practice digital detoxing in order to stay sane!
What is a digital detox?
A digital detox is completely disconnecting from all technology (especially social media) for an extended period of time. It can be done for any amount of time but is most effective when done for a significant length. I try and do 24-48 hour digital detoxes about every one-two months. However, I practice digital detoxing daily, usually for at least one-two hours. The more I can get off my phone the better! A few times a year, I will also plan to do a more intense digital detox for weeks at a time.
Why is it important to practice digital detoxing?
In this age of information overload, our brains and bodies cannot possibly keep up with the millions of distractions bombarding us each day. Even when we are not using technology for work, it is the first thing that we turn to for entertainment and connection when we feel lonely or bored. However, although we may be temporality gratified by incoming likes, texts, cat videos, and tagged photos, over time, this can have a powerfully detrimental effect. The Internet and social media can actually increase feelings of loneliness, depression, fatigue, ADD and a whole host of long term health issues. It has dramatically changed the way our brains function.
Through this, we have also become severely out of touch with ourselves and our intuition. Technology and digitization can be great tools in our lives, but we must continue to practice conscious use so that things don't get out of hand. Practicing digital detoxing on a regular basis is a great way to reconnect with ourselves, those around us, and the world we live in.
I noticed the positive impact of digital detoxing when I completed my 200-hour yoga training in Mexico. I was completely without technology for a full 16 days. I was able to connect with myself and others on a level that I hadn't experience in years. I left with an entirely fresh perspective on my life and the world and the effects lasted for several weeks afterward.
Since then, I try and practice digital detoxing on the reg. Here's how you can too:
How to do a digital detox
1. Make a conscious decision with intention
First, you must decide that you are going to partake in a digital detox and why. Set the intention for why this is important to you and stick to it. Write down all of the reasons why you want to digital detox. Let it out and try not to judge what shows up on the paper.
2. Be specific about when and where
Set a specific time that you plan to digital detox and where you will be during this time. Commit to a start and end time for your digital detox and decide what you will be doing during this time.
3. Have a plan
Although I am a huge proponent of being alone and having to face boredom while digital detoxing (pretty much meditation) ... in the beginning, it is probably best to decide what it is that you will do during this time so you don't freak out and give up. Here are some ideas:
- Read or write
- Color, draw, paint, etc.
- Walk or run (without music!)
- Spend time in nature
- Go to the beach
- Cook or bake
Choose anything that you enjoy and something that allows you to be mindful and draws your awareness inward. I think digital detoxing with friends is awesome and should absolutely be encouraged, but it is also important to digital detox alone every now and again so you can connect with yourself on a deeper level. This is not always easy but the benefits are huge.
4. Notice without judgement
Especially if you are digital detoxing alone, continue to notice thoughts that come up. You may experience aggravation, irritation, frustration and other negative thoughts. This is okay. Actually, it's great! See if you can bring a heightened awareness to these emotions and simply let them come through you, without placing judgement on what's coming up. Journaling can be very helpful for a more cathartic release of these emotions.
5. Start small and build up
Especially if you are someone who's hand is glued to your phone, you may want to dip your feet in the water before you dive in. (If you want to dive in, by all means go for it!) Start with small increments of time and gradually build up. I'd say it is more important to practice digital detoxing more regularly for shorter periods of time, than it is to do long digital detoxes every so often. Start with one hour a few times a week and build up from there. 24-hour digital detoxes are also quite manageable and can have immediately noticeable results.
Forget the excuses!
It is easy to come up with a million reasons why we "can't" do a digital detox, but let's face it, most of it is bullshit. The texts, calls, emails, notifications, likes, tweets, and snap stories can all wait. The world is not going to end while you take some time for yourself off the grid. If it helps you, let important people in your life know ahead of time that when you will be digital detoxing so you aren't worried about them trying to reach you.
Let's DISCONNECT to RECONNECT! Happy Digital Detoxing :)
I hope you found this helpful! Please let me know if you have any questions about this! I would also love to hear your digital detoxing tips, tricks and stories!