As a generation that checks their phone, on average, every six minutes, even the words ‘digital detox’ alone are likely to sound terrifying. From a morning alarm to planning every aspect of our day, our phones pretty much run our lives. It seems impossible that we could still function the same without them. That being said, the dangers of our digital addictions are no secret. With no end to research telling us the negative impact our need for technology is having, a digital detox might be something worth considering.
Whilst it might be unrealistic to undergo a full detox void of all technology, there are ways to escape the world of digital. Even if it’s only for a short while. Shutting off all devices and hiding them away might be terrifying, but there are ways that they can be used less. Whether it’s a locking technology away on holiday or just avoiding social media in the evening, there are ways to make a digital detox much more bearable.
1. Take it out of your morning routine
It’s the same every morning. Our phones buzz with a dreaded alarm and we immediately reach for them to turn it off. With a phone in hand, naturally, we bring ourselves into by consciousness mindlessly scrolling through our social media feeds. Whilst this may be effective at keeping our eyes open and drifting back to sleep at bay, it actually has quite a negative impact. Considering that the first hour of the day is viewed to be the most important, how does social media set us up for the day? The chances are you will scroll through things that annoy you, compare your life to others and begin your day with a distracted mind. Try starting your day by reading a book, going for a run or eating breakfast clear of any distraction a go and see if it makes a difference.
2. Phone check schedule
Whilst there’s no doubt technology has done wonders for our productivity (what even was life before Google!?), it’s also a huge distraction too. With escape to lives far more interesting than our own just a click on the Instagram icon away, it’s no wonder we seek refuge from dull uni work on social media. That being said, the problem lies with how addictive this is. You start innocently with a little scroll. Then, you blink and an hour has gone by without you even realising. It’s easily done, but it doesn’t have to be. Set yourself the task of only checking your phone on a designated lunch break, after a to-do list is complete or you have switched off for the day. This way, your productivity will improve and far less time will be spent on your phone
3. Reply less
A major issue with technology is that we can never truly switch off.
There’s no excuse for not replying when it’s obvious that we are always glued to our phones.
With that in mind, we always feel a pressure to be on top of responding and feel guilty when we are not. It’s a constant commitment and it means you never really get a break. Try to ignore this pressure. If your time is occupied a notification can wait. If a message isn’t urgent it doesn’t require an immediate response. Give only replying when it suits you a go and see if the guilt starts to fade.
4. Detox day
Most of the time a day without digital devices just isn’t possible. But, this won’t necessarily be true for all days. Take a Sunday. Supposed to be a day to relax, but realistically it’s a day spent on social media being jealous of everyone else weekends. Often, I find myself getting frustrated with this. I’m supposed to feel chilled but I’m too glued to my phone to enjoy the time out. Last Sunday I was completely fed up with my phone. I shut it away all day and became completely uncontactable. I went for a country walk, a delicious brunch and watched a film with absolutely no distractions. It’s the most relaxed I had felt in a long time and I actually didn’t miss my phone once. Give it a try and see if you realise how refreshing a day without your phone can be. I certainly did.
5. Use time away
Naturally, in our everyday lives, it’s difficult not to be a part of the digital world. There’s just far too much we would miss out on. But, taking time away, whether it’s a holiday or a trip home, opens up the perfect opportunity. The less we are required to be contactable, the more digital devices that can be shut down. Turn off notifications, put your phone on night-shift or simply log out of social media. That way, you won’t have the dreaded fear of losing contact with the world. But, you will still have a break from endless scrolling and constant pings.