The idea of voluntarily disconnecting from our digital devices might create feelings of stress, understandably so. What if we miss an urgent text or news headline or DM on social? We don’t want to be left behind.
Here’s the rub: Experts say that too much screen time can have a negative impact on our mood, relationships, sleep patterns, and overall health. Suffice to say, taking a break from technology can help us feel better and more connected.
Here are four ways to do a digital detox.
1. Use Mornings to Decompress
Try scheduling in relaxing, non-digital activities each morning, so you can start your day refreshed and energized. You might go for a short walk outdoors, practice yoga, read a book or newspaper while you drink your morning coffee, or write in a journal. The goal is to be present and enjoy the moment before tackling any to-do’s or checking your email and social media.
2. Take Weekends Off
When Friday night arrives, try shutting down your work computer—and the work email on your phone—and leaving it off for the entire weekend (if your job allows). Another tip: Switch your phone to airplane mode while you’re having meals or watching movies with your family. That way, you’ll be able to focus on the conversations and people in front of you. You can always check if you missed any important calls, texts, or emails later.
3. Create New Habits
Constantly checking emails, texts, and social media is a behavior you can unlearn. To do so means separating yourself from your digital devices whenever possible. Try waking up to a regular alarm clock, instead of using your phone’s alarm. Bonus: Keeping your phone away from your bedside means you’re less tempted to check it right before going to sleep or as soon as you wake up. Also, give yourself a designated time limit to be on social apps—and stick to it. You can even try turning off notifications unless you’re in the app.
Instead of eating meals in front of your computer while you work, use lunch as an opportunity to sit down and enjoy your food without distractions. Reinforce the habit at home by eating breakfast and dinner without staring at a screen.
4. Spend More Time Outside
Tap into a different kind of connectivity by heading outdoors to get some fresh air—your mind and body will thank you. Plus, research shows that spending time in nature helps reduce stress.
A digital detox is a smart way to reprioritize your time and focus on what’s important to you, including your family, relationships, and your overall health and wellness. It’s worth a try.