During January we focus on cleansing our body, but our mind also needs a break. Taking a digital detox is a powerful practice which can improve mental and physical health.
Many of us are addicted to our phones, laptop, and wifi. Studies show that 66% of us suffer from nomophobia, the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. We reach for our phone hundreds of times a day, and weaning off this dependence isn’t easy. Research proves that our attachment to devices is bad for eyesight, posture, relationships, stress levels, and mood. The health benefits of disconnecting are therefore significant, so let’s look at how we can reduce our reliance on those digital devices.
List Your Priorities
Note down what you want to do and achieve, but never seem to find the space to fit into your schedule. By spending time away from your devices, you’re creating extra hours in the day to pursue these goals. Use these goals as detox inspiration.
Start With One Habit
Don’t begin the detox process by trying to go phone-less for an entire weekend. Start with one habit and one timeframe. It could be sleeping with your phone in a different room, not checking Facebook after 6pm, or banning devices at mealtimes. Choose one, and once you’ve mastered it, add another.
Buy an Alarm Clock
You don’t need to sleep with your phone at your bedside if you own an old-fashioned alarm clock. Buy a watch so you look at your wrist rather than your phone when you need to check the time.
Turn Off Notifications
Stop your phone from buzzing whenever something/anything/everything happens to reduce how often it distracts. Not every notification requires your urgent attention. Turn the sounds off and you’ll find you check your phone less frequently.
Find a Detox Partner
Tackle your digital detox journey with someone. Detoxing in sync with a friend or partner helps you stay motivated and holds you accountable.
Leave it at Home
Leave the house without your phone: it’s the most foolproof way to disconnect. Go out for a walk, to a yoga class, or to the grocery store without your device. Feel how liberating this is, and take note that the world doesn’t explode when you’re phone-free.
Pick a Hobby Which Occupies You
To ensure you aren’t tempted back to your devices, first find a hobby that employs both your body and mind. It could be anything from jogging to knitting to swimming to painting. Choose a hobby which prevents you from picking up your phone.
Add it to Your Calendar
If you’re concerned your colleagues will be frustrated when you don’t respond to your emails during your detox time, add it to the calendar so they know you won’t be online. You can even turn on your out-of-office. Putting it on your calendar also holds you more accountable to the hours you’ve dedicated to detoxing. (And, yes, we know this may be more doable for some than others.)
Once you’ve created your detoxing rituals, repeat them until they become habits. Once you’ve formed a habit you can start creating more until you reach disconnect nirvana, wherever that may be.
Being attached to our devices 24/7 affects our mental and physical health, with research highlighting the negative effects on sleep, vision, back pain, and mood. A routine digital detox will make you happier, healthier, and more mindful — it’s time to get started!