If you live in a digital world, it’s easy to find yourself logged in and online almost every minute of the day, posting, commenting, and responding to almost everything. When you are constantly connected to the internet, whether out of necessity or simply because you don’t want to miss anything that is going on, it is possible to experience digital overload. While you may wish to take a break from all of the emails, texts, messages, comments, posts, and updates, it is possible that you do not know how to do so. You can do a digital detox if you plan ahead of time, log out, make the most of your time, and gradually re-enter the digital world after your detox period.
Part 1 Planning Your Digital Detox
1. Make a personal commitment to yourself. Making the decision to engage in a digital detox can be a difficult one. You might be concerned about what you’ll miss if you log out. You might even start to wonder what you’re going to do with your free time. You can successfully complete a digital detox if you remind yourself of all the compelling reasons why you should take this opportunity to log off and unplug from the internet.
Make a list of three to five things you want to try to get done while you are detoxing that you can do during your free time.
For example, you might write that you’d like to spend time in your garden, organise your closets, or catch up with some old friends.
Remind yourself of the advantages of the detoxification. For example, tell yourself, “I’ll feel more relaxed, more in tune with myself, and more in tune with my family and friends if I practise mindfulness.”
Declare to yourself that the detox will provide you with a respite from some of the information overload you may currently be experiencing.
2. When to detox is entirely up to you. Although you may be tempted to begin your digital detox right away, you should first consider when you would like to begin your detox. Making the decision to log off during a busy workday or around exam time in school may not be the best choice in the long run. Choose a time when you have fewer responsibilities and when there will be fewer ramifications if you forget to send a message or a couple of messages.
Consider doing your detox over the course of a weekend, school break, or vacation. When those times come around, you will be less likely to receive important messages.
Check your calendar and choose a time when there are no upcoming deadlines or important events to attend. You won’t miss any important information about them this way.
3. Consider the logistics of the situation. It’s possible that you’re not aware of all the ways in which your smartphone and other devices are essential to your day-to-day activities. For example, if you use your phone as an alarm clock, do you have an alarm clock that you can use during your detoxification period? Is there a radio in your house if you want to listen to music while you detoxify? Do you have maps on hand if you use your phone or computer to get driving directions so that you don’t get lost? In the weeks leading up to your detox, make a list of all the different ways in which you rely on your devices and come up with alternative ways to meet your needs.
Also consider the logistics of how you will accomplish this if your family is not participating in the detoxification process. What will you do if everyone is glued to the television? Do you have a space where you can read or work on a craft project without being distracted by technology? What will you do to occupy your time and keep yourself from succumbing to temptation when other people are using their devices?
4. Determine the length of time you will be detoxing. In most cases, a digital detox will last between one and two days in length. This gives you the opportunity to spend more time with your friends and family, as well as complete some of the tasks you’ve been putting off. However, if you have a lot of responsibilities, this may be too much time for you. Determining how long you will be detoxing will assist you in planning for it and anticipating any issues that may arise during your detox period.
Take a moment to consider your duties and responsibilities. How long can you stay away from your computer without falling behind in your work?
Consider the people who rely on you for their well-being. Consider whether there is anything you would need to complete for them online during this time period.
5. Please notify me in advance. If you plan to incorporate your digital detox into your work or school schedule, you may need to inform those around you of your plans. They will be able to keep you informed of what is going on, and you will not miss important messages such as deadlines or other important information.
In the event of an emergency, do you have a landline phone number where people can call you and get in touch with you? You might also want to inform family members that it is acceptable for them to arrive unannounced in the event of an emergency.
If your digital detox is going to last longer than 12 hours, ask someone to contact you if there are any important messages to be delivered. Consider the following scenario: “Could you please call me on my landline in the event that we have a schedule update at work?”
If you primarily communicate with people through texting, emailing, or messaging, you may want to inform them of what is going on in your life.
6. Log out of all social media platforms. It’s impossible to relax when your electronic device is beeping, bingeing, and chirping every two minutes. Nothing can ruin a digital detox, or any peaceful time. The ability to quickly turn on your device, especially if you have widgets, and check your social networking updates will be made easier if you remain logged in. Maintaining your detox by logging out of social media and turning off all notifications can help you stay on track.
Alternatively, you can log out of the app on your device rather than deleting your account completely. You will be able to log back in once your digital detox is completed.
Before you log out of the app, double-check that you remember your login information.
If you are unable or unwilling to log out of your apps, you should turn off your alerts and notifications.
7. Keep your electronic devices out of reach of the children. When your device is right in front of you, you may be tempted to check it to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything important. Maintaining a safe distance between yourself and your phone, tablet, or laptop will make it easier for you to engage in a digital detox.
Keep in mind the old adage, “out of sight, out of mind.” Place your device in a closet, a drawer, or somewhere else where it will not be seen.
If necessary, enlist the assistance of a family member or close friend to store your device while you are on your digital detox.
Part 2 Making the Most of Your Detox
1. Someone needs your assistance. One excellent way to make the most of your digital detox is to devote some of your time to doing something that will benefit someone other than yourself. Not everything has to be monumental, such as repainting their home, but you can dedicate an hour or two to something that will benefit someone else in your community.
Participate in a charitable event in your neighbourhood or volunteer for a cause or organisation that you believe in or are interested in.
Consider offering to help your father with his grocery shopping, walking his neighbor’s dog, or washing his or her vehicle.
2. Relax by meditating and taking deep breaths. Practicing relaxation techniques and calming strategies while on a digital detox is a great way to unwind and recharge. Once your detoxification is complete, these strategies will assist you in releasing stress and tension when you begin to experience digital overload or general stress.
Spending just five to ten minutes meditating each day can be beneficial. Make yourself comfortable and try to concentrate on your breathing. If you notice your thoughts straying from your breathing, gently bring them back to the present moment.
Deep breathing techniques should be practised. Slowly inhale into your belly, hold it for a moment, and then slowly exhale into your mouth. For a few deep breaths, repeat these steps.
3. Learn something new every day. Boredom is one of the difficulties associated with undergoing a digital detox. It’s possible that you’ve become so accustomed to being online that you have no idea what to do with your time. During your digital detox, you can try a new activity or learn a new skill to keep yourself entertained and stimulated.
Read a book or an article on a topic that you are interested in learning more about. You can even visit your local library to examine a hard copy of the book rather than a digital copy.
Learn a new skill or talent by enrolling in a class or taking a lesson. Taking gymnastics lessons or enrolling in foreign language classes are just a couple of examples.
4. Spend time with family and friends. The use of social networking and texting to communicate with others can easily take the place of face-to-face or even phone interaction. It is possible to make the most of your digital detox by spending at least some of your time with family and friends. You can use this time to catch up with them, talk with them, or simply hang out with them.
When you’re with them, give them your complete and total attention. You don’t have your electronic device to distract you, so look them in the eyes and demonstrate that you are paying attention to what they are saying.
Invite them to a party or accept their invitations to go out with your friends. Take in a movie, get a cup of coffee, or go play some basketball..
Part 3 Easing Back into the Digital World
1. Only one app can be accessed at a time. Re-enter the digital world slowly and deliberately. This will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by the amount of information and entertainment available. In addition, it will provide you with the opportunity to consider which social networking sites, applications, and games you actually want and need to use.
Begin by logging into your primary email account once more. Sort through your messages and respond to those that require your attention.
Get rid of any messages that aren’t urgent, and take a few minutes to unsubscribe from any newsletters or updates that you don’t actually need.
2. Put a limit on yourself. After you’ve completed your detox, try setting time limits for your digital activities. This will prevent you from becoming entangled in the never-ending cycle of emails, alerts, updates, and social media posts.
You could try checking and responding to emails only in the morning (between the hours of 9 and 10am, for example) and only at the end of the day (between the hours of 9 and 10pm, for example) (from 4:30 to 5pm).
Turn off your social media notifications on both the apps and the websites. You will not be tempted to check your electronic device every time it beeps in this manner.
Establish time limits for your use of social networking sites. For example, you could set a time limit of 15 minutes for using social media sites such as Twitter or Snapchat.
3. Make a mini-detoxification effort. Your digital detox will be most beneficial if you make it a habit that you follow on a regular basis rather than just once or twice. However, you are not required to undergo a complete detox for a day or more. Doing a mini detox, even for an hour or two, may help you to recharge and relax for a short period of time.
Consider the hour before bed to be a non-digital time period of one hour. Put your electronic devices on vibrate and turn off any notifications that aren’t absolutely necessary.
Take a few hours to detox on a regular weekend basis. Take, for example, the desire to spend every Sunday morning without the use of any electronic devices.
Creative Commons License