We are spending more time than ever in front of our screens. While it has allowed us to keep in touch with people, work from home and stay connected during a year where we have had to ‘stay home to save lives’, it can be very draining and it means we are exposed to a huge amount of negative energy. A regular digital detox will allow you to break habits that can quickly turn into addictions and will give you a chance to recharge, reconnect and refresh your energy. Here are my top tips for making the most of a digital detox.
Decide how long it is going to be
I say at least 24 hours but if you can manage 48 hours, even better. It is also really beneficial if you can schedule a regular digital detox. One day a week, a weekend every month or whatever works with your schedule, life and need for downtime.
Let people know
We are so used to being permanently and quickly connected to everyone, that people expect you to reply to messages almost instantly. This year has really blurred the already fuzzy boundaries between work and home time so it is even more important to build some boundaries back. Set your out of office (if you have one) with a message to say you are on digital detox and will have no access to messages until (whenever). Make sure people who might need to contact you in an emergency know how to, so you won’t be worrying about them. Land lines are great for this.
Start the evening before
I usually start a digital detox about 7pm. This allows me to get everything done work wise and also gives me a good run of no tech before bed. I usually sleep much better and it is so refreshing to get up and not immediately reach for my phone or start reading work emails. It also means you have the first big block of detox time done while you were sleeping … BONUS!
Switch everything off
I’m pretty hardcore with my digital detox and as well as phones, tablets and computers, I also ban TV and even my kindle. It is all switched off. That moment deciding whether you really want to check something enough to power up your device can be just what you need to break the cycle. If your device is still switched on, you will check it.
Make some plans
Look out a book you really want to read, some new recipes you want to try, maybe a crafting kit you got for Christmas three years ago and never got round to doing. I always start my day with morning pages – three pages of whatever comes into my mind. Go for a walk … arrange to meet up with someone … you’ll enjoy your time together much more when you’re not constantly checking your phones or wondering what pics to take. Have an afternoon nap. A big pamper session and a cuppa or a glass of wine before bed. You will be amazed at how much more time you have in your day to do aaaaalll the things you never usually feel you can fit in.
Treat yourself to an extra night
Strictly speaking, if you start at 7pm, your detox should finish at 7pm but I always throw in at least another 12 hours – two nights of sleep completely uninfluenced by news, social media or mindless scrolling is the best medicine.
Getting back to it
You might be excited about getting back to your tech or (more likely) it might fill you with a feeling of dread. This is the perfect time to set some controls on how you use it. Plan to switch off a couple of hours before bed and wait until you’ve been up for a couple of hours before switching it back on again. Use your devices intentionally. Remove social media from your phone. Check emails once or twice a day. Manage your social media feeds so that you are not constantly exposed to negative news, angry people and ‘stuff’ that you really don’t need in your day.
If you struggle with this, install an app like Freedom it will do all the hard work for you. Even limiting your Netflix binge watching to two or three episodes at a time can make a big difference to your energy. You will also have a little bit more time before you have to endlessly scroll the menu searching for the next binge worthy show.
What if I just …. can’t?
If you find it impossible to take a break from your tech, you might need a little more help to break the habit. Start small with an hour before bedtime every day. Give your tech to someone else to keep for you. Enlist the help of a professional. Wellbeing coaching can help you address the reasons you find it so difficult and can support you to put healthier habits in place.
What are your best tips for taking a digital detox? I’d love you to share in the comments. With love – Donna xox