We have all heard about the “2 hours of screen time a day” rule, but with the ongoing pandemic, it is no surprise that both children and adults have been spending an average of over 13 hours a day in front of a digital screen. This can be because of work, school, and even for entertainment purposes. For the sake of our eyes, it may be useful to take a break from all electronic devices, such as phones, TVs, laptops, and even Apple Watches, even if it is just for a day. A digital detox can be beneficial towards your mental and physical health since it forces you to distance yourself from technology and embrace mindfulness along with the nature around you.
This may sound intimidating at first, especially since technology has been our main connection to friends and friends since the pandemic began, but this five-step guide should give you ideas about how you can plan your digital detox.
1: Pick a Day or Week for your Digital Detox
The first step to approaching your digital detox is to plan a day or week in which you are free. This could be a weekend so that you don’t have school or work, but it could also be a weekday if you don’t have anything important to do. It is best to avoid days when you may have many meetings, school assignments, or work tasks to complete so that you do not interrupt your responsibilities. The steps that come after this depend on if you are planning a single day or week-long detox. Single-day detoxes will include short-term goals and accomplishments, but a week-long detox may allow you to develop and accomplish long-term goals.
2: Plan out your day
After picking a date or dates, it is best to plan out your day to avoid ending up bored or tempted to go on your devices. This could be a simple schedule allowing you to know when to wake up, sleep, eat, learn a new hobby, practice an instrument, etc. You can include many things in your schedule, and since screen time eats away at our time management in most cases, you may find that you have extra time in your schedule for activities that you never had a chance to do before. In this situation, it may be better to over-plan and over-pack your schedule so that you will always have options to turn to if you ever get bored throughout the day. If you are planning for a week-long detox, it may be helpful to include little digital breaks in-between days to make sure that you do not have any important messages or tasks from school or work. These can be very short five or ten-minute breaks, but it also requires the self-control to turn off and put away devices after the break is over.
3: Turn all of your digital devices off and out of your bedroom
The third step is to finally turn off and put away all your devices. Again, devices can include phones, computers, TVs, watches, etc. This could be the most challenging step because an incredible amount of self-control is needed to power off and put away your devices without being tempted to go back and turn them on ten minutes later. A helpful tip includes storing your devices in places other than your bedroom. It could be very tempting in the mornings and late at night to get up from the bed and grab your devices if they are sitting in your bedroom. However, if they are in areas such as your kitchen or living room, you will be less likely to walk to those rooms to grab your device.
4: Pick up a New Hobby
After finally turning off your devices, it is now time for you to entertain yourself. These next two steps can help give you ideas about what you could do with all your free time. One of the most important things about having free time is experimenting and picking up different hobbies. This can include reading, cooking, drawing, learning an instrument, etc. You may discover that you are a natural at a new activity or find a new passion. Using this time wisely, you can leave your digital detox with a free mind and leave it with a new skill. Although you can use this time to learn any new skills and hobbies, you can also restore old hobbies. As you move forward in life, you tend to get very busy and forget all about activities you enjoyed when you were younger. By allowing yourself to indulge in these activities again, you will help yourself lower your stress levels and have fun without technology.
5: Go Outside and Explore
The final piece of advice in this digital detox guide is to go outside and explore the nature around you. Often, we are confined to our rooms and houses staring at the glowing screen, and this pandemic certainly does not help this scenario, but by going outside safely, you may discover details about nature that you weren’t aware of before. Engaging with the outdoors can include taking a walk, going on a run, playing with your pets outside, shoveling the driveway, etc. By doing this, you allow yourself to breathe in the fresh air and immerse yourself in your surroundings. This may allow you to feel a sense of relaxation and control, which is part of what benefits your physical and emotional health after a detox.