We all rely on technology, and while our cell phones and social media have made us far more connected than at any other time, it has also transformed many of us into electronic junkies. Research shows that the average cell phone user checks their phone once every six and a half minutes and that almost half of us sleep with our phones next to the bed so that we won't miss an important call. If you're guilty of a technology addiction, there is help. Read on to learn how you can reconnect with the things you truly care about with a digital detox.
Setting aside the time to unplug is your first step. Ideally, you should try to unplug at least one day a week. Sound impossible? If you’re like me, the thought of being without your phone for even a few hours are enough to cause a minor panic. Yet, trust me, you've got this. Unless your work doesn't require screen time, it will probably make more sense to pick a weekend or any other day that you have mostly free. Once you've committed to your day sans screens, it will all seem a whole lot easier than you think.
The night before you begin your unplugged day, you should try to hide away the electronics. No cheating! If you have a smartwatch, it should be safely stowed somewhere along with your phone and tablet. Don't worry; they'll be waiting for you tomorrow. Be sure to power your electronic devices off entirely if you're concerned that you may be tempted to sneak a peek.
So, what is there to do once you have separated yourself from social media and Netflix? The answer is entirely up to you. Without digital distractions, you can spend your unplugged day doing the kinds of activities which help you to reconnect with your true passions and the people you love. You could get in touch with your creative side and perhaps try a new hobby such as painting or scrapbooking (the original Instagram, really). You could also work on building healthier habits such as meditation or hiking.
No matter how you spend your unplugged day, try to make it a routine. Over the weeks, you may find that you’re able to increase your time away from the screen and you’ll wonder why you were ever hooked in the first place.
Research also shows that your unplugging habit will reap other benefits too. Studies have shown that an over-reliance on social media creates greater feelings of inadequacy and jealousy. It turns out that each time we visit Facebook, many of us are subconsciously comparing our lives to those of our friends. In reducing your exposure to your feed, you'll likely feel better about your own life. Additionally, regularly checking your phone is a distraction which causes your attention span to decrease, meaning less overall productivity. Frequent unplugging will likely help you to be more focused in everything you do.
With so many great reasons to unplug, there’s no reason not to give this healthy habit a try. You have nothing to lose, and you may just find that you’re finally able to reconnect with your life.