It Might be Time for a Digital Detox

Is it just us, or is it becoming increasingly difficult to disconnect from our technology? Whether it’s in your pocket, on your wrist, or in your ear, our gadgets have us constantly connected to the outside world.

And that means we’re never completely untethered from emails, alerts, messages, “likes,” pings, and posts.

Last week, we discussed the perils of “technostress” — the inability to cope with new technologies in a healthy manner — and how the constant threat of a digital disruption can affect our mental health. This week, we are focusing on how to disconnect, not just from our gadgets, but from the entire digital universe.

Call it what you will — a day to disconnect, a digital detox, a social media sabbatical — but the point is: We can all benefit from some time away from our technology.

Follow the tips below and use this Monday to disconnect; you’ll likely be shocked at the amount of time (and sanity) reclaimed.

Add Some Alternatives

Boredom draws us to our digital devices, which is why it’s crucial to fill our spare time with fun, stimulating, and engaging off-line alternatives. Crossword puzzles, novels, Sudoku, or a notepad/sketch pad are all things you could potentially carry with you to fill up the inevitable spells of downtime.

Simplify the Morning Routine

Many of us use our smartphone as an alarm clock, but this makes it dangerously easy to start the day with a quick check of your email or Facebook feed. To avoid this scenario, either buy an alarm clock or plug in your phone a safe distance away from your bed/nightstand. Pick out your clothes the night before so that you’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as you wake up.

Mind Your Technology Triggers

Any pause in our day is an unfortunate opportunity to check our phones, watches, or whatever other electronic advice you’ve managed to attach to your body. Make a list of your trouble areas — the commute to work, lunch breaks, right before bed — and try to make your gadget physically inaccessible while in these scenarios. Over time you’ll be able to mitigate or extinguish the trigger.

Establish Rules and Boundaries

Creating boundaries is a skill that can (and should) be applied to all elements of daily life, but they’re especially crucial when it comes to your “connectivity.” Let the important people in your life know the times of the day that you will be inaccessible. That way mom/dad/spouse won’t get too concerned when you don’t respond to their message(s).

No Phones at the Dinner Table

Dining with friends, family, or a significant other is the perfect opportunity to disconnect from technology. Be in the moment; you’ll be amazed at how much you can retain/remember when you give your guest your full attention.