Screens are all around. We can’t seem to escape them in this day and age. Laptops, phones, iPads, tablets, game systems, televisions, etc. We have become accustomed to connecting with others everywhere around the world through a million different ways ‘screens’ allow, and all whether we actually want to or not. The great majority of us have become so attached to our screens that they have literally began to take priority in our lives. The backlash is the digital devices are drawing our attention away from everything else we should be focusing on in our lives. No matter how much technology helps to improve our work and lives, long term, frequent use can have traumatic effect on our personal stress levels. If the phone or device is on, so is your brain.
Turn off the phone to let the brain switch off. If you discover you are getting anxious with every buzz or ring of your phone or you are always thinking about work, then it may be time for a Digital Detox. This is also called a self-inflicted Black Out. During this time, all digital devices and digital activities are banned to help the person get away from the online world to enjoy people in the real world and truly relax. Without the distraction of technology, you can live in the present and appreciate the small moments of time where you find yourself enjoying life and the people in it. If you relate and are tired of the endless beeps coming from your phone, it may be time to say no more. It may be time to turn it off, put it away out of sight, and spend time focusing on yourself and your family. You may be remarkably surprised at how refreshing it feels to be free from the digital chains of control.
If you are going into an anxiety or panic attack at the thought of turning off your phone to black out, then consider a few baby steps. Start out your first digital detox by turning it off 3 hours earlier in the evenings. Work on breaking the habit of constantly checking social media sites and emails. This will help you ‘detach’ from your phone. The nigh-time blackout translates into fall asleep easier, getting a better night’s sleep, improving stress levels and increasing your mental well-being.
Learn How To Be Bored
In the 21st century, it’s hard to know what to do with our time when we don’t have some sort of screen to connect with the world on during our free time outside of work and on the weekends. Have you considered a new hobby or activity that doesn’t have anything to do with digital technology? Such as art classes, sports, or reading a real paper made book? Do you know how to be bored? Let creativity set in! Start a project around your home to make a statement. All these things will really make living through a digital detox for longer periods of time a lot easier because you are already into the habit of shifting your focus in life to other activities. Growing your list of things you have to complete without technology will greatly decrease your need to constantly check it.
Trade Social Media Platforms For Real Socializing
While social media platforms are fantastic ways to catch up on news, great content, and far away friends and family, we are also tricked into thinking we are much more social in life than we really may be. Learn to only ‘socialize’ on your favorite platforms like Twitter and Facebook once in the mornings and once in the evenings. This will encourage you to spend more time with real friends and family in your life and reconnect with the reality of the real world.
Paper – Doing It the ‘Old-Fashioned’ Way
When the alerts from your organizational apps and the beeps from your calendar start to get the better of you, it may be time to turn in the digital planner for good old fashioned traditional calendaring. Paper calendars and planners will help you stay organized in your life, stay on top of things with just a glance, and all without the constant reminders and need to interact with each ‘task’ or ‘event.’ Be sure to place your planner or calendar in a spot you see all the time, so you don’t miss any important dates or appointments.
It may seem difficult at first to truly take the time away from technology you need to do. If you are aiming for a full Black Out, then integrate these steps in your life to help prepare you for the digital detox. But then again, once you turn off the phone and put it away, you may be surprised at how easy a tech-free life can be!