These past few weeks, I gave myself permission to cave into my digital addiction while going through many unpleasant life changes. Practicing digital wellness requires mindfulness, discipline, and dedication, which I felt I didn’t have the energy for.
So, I held on tightly to my phone and binged on the internet day after day to escape the discomfort of dealing with my reality.
The internet provided an easy and fast escape from my emotions.
I unblocked Safari. I binged on articles, blogs, forums, and YouTube videos for hours. I stayed up all night on my phone until I fell asleep from exhaustion. I relapsed to being an information junkie. My phone became an emotional crutch, dutifully providing comfort and escape, one article (and another inspiring blog post!) at a time.
I wouldn’t have been inspired to write this post if it didn’t dawn on me yesterday that I’m experiencing physical effects from my excessive digital use.
My eyes feel strained. I feel lethargic. I have constant minor headaches. I feel aimless if I’m not glued to a screen. I can’t fall asleep without my phone. Few of the many reasons I have been practising digital wellness for the past few years.
I knew it was time for a digital detox.
. . .
What is a digital detox?
“… a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, and is regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.”
Paying attention to and assessing what we do and how we feel when we are on our devices can help us figure out if we can benefit from a digital detox.
If you find yourself frustrated with how consumed you are with technology on a daily basis, a digital detox might be a good challenge to embark on.
Once I become aware of how addicted I feel to my phone, and I become restless without being online, I know I need a reset.
A digital detox helps me reset my relationship with my phone and the internet. It helps me get back to using my phone as a tool, and not a distraction device. It allows me to use the internet mindfully, and feel more in control of the time I spend online.
Ideas for a digital detox
There are many ways to do a digital detox, including technology-free retreats and going offline for a specific period of time.
A YouTuber did a week without a phone challenge,
“This week, I spent 7 full days without a phone. No mindlessly clicking through stories, no getting stuck for hours on the explore page, no reloading my likes and views and comments every 10 minutes. I had a growing suspicion I had a phone and social media addiction and it was time to quit cold turkey to find out just what life is like without a smartphone.”
I personally prefer small, daily, behavioral changes.
Since I have a slight obsession with making lists, I wrote down the following ideas for a digital detox:
○ Declutter phone: remove Safari and other distracting apps. Use laptop for entertainment.
○ Charge phone away from the bedside. Don’t sleep with your phone.
○ Block. Block. Block.
○ Put phone away. Stop carrying phone around the house.
○ Stop walking around with phone in hand, or looking at phone while walking.
○ Stop obsessively checking notifications. I put my phone on Do Not Disturb for a reason!
○ Put phone away completely for a full day.
○ Leave phone at home when I go to kickboxing.
These ideas have worked for me in the past, so I know they will be effective this time around too. I’m looking forward to spending less time online, and more time doing things I value.
Until next time… 🙂