How to make the most of a Digital Detox
It may sound a little bit contradictory coming from a digital media outlet, but every now and again you need to just put your phone down, lock away the games consoles and hide your TV remote, all in a bid to press PAUSE on your digital life.
Sitting in front of blue light and screens too long, too often or late at night can be very detrimental to your physical and mental health. Taking a break every now and again is therefore essential if you want to be a healthy and well-balanced person. It could be for 24 hours, 72 hours or even a whole week, but believe us, you’ll feel better for doing so!
So read these tips, then turn your phone off, set an out-of-office reply on your email and enjoy being offline.
If you’re going to be offline, then you need to turn off those little temptations. Simply putting them to one side or in a drawer isn’t enough. You’ll have your hands on them checking Facebook in no time. Let your phone, laptop and tablet batteries die and hide the chargers somewhere. That way you won’t be able to use them even if you feel tempted. Put the TV remotes and games controllers in places that are difficult to get to or give them to loved ones to take care of. The thought of their disappointed faces when you ask to have them back ahead of schedule will be enough motivation to keep going.
MAKE SURE PEOPLE KNOW
Tell your loved ones or business associates that you’re going to be spending some time offline and that you won’t be replying to their messages. You’ll feel a huge weight lifted off your shoulders knowing that you don’t have to check your email every 20 minutes or be bombarded by memes in those WhatsApp groups you’re in. If anyone really wants to speak to you, they should come and pay you a visit and, who knows, you might even end up having the adventure of a lifetime with that person, instead of just sending Snapchats to each other from the sofa.
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
If you’re going to do this, then make sure it happens on a day that you can realistically pull it off. Choose a weekend when you don’t have anything important planned or any major projects going on at work. Plan in advance what activities you want to do and with whom. If you want to stay at home and read, then buy your books and magazines in advance. Want to be out and about? Then arrange a meeting point with your friends in advance and actually meet at the agreed time and place. You won’t need to ring your friends to find out where they are if you all stick to the plan.
TRY AND INVOLVE YOUR FRIENDS
We all know the situation: you meet friends to have a drink and a chat and you end up spending more time instagramming your food and checking the football scores than actually talking to each other. To prevent this, get them to put their phones in the middle of table and agree that the first one to touch their phone without a valid reason pays the bill. You’ll soon be deep in conversation! Or better still, try and get them to take part in the complete detox with you. Suffering together is better than on your own.
ENJOY THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Nothing beats a bit of nature to make you forget about that YouTube video of kittens cuddling rabbits a friend wanted you to watch immediately. Plan a weekend in the great outdoors. Spend the day hiking or rambling, go for a picnic, play a bit of football or simply invite people around to chill in the garden. And the best thing is you live for every moment a lot more, because you won’t be constantly instagramming or snapchatting it.
Living your life offline is almost impossible these days, so you’ll inevitably have to turn those devices back on at some point. The initial barrage of information, emails, texts and messages could be a little overwhelming at first, so prioritise what it is you actually need to do. Perhaps it’s the perfect chance to give your socials a spring clean by unsubscribing to newsletters and pages you don’t need anymore, or you could decide to check social media less often. You lasted this long without them, so why do you need to check all of those apps every hour?
Don’t make this a one-off thing. Try and do it as regularly as possible, perhaps increasing the amount of time you stay offline each month. If your job and life doesn’t allow for that, then just try to make it a monthly thing to spend one day or weekend a month offline. If your life is just too busy to survive one day without your devices, then you really should take a step back and re-evaluate what’s important to you.