25 Nov 3 easy steps to a digital detox
The evidence is piling up on the damage over-use of digital screens is doing to our focus, concentration, sleep and grey matter. There’s no doubt that in the few years since the smartphone was invented we have become a generation that is screen-obsessed. Adults now spend more time on digital devices than they do asleep, and children are following very closely behind.
Undertaking a digital detox is becoming more and more common. We organise digital detox breaks and digital detox holidays as a way of giving your brain some very much needed downtime from all those digital screens. But there are three easy steps you can take at home to give yourself similar benefits regularly when you’re not going on a longer digital detox retreat.
Buy an alarm clock
We know from the experience of those who have attended our digital detox retreats that the single most effective thing you can do to nip screens cravings in the bud is to wake up to an alarm clock instead of a phone alarm. So many of us grab our phones last thing at night and then again first thing in the morning (even before getting out of bed) that escaping our screens for a restful period of time has become impossible. And the blue light emitting from these screens in our bedrooms is playing havoc with our sleep patterns.
If you buy a separate alarm clock and leave your phone firmly outside your bedroom door you start the day off screen-free (and almost certainly will have deeper and more restful sleep too).
Unplug two days a week
We’ve got into the habit of completely unplugging from digital screens every weekend and we can report how relaxing and energising our weekends now are (like weekends are supposed to be!). The movement to carry out a digital detox through screen-free weekends began in Silicon Valley with the ‘Internet sabbath’ movement and we promote it as a key part of our 5:2 Digital Diet – aka the Intermittent Phone Fasting Diet.
With 60% of adults reporting they no longer find conventional holidays relaxing or a real break from work, thanks to work email accounts on their smartphones and text messaging, it’s clear we all need to rediscover what proper downtime really feels like.
Remove social media apps from your phone
Actually using our phones AS a phone (yes, to ring someone) is now only the 5th most used function on a smartphone. Many of us would admit that incessant scrolling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see what’s going on in our social networks has now become the main use of our phone. It’s the one thing that tempts us the most to pick up our phone and break any self-imposed digital detox break.
This impulse even has a name, FOMO, or fear of missing out. Removing social media apps completely from your smartphone, either permanently or regularly as part of a digital detox, is a reliable way of cutting down on reasons to pick up your phone. And with a recent study showing that just a week without Facebook improves your life satisfaction, it’ll probably leave you happier too.
So, three very easy steps to do a digital detox at home and, apart from the alarm clock, they’ll cost you absolutely nothing. Try them for a while and once you see the benefits consider doing a longer digital detox through a retreat or a digital detox holiday.