12 Mar 8 Practical Digital Detox Tips
Life is slowly returning to normal. However, after a year of relying on our tech to stay connected, there are concerns that many of us are going to experience withdrawal symptoms as we move back to socialising in real life, and participating in non-virtual activities. Therefore, it is a good idea to check our habits and start cutting our screen time down now. Here are some digital detox tips.
1. Turn off notifications
When we see our phones light up with notifications, there is a huge temptation to check them. We often do this mindlessly, and then end up staying on our phone for a bit of time. Do not tempt yourself like this. Turn off non-urgent notifications to give yourself total control over when you are checking your phone.
2. Set a daily screen time maximum
Keep your habits in check by setting realistic goals for yourself. Especially if your work is screen-based, it is very important to ensure you are not spending extortionate amounts of time staring at a screen during the day. Manage this, and you will also find this is something you can reduce over the weeks as you gain independence from your devices.
3. Set app limits
Moreover, cap the time that certain addictive apps eat into your day. Whether social media, gaming, or other, we all have certain apps that we find particularly difficult to get off of and that are guilty of rocketing our screen time. Allow yourself to enjoy a little time on them, but also be strict on yourself, and set yourself reasonable limits so that you are aware of your usage.
4. Plan screen free activities
Often we turn to our screens when we are bored, as they are the quickest and easiest way to guarantee entertainment. But this instant gratification in the form of light relief from boredom may leave you feeling lethargic and unhappy, especially if you have spent most of your day on a screen already. Therefore, plan activities that you and others can enjoy so that you don’t have to resort to your screens.
5. Stop screen use 1-2 hours before bed
Blue light keeps us awake, and so limiting your blue light exposure before bed will be beneficial for your sleep. Too much of it, and you may struggle to fall asleep. Left awake in bed, this could lead many of us to grab our phone. Sleeping proper and good hours is a foolproof way to curb excess screen time.
6. Take media breaks
Often our high screen time can be due to our obsession with checking for updates, whether from the news or social media. Give yourself a break from this once or twice a week, and on these days try not to go on the certain culprit sites or feeds. This will give you time to focus on your non-virtual relationships and feel more connected to others. It will also train you to live without having to regularly check your phone for updates.
7. Seek help
Do not be ashamed if cutting down your screen time is something you are struggling to do alone and if these digital detox tips are only helping to scratch the surface of your problem. If you feel that you are really having difficulties, it could be wise to seek help – either professional, or even just from family and friends. If you know others who are struggling with the same issues, making a support group would be a great way of growing real life connections whilst all focussing on getting offline.
8. Every time you go to pick up your phone, ask yourself “Why?”
The best way to break a habit is to interrogate it every time you are about to do it. Asking yourself why you need to go on your phone will make you aware of how often you are unconsciously picking it up. If you have a genuine answer, you can go on your phone guilt-free, knowing that you are having a more mindful experience.