Digital Detox: Making Time for Yourself

In the world of constant scrolling, liking, swiping etc. our eyes are rarely at rest and the moments of not having the blue light engulfing our faces get rarer and rarer. For a moment now, check in, and see roughly how many times do you open Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, etc. daily? And how many of those times you get caught up in a mindless scrolling and swiping? The answer most likely is a few too many.

Healthy habits and healthy boundaries in this hyper-connected world can truly be a key to staying calm and reducing the amount of stress in your life. Digital detox refers to a time period during which a person refrains from using a smartphone, tablet, computer, or any other form of technology; and it can last anything from an hour to days and months. There are numerous benefits of doing a digital detox, it can reduce stress levels, increase focus, improve productivity, creativity and most importantly give you time and appreciation for spending more time with yourself and connecting with people in real life with no screens in between. With smartphones being an essential part of the digital age we live in, digital detox or tech brakes are becoming a vital part to bring balance. Today it is easy to get in touch with people, not just by simply calling someone (in truth that option is rarely used), but by using apps like FaceTime, WhatsApp, Messanger, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. etc, so no wonder that more and more people seek out a down time from technologies and the Internet. There is a sense of liberation that comes with disconnecting from the social webs and reconnecting with yourself.

If you are not ready or simply can’t afford to have a tech break for a whole day, weeks or a month, there are some simple steps that you can take, to break free from your phone for a few healthy moments. Here are some of my top tips that have helped me to create healthier relationship with technology and as a result it has helped me to create more time for things that matter and things that I enjoy more, and they have also improved my relationships with people around me.

No technology during meal times.

That means also no phones on the table laying face down, doesn’t matter whether you are eating at home or out, put the phone away. During meal times I put my phone on silent/flight mode and I put it as far away as possible. Meal times are great time when to connect with the person you are eating with, it is time when you can appreciate food that you just cooked and that you are eating now. Be aware and remember to chew, your gut will be grateful.

No phones or laptops in the bedroom.

If you use your phone as an alarm clock, it might be time to invest in some old school alarm clock that has only one function – to wake you up. Switching to alarm clock will also improve your overall sleep quality; you can read about it more here.

Open apps with a purpose.

If I don’t have a particular reason for opening an app, instead of opening it I drink a glass of water, it’s a good trick that not only helps me to stay away from the screen, but it also helps me to stay hydrated. Checking apps with a purpose will help you to be more mindful whenever you pick up your phone, hence less mindless scrolling and more time for doing things that bring you joy.

Limit your time online.

Sometimes it is just that simple, limit your time online. Let’s say you want to catch up on Facebook or Instagram, before you start put on a timer for 30 min, when the timer goes off, put the phone down and go and explore the world outside.

Introduce morning and evening rituals.

Bring into your life some rituals/things that bring you joy. And don’t check your phone before you have finished those rituals in the morning or after you have finished them in the evening. Let’s say check your phone in the morning only after you have breakfast or after you finish morning meditation. And put your phone away an hour or two before you go to bed. It will make the start of your day more productive and it will improve the quality of your sleep in the evening.

Get creative.

There are numerous other ways how you can reduce your time in front of the screens, so be creative and see what works for you. Find something that you can do and that you enjoy when you put your phone away – write, colour, paint, knit, play table games, exercise or simply go for a walk. Less screen time will help your brain to better process information; it will reduce overall stress levels in your life and improve your productivity and wellbeing.

And when you feel ready, like it won’t be a burden, take a digital detox break for a whole day or maybe two. If you need an extra encouragement and gentle reminders every day on how to take a tech break, you can sign up to Wild Woman Strong’s digital detox e-mail series, which will help you to reclaim more time of your day and turn down your technology usage.

Baiba Šustere

Baiba Šustere is a staff writer and wellness expert for My Good Planet. Specialising in mindfulness, health and wellbeing, Baiba's work has inspired and touched many of our readers over the course of her time with us. Her time studying to become a Yoga teacher in India gave her a unique perspective on life; one which she generously shares with us regularly.