How many times a day do you reach for your cell phone? What about your tablet? Your laptop? At any hour of the day or night, we can tap into a steady stream of information and entertainment options. And while we are more connected and informed than at any other time in history, we are also struggling with high levels of stress, anxiety and physical strain.
One way to combat the negative effects of technology is to regularly perform a digital detox, a set period of time during which you separate yourself completely from all electronic gadgets, such as smartphones and computers. Instead of interacting with your devices, you spend time with friends or family, indulge in a hobby, or just sit and daydream.
“A digital detox is a great way to reestablish relationships and regain clarity in your personal or professional life,” says Sandra Sessoms-Penny, a life coach in Yorktown, Virginia. “It’s also helpful for developing fresh perspectives and formulating new ideas.”
Giving up your digital devices, even for just a few hours or days, can be tough. Here are three tips to help you make the time you devote to a digital detox as relaxing and rejuvenating as possible.
1. Use Technology.
Using technology to sever ties with technology might sound counterintuitive, but like just about everything else, there’s an app for that. Apps like ShutApp and Offtime allow you to set aside time during the day to unplug from your device. For those who are hesitant or outright terrified by the thought of a digital detox, this is a great way to test the waters. Start out by setting the timer for 15 minutes, and as you grow more comfortable, disconnect for longer increments of time.
2. Detox at Work.
Setting aside a period of time each day to unplug from devices can be a productivity booster. Concentrating on the task at hand while also juggling incoming e-mails, calls and texts causes stress and leads to mistakes and missed deadlines. Disconnecting for even just an hour or two each day so you can focus on your work without distractions can make for a happier, healthier and more productive workday.
3. Take a Digital Vacation.
Think those carefree summer days of childhood are long gone? Think again. Summer camp for adults is a real thing, and it’s also a great way to free yourself from digital tethers. Camp Grounded offers adult summer camp experiences in a variety of scenic locales in California, New York and North Carolina. Campers take part in archery, swimming, singing around the campfire and munching s’mores, all without their phones.
If summer camp isn’t your thing, staycations work too. You don’t need to spend money or travel great distances to enjoy a respite from technology. Turn off the phone and spend the afternoon at the local beach, go for a long walk with your pet, or take your children to an amusement park for the day.
Even if you aren’t feeling overwhelmed right now, a routine digital detox is still valuable, as it can help reduce your chances of developing burnout. It is easy to dismiss all of the times you tap, swipe, and type, but each of those touches tugs you away from your life, even if just for a second or two. Over time, those tiny touches add up to hours and days spent with your device. Doing a digital detox from time to time can be a welcome break from the constant distraction of technology.