Hunched over the laptop after work? Phone tucked under your pillow at night? Glued to the iPad on your commute? You might be a good candidate for a digital detox. By periodically unplugging, you can start reclaiming the real life experiences all those gadgets steal from us daily.
Learn to Relax
As you start warming up to the idea of digital detoxing, you’ll need to re-learn how to entertain yourself without the glow of a screen, or learn how to not entertain yourself at all. Taking time to be still and quiet the mind is a great way to clear your head. Refresh your brain by giving it a few moments throughout the day to wander, to take in the surroundings and appreciate where you are in the moment in the real world, not the digital one.
Hello Darkness, My Old Friend
In the evenings, saying “lights out” – and actually meaning it – has never been more important. You simply must create a nightly digital sundown to get sound sleep and support your physical and mental health. Think screens before bed aren’t really that big a deal? Harvard researchers would tell you otherwise: they recently found that those infernal machines we love so much can disrupt melatonin production, sleep quality and mood. To help your body achieve the rest it needs, embrace the darkness – as in detox nightly, simply by banishing all electronics from the Bedroom.
Free Your Mind, the Rest Will Follow
How to give your brain, eyes, wrists and fingers a much-needed rest? Step away from the blue- light-beaming screen and go old school, using a pen and paper every now and then. It may feel strange at first, but doing so will give your exhausted faculties a workout different from what they’ve grown accustomed to – and may help develop a few new neural pathways to boot. Make notes, doodle during dull meetings, write a love song or start sketching – whatever moves you.
Bring in the Cavalry
If you, or perhaps those close to you, feel you may be on the verge of crossing into digital addiction, don’t get testy, get help. In the past year or two, an entire industry has emerged to help the over-connected dial-down their digital reliance. There are digital detox courses, camps, books and seminars, and even facilities with treatment programs akin to those originally designed for substance abuse. Yes, all that connectivity can come at a high price, but at least now there are help and treatment options, as well as apps (!) to help cut the digital cord – to a point we presume.