Landline Telephone Day was just the other day, and it reminded me of how differently we used to associate and use the phone! We definitely had to be more patient, we had to share with multiple people, we didn’t have it at our sides all the time, and it wasn’t a multi-function device. Phone was phone. It made calls, and that was it!
Now, we have these incredible smart phones, and to be honest I’m incredibly grateful for mine. It helps me run my business. Being able to take high quality photos, edit them, make graphics, connect on social media apps, text, call, use GPS, and so much more all from one device is incredibly convenient! And I used to be someone who fought against technology and wanted to stick with the “analog” way of doing things forever.
At this point, most of us are incredibly connected to technology in some way or another. Whether it’s our phones, laptops, televisions, or whatever. Technology is everywhere and it’s become integrated into our lives. We aren’t even aware of how much it is until the power goes out one night and we’re like holy crap, I guess I’m a colonial person now living by candlelight and we have to play a board game? It’s insane!
As convenient as it may be to have all these amazing devices that make our lives easier and connect us to the world, there are, of course, disadvantages as well. We get shoulder, back, and headaches from our posture at the computer and from using screens for too long. Our eyes get strained, we can develop a very sedentary lifestyle, and stay up for too long, messing with our natural circadian rhythm. We can rely on Google for everything, forgetting important things.We ignore our friends in person. And we generally just stop connecting with our own inner thoughts and bodies.
Intentionally detoxing is an important task. We’re often too hard on ourselves because of all the comparisons we’re making from people we see online. We say yes to things we don’t really want to do. We think we should be doing things because we’re pressured by society and social media to do things for no real good reason. We connect into relationships that are toxic and not serving us. We consume, consume, consume without remembering to create.
I’m not suggesting we cut out technology and screens completely by any means. I mean, I wouldn’t have a job without them! But what I am suggesting is that we become more mindful about the way we use them and that we schedule in intentional detox sessions as often as possible. This can be for a few hours, a day, or even an entire weekend if your life and schedule allows for it. It can also take many different forms depending on what you feel you’re most connected to and dependent on. Your detox, disconnecting, and unplugging will look different from someone else’s depending on your lifestyle and what you think you ultimately need to focus on. It’s all about refocusing back on what we value, getting back to what’s important to us, and reconnecting to ourselves.
That said, I have some ideas and tips for how you might want to disconnect and unplug when you’re planning a detox from screens, technology, and social media.
10 Ways To Disconnect And Unplug From Screens And Technology
1. Start by turning off all your push notifications. We’re constantly getting little blue lights and pop ups on our screens. What if you just turned those off? You know you need to eventually check things. You can set an alarm to check your e-mail, social media, etc. once or twice a day. Nothing is going to blow up if you turn off your push notifications.
2. Try not using your phone/screens for the first and last hour of being awake every day. This can be really hard, especially because it’s what we use for our alarm and we so mindlessly just grab it to check our notifications, check the weather, the news, etc. But what if you developed a magical morning ritual or nightly routine that you focused on instead so you waited to grab you phone until after the ritual was finished in the morning and you said goodnight to your phone before you started your routine at night? (It will help you fall asleep, I’ll tell you that much!) Tip: try getting an old school alarm clock!
3. Download apps on your phone and your computer that disable your internet connection during certain hours of the day, or ones that kick you off an app after you’ve used it for a certain amount of time. You can also start just by downloading an app that tells you how often you’ve been on your phone, how many times you’ve turned it on, how many hours you’ve spent on certain apps, etc. to gain some perspective.
4. Move your electronics to a specific room. Let your bedroom be for sleepy and sexy times and that’s it! If we merge electronics and work into our beds, it can get really messy. So let your digital use be a conscious decision that you need to walk into the office or living room to use your computer. (Same with chargers!)
5. Plan out a day of activities that won’t require you to use digital devices in advance. Download directions and print them out, find a bunch of places you want to drive to or explore, bring your camera (you can even use your phone as the camera, just put it on Airplane mode so it’s only functioning as a camera), a book, a journal, a picnic, etc. I love exploring roadside attractions, abandoned places, and weird kitschy stuff. Check out Roadside America and Atlas Obscura for ideas in that world!
6. Plan a whole vacation, even if it’s just a night at a hotel or a weekend away with someone else as your accountability partner. Do all the things the place you’re in has to offer and forget about technology. Immerse yourself in the culture!
7. Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques as often as you can. We can get really tense from all the stress that communicative technology and screens gives us, so we need to wind down and replace that addictive tendency with a good habit. Meditation, tapping, journaling, coloring, stretching, yoga, chanting, mindful eating, cooking, reading, spending time in nature, cuddling, etc. are all great ideas for things to do on a regular basis. Take my FREE e-course on Mindfulness!
8. Purposefully start carrying your phone in a different place (different pocket, different part of your purse), and notice how often you go to reach for it. Replace that empty reach with a good habit, like saying a positive affirmation like, “I am free from the chains of screens, I am immersed in my beautiful life”.
9. Start having conversations with people with eye contact and no phones! Make everyone put their phones in a bowl when they come to a gathering and value the fact that everyone left their houses to share time together. Respect that time and invest in each other’s emotions, stories, and friendships.
10. Turn on autoresponders for your e-mail and text messages, put an announcement up on social media that says you’re going to be gone. Put it out there in the world that you’re taking a break, and ease your conscience a little that you’re not ignoring anyone, because you’re announcing you’re intentional absence. You deserve this time.
So how do you feel about your connection to screens, technology, and social media? Do you think you could go a day without it? Let me know below!
Photo: Maura Housley