how to do a digital detox

how to do a digital detox

Posted by Erica Patterson on

sometimes, life gets hectic and we need a break from our daily routines. this can be anything from taking time to relax or doing nothing to going on vacation. another way to take a break is by practicing digital detoxing—and when it comes to mental health, this practice can be hugely beneficial!

take a break from your phone to be present with your family, friends, and yourself.

you can’t fully enjoy being with your family, friends, and yourself if you are constantly distracted by your phone. take a break from your phone to be present with others in real life.

identify your triggers and how you respond to them.

when you're feeling the urge to check your phone, ask yourself what the trigger was and how you responded. for example:

  • when I get bored during a meeting, I check my phone because it’s easy and doesn't require any effort on my part.
  • when I am upset about something that happened at work, checking Facebook helps distract me from thinking about it for a little bit until I can go home and cry into some Ben & Jerry’s.
  • if there is nothing else going on in my life (which is rare), checking Instagram gives me something to do instead of just sitting around and waiting for people to text me back or call me back or whatever another version of reaching out has become the norm these days—something we will cover shortly!

stay internally invested in the bigger picture.

we often get so caught up in the day-to-day that we forget that life is about more than just the daily grind.

take a moment to ask yourself: what are you doing? why are you doing it? Is it worth it? How does it fit into your bigger picture, and who will benefit from your efforts? when we take control of our lives and make decisions based on these answers, we're less likely to feel overwhelmed by stress or anxiety.

meditate or practice mindful breathing.

meditation can help you feel more relaxed and focused, which will reduce stress and anxiety. If you are new to meditation, start small with just a few minutes of practice every day; the more you do it, the easier it will become to find moments throughout your day when you can take time out for yourself. you can also try using apps like headspace or calm that offer guided meditations in bite-sized chunks so that they fit into your schedule easily.

mindful breathing helps you calm down and relieve stress by focusing on something simple (inhaling/exhaling), without judgmental thoughts getting in the way of what's happening right now.* If this sounds intimidating: don't worry! There are many ways to learn how to relax, including simple practices like deep breathing or listening to relaxing music.*

get outside each day.

a recent study from the university of michigan found that spending time in nature can significantly improve our mood and cognition. so get outside! it's not just about getting some sunlight (though you should definitely do that), but also about connecting with nature and letting your mind wander.

let's be clear: this doesn't mean you have to go on a long hike or bike ride every day if you don't want to—you can just as easily sit down on a park bench, relax, breathe in the fresh air, look around at trees/grass/water...just take time out of your day to appreciate the beauty around you. and remember: it's good for us!

don't use social media as a coping mechanism.

social media is often used as a coping mechanism, but it can also be a source of social anxiety, depression, and more. If you're feeling down in the dumps and reach for your phone to scroll through Instagram or Twitter, consider why you're doing so. are you using it as a distraction from something else? is this helping you with your feelings?

a lot of people use social media as an outlet for their emotions because they feel like they don't have anyone else around them who understands what they're going through or cares enough about them that they'd want support from them if possible (or at least some sympathy). but in reality, there are plenty of people who would love nothing more than help support those who need it—and if none are available right now (or ever), maybe try talking out loud into the void like some kind of crazy person until someone answers back! 

it's worked for me before when trying not only to solve problems but also just vent about things going on in my life without having any real solution besides letting others know how bad things are without actually saying anything outright offensive enough that could end up making someone feel worse afterward rather than better."

use technology intentionally to take care of your mental health.

  • for example, use technology to help you get out of your head and into the present moment. Here are some ways:
  • practice mindfulness breathing exercises with a free app like calm or headspace;
  • take a walk in nature;
  • meditate for 10 minutes at home; and/or
  • practice mindful awareness by focusing on how to be present at the moment during daily activities like eating breakfast, taking a shower, and preparing dinner.

create new rituals that don't include screens.

if you find that you're struggling to stay away from your devices, try finding some new activities that don't involve screens. here are some ideas:

  • go to the park or another outdoor location and take a walk.
  • do a craft with friends or family. you could even make something for someone else in need of some digital detoxing!
  • make dinner (or order takeout) and have a movie night; invite all your friends over if possible.
  • read a book instead of scrolling through your phone on the bus ride home from work--you can also read it at home before bedtime if you want to relax before switching off for the night.
  • watch an episode of your favorite TV show on Hulu or Netflix instead of scrolling through Instagram during commercial breaks--or better yet, get together with friends for game night! that way everyone stays glued together without being distracted by their phones when they're not in use! if none of those options appeal to you, why not pop open one of those old board games under storage? they'll be fun ways to spend time together without feeling like you're missing out on anything important online!

practice self-compassion and recognize when you need to take a moment for yourself, away from electronics.

practice self-compassion and recognize when you need to take a moment for yourself, away from electronics.

self-compassion can help you with the process of unplugging by encouraging you to be kind and gentle toward yourself, even when it's challenging. consider these questions:

  • how do I feel?
  • what am I thinking?
  • what is my body doing?

when we practice self-compassion, we give ourselves the space to reflect on what's going on inside of us without judgment or criticism. we are simply observing our experiences without trying to change them or fix them. we may notice that we're feeling anxious, sad, or angry; that we have racing thoughts; or physical sensations like tension in our shoulders or breathlessness in our chest. we can also notice whether there are people around us who might be able to feel more comfortable if we weren't using technology as a coping mechanism (e.g., texting friends while they're telling stories).

be intentional about creating time for the things you enjoy doing in real life (especially those who you love).

it's easy to let technology get in the way of your real life. to keep from getting sidetracked, be intentional about creating time for the things you enjoy doing in real life (especially those who you love). don't let technology get in the way of your relationships with friends and family, even if that means setting aside a specific night each week when everyone puts their phones away.

you should also think about how you use technology as a coping mechanism. if you're using it as a way to escape from difficult emotions or situations, try finding another way of coping instead—one that doesn't involve distracting yourself by going online or playing video games late at night when everyone else is asleep.

digital detoxing can help benefit both your mental health and relationships

how to detox from social media:

  • Delete your account(s) and start fresh.
  • Block certain people who are toxic or hurtful in your life.

how to detox from technology:

  • headphones can help you block out any distractions that come from the outside world.

it can be helpful if you have a plan for what you'd like to do with your phone during work hours, especially if you're working in an office where others may be around who aren't participating in this exercise at the same time as you are (and will see that they have the option of reaching out). try setting aside one hour per day where no one has access or control over your device so that it's just sitting there untouched on its own and not distracting anyone else either! this way, everyone wins!

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I hope that this has been useful and you found some new ideas for how to practice a digital detox. at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that there is no one right way to do digital detoxing. what your method looks like will depend on your own needs and circumstances, but the key is finding something that works for you!

ready to start your self-care journey take the quiz and follow us on social media @shopblendedd for more self-care tips, products and more! 

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