The ability to carry a miniature computer with us wherever we venture throughout the day and into the night is a modern miracle. Never before in history have we had access to an infinite amount of information at the push of a button, whether it be tomorrow’s weather forecast, or the latest Instagram post from our favourite celebrity.
It is this constant and continuous contact with our devices however that has bred a new form of unease. Feelings of anxiety, dread and even FOMO can rear their ugly heads when we are glued to our phones and laptops, never daring to look away should we miss a beat from the happenings in world around us. We have become slaves to our devices, elevating those small blue screens to places of prominence in our lives, where scrolling and double tapping win out over human interaction, and text messages trump face-to-face meetings.
If you have ever considered a digital detox, there is no better time than now to dive in, even if only for a short time. From a small switch off to a full scale digital separation, unplugging can deliver a myriad of benefits, from improved focus, strengthened relationships, and a sense of calm, peace and ease. The below steps can help you get there.
Stage 1 – the night owl
How do you spend your evenings? Are you engaged in robust conversation with family and friends around the dinner table, or are you glued to a screen, scrolling, liking and falling into another mindless state of idleness through the lures of the internet? Perhaps you are even re-re-re-watching old episodes of that series you have seen one too many times. If this is you, it’s time to reclaim your nights!
For a small nightly detox, start by switching your phone to airplane mode at a set time each night. Not only will you not be able to check social media, you will also shut off from emails and other disruptive pings that draw attention away from the more important things in life; the things that actually matter. Use your downtime to actually connect with those around you, whether it be through a walk, enjoying a meal, or simply relaxing solo with a book.
Being off the air over the evening delivers precious hour to socialise, unwind and rest. Bonus points for waiting until you get to work the next morning to switch your phone back, but in any event, this nightly detox is a simple yet effective way to disconnect quietly with ease.
Stage 2 – the day tripper
If you want to go that step further, try devoting one whole day of your weekend to a digital detachment. Plan your engagements in advance (which will force you to stick to them!), or else plan a day of nothingness, and leave your phone out of sight. You may be amazed at how much spare time suddenly appears. All those tasks you have been wanting to do but never have time may now seem feasible.
Stage 3 – the weekender
So you survived a Saturday without any sort of device? Why not stretch is out for the entire weekend? Use the time to fully rest, recharge and reboot – move, read, cook, chat. Whatever you do, you can now give it your complete all, with no distracting text pings or anxiety-inducing email notifications.
Going offline, even for one evening, frees up the space we desperately need to reconnect with ourselves, our loved ones, and be at ease with the world around us, allowing time to focus on the things that matter, not the superficial. And what better time to start than now?