Time for a digital detox

Halfway through the morning, you’ve already checked Facebook a few times, scrolled through Instagram, and Twitter, and read every email that’s landed in your inbox.

Does this leave you feeling empowered and energised?

Studies shown that often times, it doesn’t.

While the digital world certainly has its benefits, it also adds busyness, interruption, and unnecessary competition to our lives.

American researcher, Dr. John Demartini, recently shared, “If you feel that you’re not fulfilled at the end of the day because you’ve been inundated with distractions, you’ve dealt with only low priority stuff, you’re spaced-out, overwhelmed and angered, they’re all symptoms of needing a digital detox.”

But what does that mean? What is a digital detox?

A digital detox, or digi-tox, involves removing yourself from the distractions of digitalisation. As Milly Stillinovic writes in Forbes, “It’s refraining from the use of electronic devices as a means to lower stress levels.”

Well, that sounds like something we could all sign up for: less stress!

A detox can help us separate from the overwhelming power of social media and screen time. Detoxing from the digital world clears our minds and spirits like a garbage truck hauling away rubbish. When we disconnect, we receive the gift of time, energy, and confidence to do things that are meaningful.

When I first heard about digital detoxing, I thought, “Wow, how could I ever do it? I need to stay connected with my family, friends, and community.”

I then learned that a detox doesn’t mean completely giving up these things, or that you aren’t able to stay connected.

It just means you establish healthy boundaries, so you’re not tempted to constantly compare yourself to other people’s ‘show reel’ lives or spend time scrolling your newsfeed instead of reading a good book.

A digital detox comes in many shapes and sizes. You can create one that’s right for you.

Design your own digital detox using the following guide:

1. Establish a timeframe (and stick to it!): Typical detoxes range from one week to one month, or even more. Once you’ve set it, don’t fall back on your commitment.

2. Set your parameters: Are you disconnecting from all of social media or just one platform? Are there days and times you will allow yourself to log on (i.e. one time per day or only on Saturdays)? How will you handle work email when not in the office?

3. Alter your notifications: If your phone or computer alerts you to every email, post, or comment, adjust them so they aren’t disruptive to your life. Set alerts only for things that are truly critical and time-sensitive.

4. Communicate: If you think others will notice your change in activity or availability, be sure to communicate with them ahead of time. Ask them to call or text, instead of Facebook message you, for example. Let them know you’re doing this for you and would love their support.

5. Pick positive replacements: What will take the place of your digital time? Is it trying a new hobby, exercising, sleeping more, or planting a garden? This is your opportunity to add spice, vitality, and much-deserved rest to your life.

6. Get accountable: One of the biggest challenges of a digital detox is holding yourself accountable and not slipping on the parameters you’ve set. Consider inviting a friend to do a digital detox with you. You can check in and help each other stay on-track.

7. Develop a sustainable change: Just like eating healthy, you have to create sustainability for the change to stick. For example, giving up Facebook forever might not be sustainable, but checking it twice a day is a reasonable middle ground.

The goal of a digital detox is to institute a healthy balance in your life. It’s to give you an opportunity to be your best, spend time on what’s important, and not consume the negativity that comes along with some aspects of social media.

And the good news is: none of us are alone on this journey!

I’m here to help you as best I can. Always feel welcome to reach out to me. And in the meantime, be sure to check out this month’s free challenge, ‘30 Days of You’ where I share uplifting quotes, reflections, and encouragements.