Setting aside one day a week as a “digital detox day” has been on my mind quite a lot lately. Being in front of a screen can be exhausting. It’s a position that most of us are in these days for work, but it’s also crept into our daily lives.
When I wrote the Creating a Morning Wellness Routine post, I unknowingly acknowledged beginning my day with a digital detox. I mentioned that I avoided looking at my cell phone for at least 40 minutes to an hour right after I woke up, if possible. Checking my email or apps or social media tends make me anxious first thing in the morning. When your brain is waking up the last thing it needs is to be bombarded with information overload.
Are you addicted to your phone or tablet? It’s okay if you are! I freely admit that I look at my phone way too much. In fact most people I know are in the same boat. Embarrassingly, I check my phone at least once every five minutes if it’s sitting right next to me. Even if I’m on the computer, watching TV or reading a book. I feel like I have a true addiction to my phone. I constantly look at it to fill some void, that feeling of missing out; I’m always looking for the next hit of information.
The consequences? My eyes hurt, I get headaches and I’m exhausted by the end of the day. Also, there’s the envy factor; feeling that my life is not up to par with everyone else’s. Have you noticed what happens as you look through Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest? Yes, I love seeing what my friends are doing, what adventures celebrities are going on, yummy recipes to make and houses I would love to live in. But when is it too much? When it starts to affect the way you feel.
Also for most of us, it’s not just our phone that our eyes are glued to. It’s our phone in addition to all the other devices we’ve become accustomed to watching; tablets, laptops, computers and TV. I remember being a kid before there was the Internet and the old saying I used to hear all the time was, Don’t watch too much TV, it will ruin your eyes! Yet, here we are 30 years later staring at the equivalent of a TV screen all day long.
We know that we probably shouldn’t be glued to our devices as much as we are…so what can we do about it? Well, several presenters at The Ranch have challenged each of us to take a break from digital devices for a full day.
Just saying it sounds overwhelming, right?
But imagine the benefits. A full day free of the obligation to look at your phone. A full day of being in the present moment. A full day of focusing on your surroundings instead of on a screen. A full day to do whatever you want–be outside, go on an adventure, bake delicious foods, exercise, play with your kids, create arts and crafts projects, cook an elaborate dinner, socialize with friends, read a physical book.
For me, a digital detox day must be a day–Saturday or Sunday– that I’m not working, simply because my work requires me to be on my laptop. But it might be different for you. And although it would be nice to have it fall on the same day every week, it’s okay if it does not. Being flexible with your detox day may make it easier to accomplish it.
Can you spend an entire day away from your devices? Sure. If I can, anyone can. No one said it would be easy. I’ve discovered that once an initial adjustment period is over, my digital world is “out of sight, out of mind.” But it is good to have a plan just in case. I find myself reaching for my phone out of boredom when I’m just sitting around. So getting up and doing something is key!
A digital detox day doesn’t have to be limited to once a week. You can have digital detox mini-breaks every day. It’s been a struggle, but I’ve really been trying to get up and walk around about every twenty minutes, even though I’m one of those people that once I get sucked into my computer, the concept of time vanishes. This not only helps get my blood flowing, but it’s helped my eyes tremendously.
I hope you will realize that you are not alone in feeling addicted to your devices. Go ahead. Give digital detox a try.
And let me know what happens! What are your thoughts on creating a “digital detox day” and its affect on your health and state of mind?