Back from Easter Break! I returned with a blizzard going on outside. I already miss being down south. How about a quick post on un-plugging.
I know how easy it is to get wrapped up in our digital world. There are many studies that show how technology can contribute to high levels of stress, strain on relationships and family, attention deficit disorder symptoms, certain mental disorders, and even health problems including possibly cancer. As much as it may pain you to consider, it could be time for a detox, a voluntary reduction in your use of technology. The more things you’re hooked into, the harder this will be and the more anxiety it will produce.
Technology is so much a part of our lives, you’ll need to be intentional about what you’re going to give up, for what reason, and for how long. This isn’t something you can do haphazardly, or you’ll just end up reverting back to old habits. The key word is intentional. You want to go into this with eyes wide open so you can monitor and respond to your responses and reactions to digital deprivation. Develop a plan, then, and stick to it. This will help you weather the squalls of anxiety that can threaten to overturn your best intentions.
- Start small. Micro-goals are your friend! Start with just saying , “I’m going to leave my phone in my car during our dinner out” and actually do it. At first, you’ll feel naked. But after dinner, when you’ve had a more meaningful, less interrupted dinner than you can remember in a while… well, you might just decide that occasionally it’s a good idea to leave your phone in the car during dinner or a movie!
- Replace your screen time with something fulfilling. Don’t just let yourself sit there and feel like there’s some massive void from not going down the scroll-hole. Instead, find a book you’ve been meaning to pick up, or meet a friend for coffee, or take a bath and unwind.
- Check in with yourself and make a plan. That doesn’t mean you should flush your phone down the toilet! I think the best take away from doing a technology-detox is figuring out how to be more present. And reminding ourselves how goodsome face time with your bestie can be!
If you decide not to check work emails from home in the evening, specify the hours you can check them. The more specific the parameters, the less room there will be for cheating. And then, don’t cheat. Just because you made the rules doesn’t mean you get to break them.
Nobody is perfect, and you won’t keep your convictions perfectly, so give yourself a break. Know a side trip is coming, and provide yourself a way back to the straight and narrow. This is also why it’s important to start small; the fewer the rules, the easier it will be to keep them. Then, as you rack up victories, you can expand your goals. As you gain successes, the first targets will begin to seem natural and less restrictive.
Armed with the knowledge you’ve gained about yourself and your technology use, establish new long-term boundaries. Knowledge is not enough to modify behavior; you must apply what you’ve learned in order to change patterns. Learning is like growing; if you stop, you atrophy. Take what you’ve learned, keep growing, and keep moving toward a more positive and healthy integration of technology in your life. Technology is always changing, and you need to stay flexible in order to keep up without becoming controlled by it again.
“7 Tips for a Technology Detox.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, http://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hope-relationships/201403/7-tips-technology-detox.
Hall, Alena. “A Digital Detox Can Change Your Life. Here’s What To Know Before You Do It.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 7 Mar. 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/07/what-to-expect-from-your-_0_n_4899237.html.
Three Spring Trends to Try. Team LSF, lovesweatfitness.com/three-trends-to-try-this-spring/.