While the internet and social media can be a fantastic thing for making the world and knowledge more accessible, too much of anything can be a bad thing. In the digital age its easy to get too attached to our mobile phones and dare I say it, addicted to social media. Having recognised that I was perhaps a bit too attached to my phone, I’ve been working on switching off and unplugging more to help manage anxiety and stress. Here are a few tips I’ve found useful to digitally detox my life.
Spending time without being digitally plugged in to the world is important for our personal development, mental health, satisfaction in life and wellbeing. If you are addicted to your mobile phone, at least a little bit, here are a few of the ways I have found it helpful to digitally detox my life and disconnect more.
Join the library
I have always loved reading. If I’m stuck in the middle of a good book, forget trying to have a conversation wth me – it just isn’t going to happen. My Kindle is great for reading on holidays because it saves me lugging around kilos of books in my luggage. However, electronic devices are all too easy to switch over to the internet and get lost in social media so back to old school books I’ve gone.
Joining your local library is a fantastic and free resource to access books and save you some cash along the way. There is nothing quite like holding a paper book in your hand. I love reading physical paper books and if I own the book always write notes in the margins of key points that stand out to me for future reference. Although I wouldn’t recommend that for library books! If reading doesn’t come naturally to you, start small just reading a page or two a day. You’ll have read more books over a period time that way than if you try and read the whole thing in one go.
Get a paper diary
While an undergrad I used to use a paper diary to manage my schedule, uni assignments and work. However over the past few I moved away and started using my phone as a diary, which is handy for being on the go, but not so handy for disconnecting. I personally found it hard to visualise and ‘see’ what was coming up in my life when using a phone diary so recently bought myself a nice planner and created a physical diary.
Using separate pages for different areas of my life – work, uni, clients, blog posts, journal articles to read, books to read, has been SO helpful in clearing space in my mind and compartmentalising different areas of my life. As a result I am more focused, feel less overwhelmed with all the things on my multiple to-do lists and can see whats ahead. This allows me to focus on what is the most important at that particular time. I’ve not looked specifically into bullet journals, but they look like a pretty cool idea too – especially for a creative person like myself.
Scrap the apps
Behaviour change and developing healthy habits takes time. Earlier this year I started tracking how successful I was (or wasn’t) with sticking to some of the habits I’m trying to develop. Things like getting to bed before 10pm, foam rolling once a week, reading more books… It’s a work in progress.
Tracking how successful you are at sticking with these changes is a great way to see how you are progressing and can be a motivational tool to stick with it. There are plenty of apps out there which can help with habits. However in my experience they then tend to increase dependency on your mobile even more. So I’d recommend going old school, using a page in a diary or writing your monthly habits on the wall to cross off each day as you achieve them. The more successful you are, the more motivated you can be to continue with those changes. I’d also recommend sticking to a maximum 5 new habits at a time!
Use an alarm clock
Hands up anyone who’s guilty of reaching to turn the mobile phone alarm off and somehow ending up wasting time flicking through social media before even leaving the bed? I know I’ve been guilty! I’ve been using a lumie light clock to wake up naturally to the ‘sun’ for years (and stop being a grump in the darkness of winter) and recently started using the alarm function on that instead of my mobile phone alarm.
Instead of keeping your mobile right by the bed, banish your mobile from the bedroom and leave it in another room at night. Not only will this help with improving your sleep hygiene, it immediately removes the temptation to grab your phone out of boredom while trying to sleep or wasting time mindlessly in the morning upon waking.
Leave the emails
While emails are a fantastic way of staying contact and communicating, they can be very distracting and disrupt you from. One trick I came across recently and have found personally useful is to turn your emails off and wait until midday to check them. By placing boundaries around the times I check and respond to emails, I find I avoid being distracted mid flow of a particular task and become more productive.
Finally. If you haven’t come across Glenn from the Weight Psych, I HIGHLY recommend checking him out. Here’s one of his latest videos about how to get over being addicted to your phone and be more mindful in life. It’s good stuff.
Last but not least, I find intentionally leave the phone at home and turning it off when I don’t need it a helpful way to digitally detox. Speaking of which I’m off to climb mountains in a wifi free area to disconnect and recharge this weekend! So my phone is going off…
Until next time!