If you haven’t set any goals yet for the new year, there should absolutely be one thing you need to add to your goal list. A digital detox.
A digital detox will help you reset the mind and cleanse the soul too.
3 years ago, if you talked about taking a digital detox, it normally met you would take a day or two to switch off all your devices and stay off the television and computer, and anything else related to digital technology. Yes, that means your music too.
For many of us, taking a day or more offline with no access to any devices may just not be plausible.
You could be running a small business, or perhaps you need to stay on call as an emergency contact for a loved one in hospital. Whatever the reason, taking a full day to take a digital detox just won’t work.
What if I told you, all it takes is an hour off your digital device to reset your mind and recharge the soul?
Recent studies have shown, that just one hour of walking in the bush with no phone or meditating with all your devices switched off for an hour, is all it takes to achieve a digital detox.
To end 2022, myself and bestie went to a yoga retreat for the day, where there is very little reception for your mobile. It was so peaceful to just relax amongst nature, listening to the natural sounds of the earth. No television, no YouTube, Netflix, and no checking of emails, messages or social media.
Though there were a few times whilst chilling back, I did access my phone to play solitaire between yoga classes and treatments. I made sure all notifications were switched off, so there was no temptation to check anything online, but to just play cards.
Of course, you don’t need to go to a yoga retreat to get your digital detox.
Here’s how you can reclaim an hour and free up some time, away from digital devices.
- Limit your email checking for an hour: If you work from home, or you run a small business. Email notifications are important. What if the matter is urgent? In most cases an email isn’t urgent.
Most people will call you if they have an issue needing resolving urgently. Choose a time when you know it’s your slowest time. 2pm is always my slowest time of the day.
Switch off notifications, or set an out of office for an hour, so at least if anyone emails, they will get a bounce back, advising you are just away from desk, and let them know what time you will back.
- Make the most out of commuting: If you use public transport to travel to and from work, keep your phone in the bag and read a book instead. Or perhaps take a puzzle book and keep the mind active by doing puzzles whilst you travel.
The last time I caught a train, I could not believe how many people had their nose stuck in their phone. Although I didn’t take a book with me for the ride, I use the time look at the window and take in the surrounds, even the urban landscape.
I looked around and observed people, smiled at someone who walked past, to make them smile back. And they did. You don’t need to make friends or be social whilst commuting, but that small smile or eye contact with someone as they walk past could really make their days, and yours.
- Put down the phone: If you use your phone daily for work (or even just obsessed with it personally), take an hour to switch it off. If you think family members will be worried, send them a text and tell them you are about to do yoga or meditate, so the phone will be switched off for an hour and you will call them afterwards if needed.
Take that break to then do whatever you like. It could be to swim at the beach (or a pool), take a bath, meditate, or do yoga, or perhaps even just do a few chores around the house to get the body moving.
Your phone will be waiting for you after the hour so take the break.
- Get your hour back: Did you log into social media this morning and find yourself on it for too long, and an hour later you are still scrolling accounts. Get that hour back, by switching off your notifications for socials.
Chances are if you engaged with anyone then those notifications will come through, making you then go back in and start scrolling and responding again. The notifications are not going anywhere, they will be there after the hour. Use the time you lost to make a cup of tea and go sit outside away from tech.
Take a deep breath and then look around, admire the trees, the bords singing (if any), the building or anything else that surrounds you. Perhaps you can people watch from your balcony where you live. I live in the burbs, so I often go outside the front and just watch the neighbourhood, the cats playing, listening to the sounds of nature around me for an hour. No phone, just me outside taking a break.
- Stay off the phone when waiting: Most of us use the phone between appointments, meetings, waiting in line for something, or waiting for coffee to made. Use that time to do something else instead.
If you’re at the doctor’s surgery they will most likely have something to read, so do that instead of being on your phone. If you are at a café, wait outside and people watch whilst your coffee is being made, instead of waiting there on your phone.
I was waiting in line the other day to place an order for some food, and had 3 people in front of me, and 1 behind me. All 4 people were on their phone waiting to be served. I was amazing at how everyone was just looking down. No eye contact was being made, and no engagement at all. It was scary to think that this is now what we do as people.