A Digital Detox That's Actually Doable
Much like our physical health, our "digital health" is all about the choices we make every day. You don't need to check into a monastery or go full-on Vipassana meditation to strike the right balance with your tech.
While a dramatic reset is a useful tool, sustained change often comes from smaller shifts. These are a few daily practices that have helped me create a life with a little less screen time and a little more just being:
1. Sound the alarm (clock).
The way you choose to start your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day, so invest a few bucks in a good old-fashioned alarm clock instead of relying on your phone to wake you up. This way, you're not sleeping with your phone right next to you, and there can be a 10-minute (at least!) buffer between wake-up and your first screen check.
2. Go for a power hour.
Put aside 60 consecutive minutes three times a week to ignore all of your devices: phones, computers, iPads, all of it! Fill this time with a mindful activity of your choice, from meditation (minus the apps) and yoga practice (no streaming video) to reading text on actual paper (no downloadable podcast necessary). Be present in whatever you're doing without the digital assist. Remember what that's like? Put your devices somewhere out of reach and on silent so you can't be distracted.
3. Construct a vision board.
Rather than going down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest for an hour (or two, or more…), try out an old-school vision board. Put that stack of magazines to good use before you send them out to the recycling bin. Tear out images that represent what you'd like to attract into your life, grab some glue and a big piece of paper, and voilà. Post your board in a spot you see regularly, and prepare to be surprised by how many of the elements you've chosen to visualize come to fruition over time.
4. Put a pen to paper.
Studies show that typing on a device doesn't offer the same physiological, emotional, and mental benefits as putting pen to paper. Keeping a notebook by your bed, such as the ones from my AllSwell Creative series, is an easy way to set up a healthy habit. Right before you go to sleep every night, jot down your thoughts, to-do lists, or reflections on the day that's passed. First thing in the morning, reach for that pad again and record dreams, set an intention, or simply free-write. Just see what emerges. Five minutes of longhand a couple of times a day can turn into a meditative experience when you don't judge the product. And a little less judgment in our lives—no likes, no comments—is certainly a welcome change.