A little time away from the computer, internet, email, social media and other bright, flashy, distracting things is necessary every day and each week. Your eyes and your brain deserve a break. Not to mention your entire body.
When you think about how many hours a day you spend hunched over a computer or with your hand around your phone checking email and reacting to alerts, you can see that a little distance may be in order. A digital detox can help.
Digital Detox: how to unplug for the weekend
Set a time limit. Sometimes it’s better to start small and designate an hour or two to unplug. Work up to an entire weekend or longer if possible. Or, if you love a good challenge, go all in plan to be unplugged for 24-48 hours.
Get help. If you can’t resist checking in, use a program like Freedom. Freedom is a simple productivity application that locks you away from the internet on Mac or Windows computers for up to eight hours at a time. At the end of your offline period, Freedom allows you back on the internet. There is a free trial available.
Keep a detox journal. When you feel like checking your email, write a quick note about why you want to or just make a check mark when ever you feel the need. This will demonstrate how frequently you are jonesing for an Instagram or email fix. Write about how you feel. If you are bored, anxious or relieved, jot that down. If you do break down and take a peek, write that down too. Not only will the data be interesting, but it might help with your workflow and internet use moving forward. Don’t judge, just notice.
Turn off notifications. Closing your computer is only half the battle. What about your phone? To resist temptation, turn off all notifications and completely shut down email. If you can go without your phone completely, do it!
Face your fear. Compulsively checking in and reacting may be second nature for you and there is a fear of missing out when you are gone sometimes. The internet will still be there when you get back. Decide what you are most worried about. Are you afraid that you’ll miss something or that you won’t be missed, or that you’ll be bored? A weekend break will squash all of these fears.
Create a team. Challenge your friends and family to join you. This digital detox will be easier with a support team. If you can’t recruit anyone, let everyone know your plan. A level of accountability and some support will keep you on course.
Practice Slotha Yoga. If you are really missing your digital highs, I highly recommend this suggestion from Sabbath: “When you wake up, don’t get up. Stay in bed. Give yourself time to review your dreams. Notice how it feels to be in your body this morning. Watch how the light is coming in your room today, read a little, daydream a little, wonder about breakfast.”
“The fruitful uselessness of rest, play, and delight can begin on a Sabbath morning. Wake up, but do not get up. Do something delightful. Use your imagination, be frivolous, be daring. Invent rituals. Do nothing of significance. Cultivate expertise in Slotha Yoga.” – Wayne Muller
Disconnect to reconnect to what you really want and need in your life.
If you are used to waking up and checking your email or doing a little mindless Facebooking with breakfast, breaking away will feel strange and even a little uncomfortable. That’s ok. You’ll survive it.
Try it this weekend from bedtime Friday night until Monday morning. If you are reading this over the weekend, it’s not too late. You can start right now. Turn off your computer and everything on your phone that isn’t the actual phone (unless you want to ditch that too). Once you decide to unplug from your devices, you can plug into the world around you.
Instead of plugging in this weekend …
- read a good book
- take a walk
- write or draw with a pen on paper
- get a massage
- take a restorative yoga class
- do jumping jacks
- go to the library
- take a nap
- try a new recipe
You will be surprised at how challenging and rewarding a few days of digital detoxing can be.