Digital Detoxing for You and Your Family
We’re all a little guilty of using our phones, laptops, iPad’s, tablets, smart watches or whatever other gadgets we have to run our lives. We totally understand the convenience! (We are an app after all). Don’t get us wrong, we love the tech we get the chance to interact with, and the iPad is kind of amazing for amusing the kiddos, but sometimes it’s good to have a little break. Of course there is the debate – how much screen time should your kids be allowed to have? – we aren’t going to weigh in on that, but if you feel like it would be a welcomed change to try out a ‘digital detox’ of sorts for you and your family, here’s some of our tips, and ideas about how and when to do it!
If you use your phone every day (if you don’t, kudos to you), a digital detox can sound like a distant, far away dream, but there are easy ways to lean into it! First things first, stop sleeping next to your phone – move your charger to your dresser, or even the kitchen, and have them live there permanently. This will mean that your brain will get the chance to relax before you fall asleep and when you wake up in the morning – you’ll actually have to get up when your alarm goes off (if the kids don’t beat your phone to it!), and you won’t be tempted to spend the extra 15 minutes in bed scrolling through Instagram.
Ditch the Double
Sitting in front of the TV or laptop screen watching something, then picking up your phone to see what’s happening on Facebook? Stop it! Pick one device at a time. If you’re watching Netflix, flick your other devices to their ‘do not disturb’ settings, and just enjoy what’s happening on one screen. Obviously this can’t always be done in a work setting (anyone else have a 2 screen set up at their desk?), but whilst you’re at home, make this a new rule for yourself. Same goes for the kiddos. If they’re watching a cartoon on TV, don’t hand them the iPad when they ask for it, and avoid switching from TV straight to a different screen – give them an ‘in between’ activity. Any reduced amount of screen time for your family will make a difference.
The Golden Rule
No phones at the dinner table. No, don’t answer the phone during dinner. Don’t show your partner a cute video you saw earlier that day when you were on your phone – keep electronics away during dinner – or any meal time for that matter. This seems like a pretty easy one, but the amount of family dinner’s I’ve sat through where someone took a call, or showed me a video on Facebook, or informed me that they “just have to send an email”. NO MORE! For 20 minutes whilst you eat, put all the tech away. This also applies to your work lunches – if you can bare it, don’t touch your phone while you’re eating. For the sake of not going insane, we’ll grace you the rest of your break to use your tech. There’s a whole bunch of positive psychology theory behind the mindfulness practice of not doing anything else while you’re eating, but we’ll spare you the lecture and you can just trust us on this one guys.
This point is kind of counterproductive, but consider it your last fling with your tech addiction – the #digitaldetox tag on Instagram is a place where I have spent many sessions thinking about detoxing rather than detoxing – but I’m definitely a sucker for motivational quotes, and inspiring stories about how using less tech, or using the tech you have less often can change your mood, and maybe even your life for the better. You can check out the tag here. The other options, the one that’s less counterproductive, is reading. Like we mentioned earlier, positive psychologists love the idea of letting your tech go for a bit, so there’s plenty of reading material out there. We’ll allow a kindle here if that’s up your alley, but heading to your local book store or a library (it’s been a while) is the perfect place to start your detox.
Balance is Key
We love tech. We love our phones, laptops, Ipad’s, and all the rest of it. They connect us, entertain us, give us the news, help us shop, inspire us – so we aren't asking you to give them up completely, but balance is the key. Whilst you’re getting used to it, set yourself an actual ratio of time spent on screens to time spent outdoors, focusing on a book instead, or spending quality, uninterrupted time with loved ones. For every hour you spend looking at your phone, or watching a movie, or doing something on your laptop – spend an hour and a half doing something tech free. This is just an example, there’s so many different ways to balance out your time spent on screens, you just have to find what works for you! An easy way to set goals is to track your iPhone screen time (this is automatic) – each week, just aim to reduce your hours.
Digital detoxing is a sure fire way to help your brain take a break. It’s good for your mental health, frees up time for family bonding, and hopefully will take some of the pressure off to live an ‘insta-worthy’ life. Do you have any tips or have an experience with digital detoxing? Let us know in the comments!