Why You Need A Digital Detox and How to Start One

Is your smartphone attached to you at all times? Do you become anxious just thinking about how many emails are piling up in your inbox? Do you feel like everyone on Instagram has a much better life than you?

If you reach for your phone as soon as you wake up, can’t remember the last time you read a paperback book with actual pages, or have a million excuses why you can’t find the time to start that meditation practice, consider going on a digital detox to reset yourself before the new year.

Detoxes of all kinds are all the rage in the wellness community. While popular food-based detoxes can be beneficial to help cleanse your system and reboot your energy, most of us need to dig deeper emotionally and take an honest look at what it means to be connected to technology 24/7. When you begin to address your need to be online at all times, making healthier choices in every area of your life will become easier.

Consider how it feels to have constant demands on your attention and energy. Each year we receive more emails and texts, and access deeper levels of information online. As the pace of the digital world increases there is an expectation that we answer all forms communication ASAP and participate online around the clock. If this feels off balance to you, it is. Going on a digital detox will help you reprioritize your life and get back in tune with your own rhythm instead of rushing around to the beat of someone else’s drum.

Giving yourself a window of time to step back from the noise and tune into what really matters to you leads to greater productivity and longer stretches of true happiness

Staying grounded in our fast-paced world is a very healthy practice to adopt. Giving yourself a window of time to step back from the noise and tune into what really matters to you leads to greater productivity and longer stretches of true happiness. Think about the last time you traveled to a new place and the perspective you gained from the experience. A digital detox is the same. By unplugging these lines of communication you see things differently and tap into deeper levels of creativity.

Another huge benefit of a digital detox is improved relationships. Contemplate the last time you were out with friends and how often you or someone in your group had to check her phone. Each time you reach for your phone in any social situation (emergencies excluded, of course) you are checking out of the present moment rather than spending time with the actual person in front of you. Learning to be in each moment, even the uncomfortable ones, is one of the most valuable skills you can practice. Temporarily disengaging from emails, social media, and projects that keep you online is a wonderful way to recharge and gain perspective on where you want to head in 2016.

Digital Detox: How-To

  • Choose a date on which you will shut off all computers, smartphones, laptops, tablets, and any other digital devices you own.
  • Decide on a length of time for the detox. A minimum of 24-hours is highly recommended.
  • Use a digital detox to do something you’ve wanted to do like read, cook a new recipe, clean your closet, or hang with a friend.
  • Notice what comes up for you emotionally during the detox. Journal about it!
  • To close the detox set three clear intentions for yourself moving forward about how you want to engage with media.
  • Enjoy your new perspective!

If going off the grid feels too scary, try just ignoring Instagram for a few days and see how it goes. You can also make a commitment to not check your phone in social settings. Start small and feel it out. You are sure to experience incredible benefits by participating in some form of digital detox before the New Year.