Follow These 6 Steps For a (Much-Needed) Technology Detox

Ashley Stern
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Americans spend up to 11 hours a day looking at screens and gadgets like the computer, video games, television, phone, and other devices. That means that for the average 16 hours we spend awake in any given day there are only 5 hours that we are not interacting with some sort of technological device. Yikes!
 

We spend up to 11 hours a day looking at screens and gadgets . . . yikes!

 
To say the least, all this time spent looking at a screen is cutting into our daily lives. But beyond the time spent, technology can be damaging to our mental health as well as our personal relationships. Increased use of technology can lead to depression and anxiety when used to avoid or escape from the real world. In the age of social media, the constant comparison certainly doesn’t cultivate contentment or a sense of peace.
 

Why You Should Consider a Tech Detox

Technology disconnects us from the world. Our devices distract us from the present moment. They remove us from face to face interaction and lessen the degree to which we interact when we are in person. Just picture the last time you went out to eat . . . how many people did you see eating together at a table, yet silently absorbed in scrolling?
 
No matter how much time you spend with technology, a tech detox is a great way to reestablish balance and get more out of your daily life. It’s important to remember that we are in control of the technology we use and how we choose to use it.
 

Here Are 6 Steps to Guide You Through a Technology Detox

A tech detox may be just the thing to get you back on track with healthy technology habits.
 

Step 1: Schedule Unplugging

You don’t have to go off the grid to reset. Just schedule an amount of time each day that you can commit to turning your devices off. It could be thirty minutes or three hours. The point is to make a conscious habit of stepping away from technology.
 
A great time to turn things off is 30 – 60 minutes before bed. You’ll sleep better and maybe even get to bed earlier than if you were scrolling through the depths of the internet.
 
 

Step 2: Set Up Tech-Free Zones

Establish times and places where you will put all technology away. Shut off or silence your phone, shut the laptop, and hide the remote! Whether it be at the dinner table, anytime you are with friends or family, or even a specific room of your house (bedroom, perhaps?).
 
If you set rules and follow them, it will be easier to leave that tweet until later and enjoy whatever you are doing presently. If you live with someone, ask them to hold you accountable! Maybe you take this challenge together, or maybe you simply ask your roommate or partner to help you stick to your commitment to detox.
 
 

Step 3: Step Away From Social Media

Sure, Facebook and Instagram help us keep in touch with friends, but at what cost? Bite size pieces of social media are fine, but too much scrolling can lead to the comparison game, and we can fall into the trap of thinking other people lead “better” or “cooler” or “more interesting” lives than us.
 
Ever get caught in a social media time warp? You go to look at one thing and suddenly an hour has passed. Avoid this wasted time altogether by dedicating the same amount of time to taking your dog for a walk, or grabbing coffee with a friend. It’s refreshing to step away from technology and interact with the world around you. You’ll be glad you did!
 

 

Step 4: Stop Multitasking

We live in a fast-paced society that’s constantly trying to go even faster. Remember that you don’t always have to do three things at once. Relax and focus on one thing at a time.
 
Be mindful.
 
By stepping away from technology, you’ll enable yourself to cultivate more mindfulness and presence for whatever the task is at hand. You’ll find that the urge to scroll through your newsfeed just isn’t as strong (or maybe even gone altogether!)
 
 

Step 5: Take a Technology Vacation

Take a complete vacation from technology a few times a year – whatever that means to you. You can stay at home for an entire weekend and unplug your phone, computer, and TV, or you can go somewhere new and fully immerse yourself in that place without the impulse to constantly update your social media.
 
We all need to remember that we can truly enjoy an experience without needing to document and share on social. Plus, the time spent actually experiencing the moment will keep you much more grounded and present, and thereby better able to soak it all in.
 
 

Step 6: Get Intentional

Use technology as a tool with a specific purpose. Facebook can be a valuable way to keep in touch with people and to share what’s going on in your life. People can use various social media sites to maintain healthy relationships – as long as they use it with intention.
 
Whatever your technology addiction is, get intentional with how you’re using it, and choose to use it consciously instead of habitually.
 

You’re Ready For a Tech Detox!

We use technology for so many things that it has become an integral part of our daily lives. A tech detox helps spotlight our not-so-great tech habits and makes us aware of all those unnoticed tech routines that infringe on our lives.
 
Technology is a useful part of our everyday lives. You don’t need to get rid of it altogether – that’s unrealistic and impractical. Yet you can take steps to living with more intention and awareness by making technology work for you, instead of being a slave to it.
 
Let’s find more than five hours per day to live our lives, and let’s find more ways to enjoy the beauty in the world around us.
 

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Ashley Stern

A Wisconsinite at heart, Ashley is currently a student working on her masters in creative writing in Edinburgh, Scotland. She’s a writer, a reader, traveler, a nerd, and a lover of life. Ashley is new to yoga and developing her practice from her student flat. She drinks a lot of tea and even more coffee. She’s a dog person, wears lots of purple, and believes in Laini Taylor’s wise words, “Cake as a way of life.”

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