If you've ever said something to the effect of "I can't imagine life without my smartphone," have we got a challenge for you.
A digital detox is a simple, free and healthy way to reconnect with your loved ones, your physical surroundings and yourself. Not to mention the benefits from this time spent unplugged range from rediscovering balance to improving your sleep to reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. Basically, you've been missing out on something truly amazing, and that should end now.
But going off of technology cold turkey can create quite a shock to the system if you're not careful. So here's an easy guide to preparing for your digital detox, making the process as comfortable as possible.
Step 1: Admit that you need it.
First, you need to assess how significant a toll constant connectivity is taking on your mind and body. If you experience phantom cellphone vibration syndrome regularly, feel perpetually exhausted because you sleep with your phone and can't remember the last time you took a real vacation day, face the facts that you simply need a break. Have faith that this sabbath of sorts, despite the initial discomfort in adjusting to time spent without your devices, will solve more problems than you can begin to realize in this moment.
Step 2: Plan it out.
Don't just say you'll take a screen-free day. Commit it to your calendar. Studies have shown that if you schedule something just like you would any other priority by literally writing it down and making it public, you'll be much more successful in sticking to it. Men are approximately 22 percent more likely to achieve goals that are recorded in specific terms, and women are 10 percent more likely to achieve them if they announce them publicly to family or friends. So go ahead and make it official!
Step 3: Let others know ahead of time.
For those who are worried about experiencing uncomfortable levels of FOMO -- or even just anxiety that friends might be worried by your digital silence -- simply share the news in advance! Facebook status it and tweet it if you must, but days before your digital detox, make people aware that you will be unreachable (unless there is an emergency, of course). Even set an auto-reply message on your work email account to keep any colleagues (especially your boss) in the know that you will not, in fact, be responding to their queries that day. Trust us, this pre-planning will make your digital detox far more relaxing and effective.
Step 4: Start daydreaming about how you'll spend your tech-free time.
Rather than ruminating over all of the typical components of your daily routine that you'll be skipping during your time away from technology, focus on all of the amazing things you never seem to be able to find the time to do but now magically can experience. According to a recent study, such daydreaming can actually help improve your mood and benefit your relationships with others. So start thinking about how it will feel to fully experience silence, truly savor a homemade brunch or stretch your limits in a yoga class when you don't have your phone by your side serving as a constant distraction.
Step 5: Meditate on what you hope to get out of this experience.
This step might prove the most challenging for a lot of people, but that's what makes it all the more important. Set aside some time before beginning your digital detox to really think about what you need to gain from this experience, what you hope to achieve and whether or not those two things differ. Intention setting can be a quite powerful tool that is manifested within yourself. Just as yogis set an intention at the beginning of their practice and mindful individuals set an intention at the beginning of their day, you can set an intention before this disconnected day that will allow you to approach it with a more open and accepting mind.
Step 6: Pull that plug.
You may not think so, but you're ready! Just rip off that band-aid, leap off that diving board and go for it. You will make it out alive. Who knows -- you might even be surprised to find yourself craving additional time off the grid once it's all said and done.