It’s that time of the year when we all pledge to turn over a new leaf. All across the UK, many will sign up to ‘Dry January’. This is a national detox campaign, to introduce a new mindset and change behaviours in the New Year. Indeed, the word detox is becoming more mainstream, so could it also work for the digital warrior in you too?… By Sharon O’Leary
Come on, own up – are you a digital junkie? Do you need to detox your digital addiction? Seriously though, it is a real condition and can really affect your day to day living. So how about putting a few of the strategies below into practice for the month of January?
Be small but mighty! Break your goals into tiny manageable pieces to help you reach your overall aims.
1. Getting Started
Create a log of when, where and how you use your devices. This will help you decided which behaviours you want to reduce or eliminate. Interested in how many hours a day you lose on your phone? Try installing an app like Moment or BreakFree that will show realistically, how much time you waste.
2. It’s Good to Talk
ET got it right – phone home! When was the last time you actually rang your friends and family to talk, rather than just sending a text? A conversation today shouldn’t be a luxury. It is important to make time for that big catch-up call. Technology is essential for long distance phone calls, but put it away after!
3. Be Socially Aware
Make an effort to give others your attention. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who won’t look up from their phone and make eye contact? It can be tempting to turn to your phone as an escape from social discomfort, but making eye contact is an important life skill. Keep your phone in your pocket, step outside your comfort zone, and hold a conversation with someone new today.
4. Get Busy Doing Nothing
Stop using your devices on public transport or while waiting in a queue. Become more mindful by using all of your senses — sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch — to bring awareness to your body and surroundings. Soak in all the world around you and enjoy the novelty of doing nothing – you might actually enjoy it!
5. Look Up
Don’t use your smartphone while walking on the street. More and more people are getting injured as a result of texting, talking or listening to music while in motion. Yes, we all have a small giggle when someone walks into a door or falls over a hedge while texting, but distracted while walking is a very real and dangerous habit.
6. Zone Out
Give your room a tech-free zone. Remove all devices from the area and abstain from using them in your sleep zone. Read a book instead of a kindle. Do you use your phone for an alarm? Go old school and get an alarm clock. Make your room a cosy haven of calm. Embrace the Danish way of Hygge instead!
7. Old Skool
Retro is cool! Invest in an old flip phone and only use it to make important phone calls. You’ll be amazed at how simple life can be without scrolling 24/7. Or why not change up your tunes and go vinyl – savour the experience.
8. Stress Less
Turn off those pesky notifications. Every time you hear a ‘ting or vibration’ it puts the brain on high alert. This will release cortisol which circulates through the body, causing you to be in a constant state of vigilance. A heightened sense of stress will occur until you ‘check that alert’. Your body is in a constant fight or flight mode. Switch off, or if this is impossible to go into airplane mode when you really need to focus.
9. Write It Down
Keep a journal of your successes and how you have felt along the way. Studies show that when you are writing about your thoughts and feelings, you make a mental space in your mind. This will help you to think more clearly. Writing about your challenges will help spur you on to bigger and better behaviour change.
10. Find Your Tribe
There’s always safety in numbers, so why not gather your friends and all pledge to try the digital detox together. If you are going it alone, tell as many people as you can. With helpful support and gentle reminders, you will make bigger strides.
Give yourself a digital detox this January, and let us know how successful you have been.
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