10 Quick Tips to Unplug from the Digital World
Have you noticed yourself or others spending more and more and more time in the digital world?
Our increasing use of social media is literally rewiring our brains to crave instant gratification and constant stimulation. Social media essentially preys on our insecurities, allowing us to tailor images of ourselves and our lives to our liking. It’s very hard to think for yourself when you’re unconsciously consuming perfectly staged, photoshopped, and filtered images of “ideal” lifestyles. That’s a pretty scary thing, because it means that we have a hard time feeling comfortable when we separate ourselves from our digital lives. It also means we are more susceptible to the insidious ways we are marketed and advertised to via digital platforms.
It’s time to focus on unplugging from the digital world in order to plug back into the real world around you. That’s not to say you need to sever your ties to the digital world completely, but there’s far more going on in the world than we can (and should) keep up with, for the sake of our health. So, today, let’s look at some simple ways to manage your digital intake.
10 Quick Ways to Unplug from the Digital World:
1. Sleep with Your Phone Across/Outside Your Bedroom
Putting some physical space between you and your phone means you’re not going to scroll through social media until you’re exhausted, and your brain can fall asleep more naturally. It also means you’re not going to check it in the middle of the night or first thing after opening your eyes. It’s a daily unplug that your body and brain could really use.
2. No Phones While Eating
This gives you three more chances every day to be fully present and pay attention to the world around you. Make it a rule that you don’t look at your phone while you’re eating and you’ll find that your personal relationships will blossom. You’ll also find you enjoy your food more because you’re experiencing it more fully. You may also find that you’ve been neglecting your loved ones because of the amount of time you’ve been spending with your phone up instead of listening to what is going on in their life.
3. Leave Your Phone at Home
Did that sentence just make your heart stop? Are you thinking that this is a crazy idea? Well, just two decades ago, everyone kept their phones at home and didn’t think anything of it. The electronic leash is taking over our lives, people! It is possible to figure out how to get somewhere using a map or stop and ask for directions. Try this out for a couple hours while you go out to run errands, then slowly start leaving your phone at home for longer periods of time. You’ll notice you miss it less and less.
4. Keep Your Phone on Silent
Turn the buzzing, ringing, and pinging off so that you’re not constantly interrupted. You’ll be able to check your phone when you want to/have time, and you’re not going to be disturbed by ‘breaking news’ that happens all the time. Keeping your phone on silent will keep you from obsessing over the lives of others and put you back into your body so you can maintain emotional balance and be more productive.
5. Don’t Watch TV Every Day
If you’ve been in the habit of watching TV every night like so many of us are, try to give yourself a few nights a week where you do something else. Play a sport, a board game, build or create something with your hands, learn a new musical instrument, do yoga, read a book, or meditate. Be around people. Go out to eat, join a support group for cell phone addicts - just kidding, but I think you catch our drift.
6. Take a Technology Detox
Deliberately take some time away from social media. Delete every social media app on your phone; deactivate your accounts if you want to get really serious. You can let people know and inspire them to do the same. Do a digital detox for a day, a week, or go for months. Most people report they feel much better during a digital detox and it seems to have great effects on our emotional well-being.
7. Only Check Your Social Networks Once a Day
This may sound like a huge challenge, but why is this so hard? Are we so insecure that we can’t stand in line at the grocery store and make small talk anymore? Do we have such hardcore FOMO that a bathroom break is synonymous with a social media break? If it’s unrealistic for you to cut ties with your social networks completely, set strict rules for yourself that limit the number of times you check your Instagram. Try to avoid social media altogether until you’re home for the day. Set a timer for no more than an hour and let yourself go through your social media rotation. But once that timer goes off, so does your phone.
8. Pay Attention to How Much People Use Digital Devices
Notice how often the people in your life are plugging into the digital world. Ask yourself if it seems to affect their ability to communicate. Are they scatterbrained? Are they able to set goals and reach them? What effects is it having on their relationships, health, and quality of life? Do they listen actively when people are speaking? Observe others’ behaviour and reflect on your own.
9. Ask Yourself “Why”
While you use social media, ask yourself what the underlying reason is for every post you see. What point is it making? How does it make you feel? Similarly, before you make a post or send a message, ask yourself “why?” Are we really concerned about letting our friends know what we are eating, or are we really trying to grasp at something deeper within ourselves to feel okay? Many people are in a spiritual crisis and social media is taking advantage of it.
10. Unfollow Everyone You Don’t Talk to on a Weekly Basis
Simplify your social networks. Do what my Mom does and only follow your immediate circle of family and friends on social media. That way, you won’t have to scroll through tons of strangers’ pictures and you’ll spend less time feeling like you have to “catch up” with what you “missed” - when you probably haven’t missed anything at all. Take the time to unfollow people who don’t actively contribute value to your life.
Technology and social media have allowed us to make wonderful progress as a society, but, like most things in life, it can be unhealthy and harmful in excess. Moderation is key.
Perhaps it is only when we release ourselves from the perceived demands of the digital world that we can really find who we are. If you’re having particular difficulty severing your ties to the digital world, grounding techniques like meditation, walking barefoot, or talking a salt bath can engage your senses and situate you back in the real world. Let’s make sure we stay smarter than our smartphones.
Related Article: Easy Ways To Reduce Your Screen Time To Improve Your Well Being