What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Scroll through social media? Read your texts? Check your emails? Now, imagine waking up and not being able to find your phone, what would you do? You’d start panicking and start excavating through your sheets like this cat.
Don’t laugh because you know it’s true.
But honestly, let’s face it, the chances are that your smartphone is within arm’s reach right now, that is if you’re not already using it to read this. Can we even leave it for a bit?
No? And why is that?
Well, social media platforms have become exceedingly popular throughout the last couple of years, exemplified by the frequency with which individuals use them and the average age their parents buy them smartphones. Studies show that nowadays the average age of one getting a smartphone is at 10.3 years old (Donovan, Techcrunch 2016). How crazy is that? Maybe not to some of you but from personal experience, we didn’t receive one until 14 or even later to be frank and some of us do fall already into the Millennials category.
And therefore, if you think about it, the result of having access to a smartphone starting at such a young age is the higher use of social media platforms and becoming addicted to the like checking business.
And while there’s no doubt technology has made our lives easier in so many ways, we gotta admit that it’s a vicious cycle and we are so damn addicted to it, maybe so much that it’s taking a toll on our health, mental wellbeing and even relationships. Yup.
It almost reminds us of being in one of Netflix’s TV series Black Mirror episode, Nosedive, where the excess use of social media networks becomes a complete nightmare. If you haven’t seen it yet, we highly recommend you to right now and you’ll understand what we’re talking about.
Right. If you ask us, she doesn’t look so great. If you have ended up to this point where you can’t live without your phone and when not having it around you makes you feel aimless and uncomfortable, like her, then maybe it is time for a social media detox, in fact, to be even more specific, a phone detox. Sounds scary huh.
But hey, going on a digital detox doesn’t mean having an anguish separation with your gadgets. There are simple steps where you don’t have to get rid of your phone and “detox” at the same time, helping you feel more satisfied, calm and connected, in real life we mean.
And because of that, we took the liberty to create a digital detox guide just for you! For whenever you want and wherever you are, even right after you read this!
To feel like you’re not getting so caught up in everything and distracted, turn off your phone’s push notifications for all social media apps. There’s no need to always keep track who likes your photos or not for the whole damn time.
Benefits: Whether you are studying or working, you will be a lot more productive without the distractions of the notifications popping out.
Don't make excuses, buy an alarm clock
Yup. Stop making excuses. It’s time to get an alarm and stop using your phone’s. Get woken up by your alarm clock instead of your phone’s, that way when you wake up, your first thought in the morning won’t be checking your phone and what others are up to. You’ll be able to start your day on your own terms, not someone else’s.
Benefits: You will have better sleep and won’t have the anxiety of the need of checking your phone first thing in the morning.
Don't use your phone during your commute
We tend to look at our phones when we’re communing. Stop. Put it away. Look up or even look out! If you really feel bored during your community, then get a book and read instead.
Benefits: Maybe you’ll meet the love of your life during your commute, but you were too busy looking down. Plus, the view outside is nicer than your phone.
Switch to airplane mode during workouts
It’s pretty inevitable to use our phones to listen to a playlist while on a run or workouts. And even if music is proven to help us out and give us motivation, stopping midway to answer a text or snapping a picture for Instagram isn’t the most productive way to burn calories.
Benefits: You will be more concentrated in your workout rather than proving others that you’re actually going to the gym.
Don’t take your phone with you into the bathroom
Well, we all know this one. It doesn’t matter how long you’ll take in there, switch back to the old schools. Instead of taking your phone into the bathroom, take a magazine, newspaper, or even a book. Even if it means to stare in blank, just do it. And it’s another less worry to not accidentally dropping your phone in the toilet!
Benefits: Ever think why you never have time for reading? You can finally use this time for it.
Gradually power off for a day
This is an essential step because you’ll finally start to detach from your baby. Don’t panic. We’re not telling you to get rid of your phone entirely, we’re just telling you to put it in daycare or something. You will feel a lot more productive without all the distractions and better without feeling bad missing out all these grand events others are participating in.
Benefits: You will feel a sense of relief of being dependent on your phone. It is totally okay spend your day without it.
Go out to lunch or dinner without your phone
Go out for once and be able to finally connect with people. You won’t have the anxiety to look over your phone to see who’s texting you or getting everything snapped to let others know what you’re doing. Cherish the moment instead and enjoy your food and company! Not your phone.
Benefits: You will have better connection with whoever you are with and will have more meaningful and deep conversations.
Prepare for temptation
It’s the same idea as to when you’re on a diet, it’s only reasonable that you will be tempted. But in order not to fall into it, it’s smart to keep single-serving dark chocolates on hand to nosh if a craving kicks in. It’s the same thing when you’re trying to escape technology. Have activities ready to distract you when the urge of checking your phone strikes. Get a magazine, a book, an instrument even or just simple head out for a walk and take in what’s around you.
This is important because once you’re fully present in the moment, you’ll feel more thoughtful, your stress levels will dial down, and you’ll develop stronger relationships as you chat with friends and family.
Once you’ve done this over time, you’ll feel like you’ve taken a big breath of fresh air. It’s just refreshing to know the feeling of not being married to your phone and that you can still live a healthy and happy life without it. And once you get there, you’ll feel so proud of yourself and will be able to say: “I DID IT!”