We live in the age of screens. Technology. Being connected. Which is super-cool, of course, for many reasons. And I’m the last person to say, “oh, it was better before technology.” But sometimes, I really feel I could scream when I realize my whole day revolves around screens. That’s why every once in a while—still much more seldom than I should—I take a digital detox. I know it sounds silly, but it’s basically the same thing as any other detox around: I allow my body and mind to take a break.
Before detoxing, it seems impossible. If you’re curious enough, you might accept that it indeed is possible…but then you might wonder what on Earth you could be doing without technology. We’re talking television, Wi-Fi, social media and all things that sound even more interesting when you think of quitting—even for a day, or an afternoon.
But a digital detox can make you more aware of the present and more productive. If you dare to take this detoxicating journey, read on. (It’ll be fun, I promise!)
Take it slowly. No one says you need to endure 48 hours without technology right off the bat. Try starting with two hours. That’s really not hard; it could be while working out or grocery shopping and meal prepping. Or you could just take an afternoon stroll around the city. Observe the colors, admire the leaves, breathe in the crisp air. Have a cup of coffee if you’d like and stimulate another sense while you walk. Most of all, resist the urge to post photos for Instagram and Snapchat. Just leave your phone at home and be present.
Build a connection. Invite a friend or a coworker for a coffee or lunch and really talk to them. Bonus points if you avoid talking about TV series you’re watching or who posted what on Facebook. Ask them about their favorite winter activity or holiday recipe. Nobody seems to swap recipes that way anymore, but I’d love if someone asked me that. (Though I would probably be so confused it would take me a while to come up with a sensible answer.)
Read. I know some people actually manage to read more than one book a month, but many of us struggle to make time for reading. We absorb so much meaningless content that pops up on our social media feeds that we might as well read a book instead. And since we’re talking about a digital detox, it has to be a real one, with paper pages. I’m not advocating against e-readers, but championing a way to avoid a screen for a couple of hours. You probably have a book on your shelf right that you never picked up. We all do.
Spend time with your pet. That is, if you have one. (And in that case I envy you very much.) Only this time, do it without taking selfies with them. Play with them, cuddle or take a walk together.
Get creative. If your walls need a revival, this might be the moment. Take a break from Pinterest. Yes, it’s a great source of ideas, but you’ve scrolled through your Decor board enough by now to know what works for you and what doesn’t. If you’re feeling extra courageous, paint the walls. Otherwise, hang something you like. Photos, postcards? Or you might be into scrapbooking instead of major wall works. Do whatever you like! You might also try a big seasonal cleaning or reorganization project, if your creative juices aren’t flowing.
If you feel fine after two or three hours not being connected and glued to any of the screens, try doing it for a whole afternoon. Maybe a whole day once. My ultimate goal is to have technology-free weekends, but that’s a long shot. But who knows? Just because it’s a challenge doesn’t mean it’s impossible, after all.
What else would you do in an afternoon doing digital detox? We’d love to hear in the comments!