Digital Detox - Why You Should Try It + 5 Tips
We are constantly connected to the Internet. Whatsapp here, Instagram there, Facebook there. Hardly any of us spend an entire day without looking at our cell phone. Switching off from time to time can work wonders. You can get tips for your “digital detox” here.
I think it was at the end of last year when I first decided to do a “digital detox”. In the end, it was probably more of a break from social media than a complete digital detox, because university and my work required me to stay connected to the internet at least in some way. Since then, I always take a weekend or sometimes even a month in which I limit my time on my cell phone as much as possible. Why?
Less headaches, less tired eyes, less “FOMO” (“Fear Of Missing Out”), less comparisons with others. More time, more connection, more clarity, more “real” encounters, more creativity. There are probably a lot more reasons than those mentioned here - so why not try it out yourself and see what happens?
I can only warmly recommend that you switch off every now and then - maybe for a day, a weekend or even several days or weeks. Of course, you decide how and to what extent!
Your digital detox – tips
1. The general conditions
First of all, you should of course think about how you approach the whole thing. Would you like to spend the next time completely without a cell phone? Or “just” do without a few apps? Or do you just want to set a daily time limit for your screen time? How long do you want to stay “away”? Who do you tell so he/she doesn't have to worry? This all sounds more complicated than it is 😆. But only consciously examining our consumption shows us where we currently stand and what we might want to change.
2. The preparation
Our smartphones are our loyal companions because they allow us to not only call friends or exchange text messages with family. We let our cell phones tell us the time, wake us up, ask for directions, check our emails, use it as a camera, calculator, flashlight or pocket calendar. And that’s super practical, no question about it! But if you want to go without a cell phone for a few days, you should design your environment accordingly. Maybe you'll get an alarm clock that doesn't do anything other than wake you up? Like before... This switch alone can drastically reduce morning screen time, which is why switching to an “old school alarm clock” is worth considering, even regardless of the digital detox!
How about you dig up your watch again? Take a map with you or – in a completely crazy way – ask a passer-by for directions ?
Because I like to listen to music when I'm out and about, for example when I go for a walk, I've gotten into the habit of packing my ancient iPod instead of my cell phone. It really can't do anything other than play music. This means I'm not even tempted to check my WhatsApp messages on the go.
If you don't want to do without your smartphone completely, it's a good idea to delete certain apps that you no longer want to use (temporarily) . You should also turn off your push notifications , vibration and loud ringtones .
Funnily enough, there are apps that are designed to help you spend less time on your cell phone. On the iPhone, the most well-known helper is the pre-installed “ Screen Time ”, which can be found in the settings. This allows you to set time limits for apps and set timeouts when only certain functions of your iPhone are available. You also get an overview of your usage behavior (how much time you spend in which apps every day, how often you unlock your phone, and so on. “ QualityTime ”, “ Offtime ” and “ Menthal ” are comparable apps for Android users.
3. Resist temptation
Apps are deleted, time limits are set or the cell phone is even switched off. And now? The cell phone is still “there” and can be switched on again. The apps can easily be downloaded again and time limits can usually be circumvented by entering a code.
Of course the temptation is still there. However, the “ obstacles ” you have put in your own way make it easier for you to resist this temptation. In the first few hours of your detox, you'll probably notice how you habitually want to open certain apps or keep reaching for your phone to check your notifications. After a few days at the latest, you will notice how your habits begin to change. Over time, it will become easier for you not to activate your phone.
In addition, you can designate cell phone-free rooms , charge your smartphone in another room overnight, always switch on airplane mode as soon as you lock your cell phone, get into the habit of not taking your cell phone to the dinner table, or, or, or. If you want to do without your cell phone completely during your digital detox, it can help - as stupid as it sounds - to pack the cell phone in a box that you can secure with packing tape, for example.
4. Enjoy time without your cell phone
Let's get to the best part of the whole thing: the cell phone-free time. Enjoy not having to constantly “process” your notifications or “have” to respond to messages immediately. Try to be in the here and now as often as possible and experience each moment as consciously as possible.
When information bombards us nonstop, how are we supposed to dream, think, and create? Our best ideas come to us when we allow ourselves to switch off or give our thoughts space, right? This new “boredom” that you now feel without the constant dopamine hits of your cell phone is the perfect breeding ground for new, creative ideas.
At first it can seem really annoying to ride the train without a cell phone in your hand. But if you consciously perceive what you see, smell, feel and taste, your train journey suddenly becomes relaxing; it becomes quiet in your head. We get a completely different feeling for our environment and for everything that happens around us every second.
Over time, you will notice how your inner battery is gradually charging again - and that is such a wonderful feeling!
5. Reflect & draw conclusions
Sometimes I enjoy the digital detox so much that I spontaneously decide to extend it. I mean, why not? At first I notice that I feel bad because I “have to” be available all the time. But after just a few days I remember that I don't “have to” do anything (How did it get to the point where we think we have to be available 24/7?...)
For example, I have decided to continue to avoid Instagram for the time being. At the beginning of April, I decided not to use Instagram for the entire month because that app always manages to suck me up. Now, a month later, I don't miss scrolling through Instagram at all and feel downright liberated.
I know there will come a time when I will enjoy being inspired by the content on apps like Instagram. In which I maybe sometimes just entertain myself. And that's ok. But it doesn’t have to be for x minutes every day.
I think I'll turn off my cell phone completely next weekend. Because, why not?
If you would like to find out more about the topics of mindfulness, healthy eating or sustainability, take a look here .