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Power Off: How to Take a Digital Detox

Every Sunday, I try to go without my cell phone or social media—and as you can imagine, it’s harder than it sounds to detach from a device that’s practically become an extension of my hand, even if only for 24 hours. We’re so used to being “plugged in,” to knowing what our friends and family are up to every second of the day, and to feeling the pressure of getting back to people the moment our phones buzz with a new text message.

It’s kind of crazy how it’s evolved. Ten years ago, if you were checking text messages at the dinner table, you were a jerk. These days, if you look around a restaurant, you’ll see that everyone has no shame about their phones being on the table and only paying half attention to the person on people they’re dining with. And that’s a bunch of bullshit.

When we’re so “connected” that we’re missing being in the moment, it’s a problem. Life is what’s happening around us, not on our phones or on our social media. And look, I’m guilty of it too. I check my Instagram maybe a little too often. But these are the things I try to keep in mind when I’m ready to shut off the technology and clear my head of the noise that maybe you can work into your own digital detox routine:

  1. Try to commit to a full day of being phone-free. Like I mentioned, that day for me is usually Sunday, and I use the day to be fully present with my kids and my husband without any outside noise.
  2. Set limits and boundaries that work for you and your family. In our house, we don’t have cell phones at the dinner table. I’m a very modern girl, but I’m also old-fashioned in that I think that the present conversation is the most important.
  3. Try to remember the actual purpose of your cell phone. If you find that you’re reaching for it to check Instagram every five minutes, stop and think about what you’re getting out of it. Is it the need for likes or attention? And is it really that important? Maybe re-framing the phone as a tool that’s purely for communication, rather than an appendage, can be helpful.
  4. Be conscious of your mental, emotional and physical health. I don’t want to scare anyone, but I don’t think any of us truly know the harmful effects our phones may have on us, health-wise, considering we’re holding them and talking on them on the time. We may be tampering with things we don’t understand, so I like to take a step back and just remember that nothing is more important than being healthy and whole—which makes it easier to put the phone down.

 

 

I hope these tips inspire you to step away from your phones, even for a few minutes, and enjoy being fully connected with the people and world around you, instead of your device. Let me know how you like to take a digital detox, too. I’m all ears.

 
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9 Comments

  • Jam

    Thank you for the tips and for always being an inspiration to me ❤❤

  • Rachel Crosby

    I still think people checking text messages at the dinner table are jerks. If you are at dinner with someone whether that is a friend your other half or family your attention should be with them, the person at the other end of the text can wait. I remember watching a couple in a restaurant once and neither of them were talking because they were both texting or checking social media. People seem to have lost the ability to interact with each other on a more personal level and it is such a shame. I don’t really have a specific digital free day I just tend to try to not use my phone all the time.

  • Natacha

    That’s all so true… and ironically I’m posting this from my phone.
    I totally agree with you and think that we should, as parents, be examplary: at my place no phones or tablets are allowed during family moments, and we try to spend as much time as possible in the garden after work/school.
    Thank you for being such an inspiration Gen!
    Love from New Caledonia xoxo

  • Vanessa Ramos

    Hi Gen, I’m from Brazil and I’ve to say that you’re an inspiration to me, to be a better human being, woman and other things. I always read your posts and them always inspire me. The way you live your life is so beautiful, simple and clean. Thank you so much for the tips and for being a strong and wise woman, and pass on all this knowledge to your beautiful children, family, friends and followers. Kisses, hugs and light from brazil 🙂 You deserve the better grl power

  • Fatima

    Love these tips! What helps me stop checking my phone is just putting it on do not disturb mode and out of sight. It’s so easy to keep reaching when its so close to reach. Also totally agree, it’s so detrimental to our health, mentally and emotionally, we don’t realize it until we take a break from social media/our phones!

    <3 Fatima

  • Jordy Sirkin

    I absolutely refuse to check my phone at the dinner table, whether out or at home. The only exception is if we’re out and trying to look up something mutually. But I hate when my husband also grabs his phone while I’m searching. We’re too connected, which is fine sometimes, but when you’re with company, it’s not cool in my book.

  • Jessica Lozano

    Hi Gen – Great post!! I love to have Sunday’s as truly a day of rest, taking care of ourselves and getting centered for the new week ahead. It’s so important to disconnect from the stress of the world and be present with family. I love your blog and it really is informative and beneficial to our total health – mind, body and spirit. Thank you!! Jess

  • Emmanuella

    That was inspiring. I kind of tried by going off social media and I found out that I didn’t miss out on anything. My problem is I’m far away from my family and the only means of communicating is through social media. I really want to go on for a while without my phone, so how do I do this?

  • Brianna

    Reading this made me realise a few things personally for myself, as a growing teenager (14) I definitely feel that I’m too reliant on technology and i dont take advantage of what i have around me. I’m going to start eliminating my time on my phone and computer down, tomorrow i think a long walk down an endless road without distractions is going to be a perfect way to start. Thank you Gen 🙂

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