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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.