Needing some food-for-thought and startling facts about our generation’s, perhaps, biggest epidemic? We will publish a series of post about what it takes to strike the online / offline balance. But, it will not all be gloomy and sad. We will also feature tips and ideas on how to curb your addiction and all the good things that will come out of it.
Let start this first week of with some New Year’s resolutions for a digital detox. We borrowed these ones from Camp Grounded, a camp where ‘grown up goes to unplug, get away and be kids again”.
18 DIGITAL DETOX NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
1. Be bored
With our smartphones in our pockets, boredom seems to be a thing of the past. You never have to be bored again because there’s always someone to text, feeds to read or games to play. But why has boredom gotten such a bad rap?
A lot of amazing things happen when you’re bored. Some of your best ideas will come out of being bored; it’s when we’re bored that our imaginations get to show off. Rather than being entertained by our phones, we become the entertainment.
It is also said that boredom and peace are two sides of the same coin. Let boredom be your catalyst for a practice in mindfulness. Sink into the boredom! If strong emotions come up, it means there’s something that needs to be processed, so let it.
2. Hug it Out
Start hugging your way to happiness and health. A big hug has been proven to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. But we’re not talking about a quick, “hi, how ya doing?” hug. Try hugging someone for 9-20 seconds. Hugging like this will give you a mega dose of oxytocin – the cuddle hormone – which is known to promote feelings of devotion, trust and bonding.
Getting all that good stuff from hugging means we don’t need it as much from our computers and phones. Studies have shown that the act of tweeting can release the same amount of oxytocin as a groom releases at his wedding! No wonder we’re tethered to our tech. Let’s re-train our brain to associate these feelings with other people instead of our gadgets. You don’t need to break up with your twitter feed, but maybe it’s also time to start seeing other PEOPLE.
3. “LIKE” in person
Saying thank you isn’t just polite, it’s good for you. According to studies, practicing gratitude increases health and happiness, improves sleep, heightens alertness and determination, and even stimulates anti-aging hormones in your brain. In fact, feeling gratitude will make “happiness” and “appreciation” your default emotions, even when things become challenging or difficult.
Try starting a “Gratitude Practice” when you wake up. Before you get out of bed, make a list of 10 things you are grateful for. This simple practice will release feel good hormones and neurotransmitters, and that will do more than any cup of coffee ever could to start your day off right.
4. Bring Back the Book
Reading on paper activates a different part of your brain than reading on a screen. Today we have bi-literate brains, adapting to screen reading, which involves more skimming and scrolling, and for paper reading, which allows for deeper comprehension
Since reading is relatively new for the human brain, new connections and circuits are created when we learn to read. The brain is an incredibly efficient system and if you don’t use it . . . you may lose it! Choose one thing that you read everyday (novel, news, etc.) and commit to reading it on paper.
5. 20 – 20 – 20
If you’re healthy and you know it, blink your eyes! The average person blinks 18 times a minute, but that number is greatly reduced when we are on our screens. In fact, nearly 70% percent of Americans experience digital eye strain. Digital eye strain includes dry and irritated eyes, blurred vision and headaches related to prolonged screen use. While 1/3 of adults don’t do anything to alleviate these symptoms, there’s something that you can do.
Be kind to your eyes and give them break! For every 20 minutes on your screen, try spending 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. This gives your eyes a chance to rest and stretch before getting back into the game.
Oh yeah . . . and BLINK!
6. No devices before bed
New studies have shown that around 90% of Americans use some kind of device within an hour of going to bed. Using a screen before bed delays your release of melatonin, which can reduce REM sleep and cause you to be less sleepy at night and more groggy in the morning.
Want a better night sleep? Shut your screens down at least an hour before you tuck yourself in.
7. Buy an Alarm Clock
Wake up with an alarm clock instead of your cellphone. You’ll sleep better and won’t have the urge to check your messages. Give yourself 30-45 minutes to wakeup, make some coffee or tea, and start the day on YOUR terms before getting wrapped up in email, Facebook, memes, the news or other forms of media or digital communication.
It’s been reported that 80% of smartphone users check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. Keeping your phone away from your bed is one of the easiest ways to help control your tech use.
8. Make a Pocket List
We all have that ever-growing list of things that we wish we could do if only there were more time. But with most of us spending over 3 hours a day on social media, maybe we have more time than we think.
Keep in your pocket a list of things you want to do if only you had the time. When you have that itch to grab your phone or load your favorite site, do one thing from your Pocket List first.
9. Keep Screens off the Menu
Did you know that watching TV while eating can make your food taste worse? Not only will taking the food you are eating in with your eyes help you actually taste it, but eating without digital distractions has been linked to better portion control. There are so many reasons to not invite our screens to meals and yet more than one-third of employees eat lunch at their desks on a regular basis.
Try setting meal times as an opportunity to connect with your food, the people around you and yourself. Appreciate where your food came from and the people who planted, harvested, sourced, transported and prepared it. Your food will taste better and you’ll feel better tasting it.
10. Track Your Tech Use
If you are interested in reducing your screen time, one of your biggest tools will be knowing how much you use it. Try using Checky or Moment to track your phone usage and even set limits for yourself on how much you use your phone each day.
Remember not to judge yourself or your tech use. The point is not to feel bad, just to decide how much tech you want to use and then use your tools to get there.
11. Find Your Play Everyday
“The opposite of play is not work, it’s depression.” – Brian Sutton-Smith
As children, play was fundamental for our development. Through games we learned how to get along and connect with others. Through imagination we imagined new worlds of possibilities for ourselves, our friends and our families. As grown-ups we often feel disconnected and “stuck,” but often try to work our way out of it rather than to just lose ourselves in play.
Think about yourself as a child and when you felt the most free and happy. What were you doing? From sports to collecting buttons, from drawing to chess, there are millions of ways we play. Find a way you like to play and see if you can incorporate it more in your life.
12. No Toilet Texting
We know about sexting, but what about SHEXTING? According to a recent poll, 75% of Americans admit to using their mobile devices while on the toilet. Not only can spending extra porcelain time with your phone contribute to developing hemorrhoids, but this study found that one out of every 6 phones tested had fecal matter on it. You can keep your poop in the bathroom by keeping your phone in your pocket.
Some of the best ideas and innovations come from the quiet contemplation of the commode. Don’t let compulsive screenage rob you of creative genius. Try taking tech-free toilet time and see what you can create . . . besides . . . you know.
And if you’re reading this on the can right now . . . how about a courtesy flush?
13. Intragram your Life
New studies indicate that when we take a picture of something, we are less likely to remember it. Many of us take pictures of our lives and our vacations to share on social media or to look back on later. But by doing that, are we actually losing the opportunity to be present and take in the moment?
This year commit to Intragraming! Rather than taking pictures and sharing them online, just take it in yourself and then tell your friends about it later. Get a nice journal and a good pen. Always have a pad of paper on you ready to write down your thoughts, ideas, visions, and things you might want to ask someone or look up later. Instead of taking photos, draw your “four-inch frame” picture or write about the experience. Put down your phone and pick up your pen!
14. No Texting and Driving
How important is that text really? A recent report revealed that the average person takes their eyes off the road for up to 5 seconds when sending or receiving texts. At 55 mph, that’s the length of a football field! In fact you are 23% more likely to get into a crash while you are texting.
Put away your phone and take care of yourself and those driving near you.
15. Turn Off Push Notifications
Turn off the push notifications you get on your smart phone from social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Emails, etc. Choose when you want to check your messages and be intentional about it. Don’t let the beeps and buzzes of the online world pull you from the moment that you are currently enjoying.
Try going to your phone’s settings and turning off all those notifications. Unless you are responsible for saving lives, you really don’t need to be on call.
16. Phone Calls First
We’ve all been there. We’re trying to text a heart felt sentiment or complex instructions and we think, “If only there was a way to just tell them this. . .” Well guess what? It’s called your phone.
50% of Americans prefer to communicate digitally rather than in person. Try and call people directly, instead of spending tons of time going back and forth via email to setup a call. Sometimes just picking up the phone can cut out a lot of unnecessary time spent online in the inbox. And if someone needs to get a hold of you, tell them that if it is an emergency, critical or if they just want to connect – that calling is the best way.
17. Set a Schedule
Set certain times of the day for doing different tasks or activities like using Facebook, checking emails, reading, etc. If someone sends you a link to an article or you come across a video that seems interesting, try and put them aside as a bookmark or in a folder to go through later at a specific part of my day. Check emails in batches and share content in the same way. By segmenting the day, it’s easier to manage time online and be more efficient – avoiding “black-hole technology loops.” Minimize working out of the inbox and be proactive with your time.
18. Wear a Watch
Ever wondered what time it was, so you looked at your phone and after 5-10 minutes of checking email, you put your phone away and still didn’t know what time it was? You’re not alone.
Wearing a watch can have a huge impact on how often you are on your phone. Limiting the amount of time you check it limits the amount of times you can get pulled in.
Try wearing a watch for a week and see if there’s a change for you.
We hope this gives you some inspiration for your own digital detox 2018. Should you and your colleague want to experience a Digital Detox in the new year be sure to check out this page for more information.