How To Do A Digital Detox

Have you ever caught yourself doom-scrolling through a rough day, or dreading the ping of an email notification? The end of a semester offers the perfect opportunity to check in on what’s working (and what’s not) with your digital habits and shift your routine accordingly. Join Class Tracker for a 48 hour digital detox challenge that’ll reset your attachment to your phone and help you stay grounded long after the challenge is over.

What’s a digital detox?

A digital detox refers to a period of time when a person voluntarily refrains from using digital devices. This typically includes smartphones and all forms of social media, computers, smart watches, video games, and television.

Why should I take a digital detox challenge?

Technology is great, but when we’re not mindful of how we’re using it, our constant connectivity can leave us stressed and anxious. One study conducted by researchers in Sweden found that heavy technology use among young adults was linked to sleeping problems, depressive symptoms, and increased stress levels. Social media use can be particularly detrimental, as it’s easy to see the pristine, curated lives of others and feel inadequate by comparison. Cutting back on social media and using technology in general with mindful awareness can greatly improve your overall well-being. A temporary digital detox is a great way to reset your relationship with tech.

Check your app use times on your phone (both Android and Apple have built-in use trackers under settings). If you’re spending more than an hour a day on your phone, or social media leaves you feeling drained more often than inspired, it’s probably time for a digital detox.
Signs You Might Need A Digital Detox

How To Do A Digital Detox

  1. Set your parameters. Choose the length of time you’ll be taking a break from tech and pick a date in advance. We recommend a 48 hour digital detox but if that’s not possible because of school or job commitments, choose a shorter time frame.
  2. Recruit a friend. Having a friend join you for a digital detox helps hold you accountable and gives you someone to hang with who won’t lure you into temptation with TikTok dance challenges.
  3. Let others know you’ll be out of reach for the time you’ve set. This is especially important if you have outside commitments, like a job or picking up a younger sibling.
  4. Plan some no-tech activities. Be sure to do any digital prep you need in advance, like printing directions to a new trailhead, or setting a time and place to meet up with friends.
  5. Set aside time to process. When FOMO creeps up, or you catch yourself reaching for your phone over and over again, sit quietly with yourself instead. Take a moment to journal and see what comes up for you. Don’t be surprised if this becomes an emotional experience; often when we remove digital distractions, difficult emotions we’ve been pushing back come tumbling forward.

Post-Digital Detox Tips

Before you plunge back in, take some time to reflect on what you missed, or didn’t miss, when you took a break from technology.

We live in a digital world, and short of becoming an off-the-grid hermit, much of our modern lives rely on technology. Here’s how to bring a mindful approach to tech use, even after a digital detox. Start by limiting the apps you keep on your phone. You might find there are ones you didn’t miss during your detox that you only open out of boredom or distraction. Limiting notifications in your settings on the apps you do use can help reduce that app’s ability to interrupt your focus, allowing you to choose when you engage with that app more mindfully. You can even limit how much time you spend daily on specific apps if you find yourself spending more time with them than you’d like.

Avoid checking social media first thing in the morning. It’s a tough habit to break, but mornings are an important time for setting your intentions for the day and preparing mentally and physically for the day’s challenges.

Schedule digital downtime. Use your planner to designate no-screen hours in your day and plan a tech-free activity for that time until you become used to it.

Make a habit of only looking at one screen at a time- no scrolling Instagram while watching a movie. If you’re spending time with friends or family, make an effort to put your phone on do-not-disturb and set it out of reach. You’ll find it’s much easier to focus on others when you remove the itch to check notifications.

Finally, no screens for at least an hour before bed. There’s a ton of research linking bedtime phone activity to poor sleep, so build a calming nighttime routine that won’t entice you to zone out on YouTube. Try a couple of restorative yoga postures or take the time to journal about your day.

We hope these tips help you reshape your tech habits and unplug from the digital noise. Happy digital detoxing!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published