Technology is a pretty neat thing! I met my boyfriend thanks to the Tinder app. I found my current job using the LinkedIn app and a previous job through Twitter. I also met one of my really close friends through Instagram! Crazy, huh?
But too much of something can be a bad thing…
I find myself constantly checking numerous social media platforms to see what everyone is up to these days. It’s the first thing I do to help me wake up in the morning and the last thing I do before bedtime. I take photos of meals and mindlessly check Instagram while watching TV. I know it’s pointless (probably more harmful than good actually), but I still do it.
I first questioned my obsession with technology after reading Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. While I thought the book would be one big laugh, it’s actually very well thought out and researched. In the book, Aziz compares romance today to romance 50 to 100 years ago – including the effect technology has had on the dating game and life. He never declares that one time period is better than the other, but I enjoy pondering this now.
Sure, texting is more efficient than a phone call and the Internet makes writing school papers a lot easier, but there are many cons as well. For example, social media makes me compare myself to others (friends, celebrities, even random strangers!) more so than when I was younger. Back in the good ol’ 1990’s, I’d come home from school and be content in my own little world completely oblivious to what others were doing except for a few close friends. Now, I get home from work and I’m bombarded by other people’s photos of their luxury vacations, tan six-pack abs, and delicious milkshakes all thanks to social media. My mind is full of FOMO and jealousy even though I know I’m comparing my “day-to-day” with someone else’s highlight reel – which is exactly what social media is. It’s completely unnecessary.
Which is why I’ve decided that I could really use a digital detox right about now.
I first heard the concept of a “digital detox” from Arianna Huffington in her book, Thrive. Throughout Thrive, Arianna brings up different digital detoxes (or “digital diets”) that some of her famous friends have completed. One friend spends her Saturdays free of anything digital and another has a “No Phone Rule” while on family vacations. If her family sees her using her phone for anything other than taking photos they are allowed to snatch it up! Even Arianna, herself, participates in an “Unplugging Challenge” during the last week of the year. From Christmas to New Year’s Eve, she stays clear of TV, social media, and e-mail so as to ensure more quality time with her family and friends!
Interested in trying your own Digital Detox? Everyone’s digital detox will be different because our obsessions with technology vary. Maybe you play video games during all waking hours. Maybe you have developed carpal tunnel symptoms from constantly typing on your laptop. Whatever your habit, I’ve compiled some ideas for anyone wanting to cleanse themselves of technology for a bit:
Go Old School: How quickly we’ve forgotten about the classic art of developing a photo. Instead of snapping 1,984,579,834 photos that live only in the digital world, take the time to actually print a photo and frame it! Then delete the other shots from that event. What are you going to do when you’re 84 years old? Sit your grandkids down to look through your Instagram feed instead of an old family photo album?
No Phones Before Bed: Not only does the “No Phones Before Bed Rule” leave you with an uninterrupted hour or two in your day, it will also help you drift off to sleep better since the bright lights from screens tend to mess with our sleep hormones.
Create a “Tech Free Zone”: In one of Ingrid Nilsen’s YouTube videos, she mentions that her bedroom is a “Tech Free Zone”. She doesn’t have a television in there and she uses an alarm clock instead of her cell phone to wake her up in the morning. I’m sure this has more of a positive effect on her subconscious and overall mood then we will ever know!
Don’t Multitask: I’m definitely guilty of multitasking with my iPhone. I catch myself watching TV while also browsing the Internet only to realize that I’ve missed half of the TV show I was “watching”! If you are like me, let’s try to break this habit in 2016. If you are having brunch with friends, keep your cell phone out of sight. If you are walking down the street, keep your head up and your phone put away. Not only is this safer, but a girlfriend told me this is how she gets asked on so many dates. She actually smiles and acknowledges those around her while out and about. What a crazy concept!
Delete, Delete, Delete: A couple months ago, I went through Twitter and Instagram and unfollowed random accounts – accounts that weren’t relevant to me anymore, people who post photos that didn’t make me feel good about myself, etc. Not only is my feed filled with more positive posts now, but I also spend less time scrolling because there are fewer posts to look at. It’s a win-win!
I hope these are helpful. Feel free to leave your version of the “digital detox” in the comments below. Also, join me on February 2nd for a Tech-Free Day fully unplugged from phones (except for calls), televisions, and computers – except for work or school purposes, of course. Comment below to commit to the challenge and invite your friends!
Stay fit and fabulous,
If you enjoy what you read, check out my social media pages (links in the top right corner) for more adventures!