The authour of Unplugged: How To Live Mindfully In A Digital World talks us through how to achieve a 24-hour digital detox.
We’ve all felt that rising panic when we think we may have forgotten, or lost our smartphones. We crave being permanently connected and are filled with anxiety when we are not. A smartphone, does not breathe, or have a pulse or think but we often give it more attention than we give our partners, children and work colleagues. We give it power by allowing it to monopolise our time, thoughts and relationships.
A 24-hour ‘digital detox’ will give you a clearer understanding of what you stand to gain by relaxing your grip on the motherboard of our digital life. You will discover that letting go of your digital grip on life has an upside - it also lets go of you!
Taking the first step is always going to be the hardest part. The idea of separating from what we have come to view as our ‘digital lifeline’ by undertaking a ‘digital detox’, is never going to be easy, but when you decide to ‘unplug’, the benefits will become apparent almost immediately.
8 steps to a digital detox:
1. Choose a day that works for you on a practical level. Find a day when taking an ‘unplugged’ day out will not be too complicated, obviously weekends are often the preferred choice.
2. Set up an ‘away’ message on your email account in preparation for your “digital absence”.If you choose a weekend for your 24-hour digital detox, arranging to respond on Monday is completely acceptable.
3. Double-check that you have everything that you need before you unplug. Print instructions, meeting points, maps, guides and whatever other tech-free items that you will need to make your ‘unplugged’ day run smoothly.
4. Ideally the night before you start your 24 hours ‘unplugged’, switch off all your computers and digital devices and lock them away and store them out of sight especially away from the bedroom.
5. Decide what your intention for the day is and what you would like to focus your attention on for your 24-hour digital detox.
6. As you have a whole day at your disposal, your day may feel unnaturally long without the continuous distraction of your always ‘on’ life. Make plans ideally in advance, for your digital detox day, so that you have a day of activities to look forward to. This is also the perfect opportunity to get physical and reconnect with your body.
7. Make sure to also factor in some ‘down time’ and ‘alone’ time so that you give yourself an opportunity to slow down and give your brain a chance to recover from digital overload. If you plan to be away for the day and go on a trip then try and include some ‘low key’ moments amongst the physical activities.
8. At the end of the day take some time to unwind. Create space to meditate, have a long bath and read a book (instead of a smartphone) before going to bed.
Being unplugged for 24 hours can end up feeling as if you have had a 'life in a day'. You’ve experienced life in 360º instead of in a 2” screen, you’ve worked your body, relaxed your mind, re-connected with loved ones and given yourself a chance to breathe.
Unplugged: How To Live Mindfully In A Digital World, by Orianna Fielding, Carlton, £12.99.