Digital technology has changed the way we live our lives. While technological advance is a good thing, it has also had an intrusive effect on how we live and on our peace of mind. Some of us are starting to feel like androids from Star Trek, instead of real human beings. Just like them, we walk and drive around all day connected to wires and equipment that constantly beep and ring.
When is the last time you switched everything off for 24 hours? Have you had a day recently when you turned off the TV, the phone, the computer, social media, and the digital watch? If your answer is hmmm…I can’t really remember that, then US Family Health Plan has a plan for you - The 24 Hour Digital Detox.
Digital gadgets, like many other things we try to depend on, can be addictive. However, when we get too entranced by them, we actually lose productivity, balance and ultimately, well-being. In our digitally wired world, we face near constant demands for our attention. And if we don’t let ourselves recharge and reboot, this can mean we quickly burn out or become inefficient.
A digital detox, if only for 24 hours, can help us regain our balance, productivity, and energy. We can refresh our perspective on issues we face, both at work and at home. We even become more creative about solutions that have been in our head all along. What a concept! Breaking away from the constant pinging and ringing of digital gadgets can be healthy for our relationships, our families and most importantly, ourselves. It helps us re-enter the natural rhythm of life that we miss so much.
So, to get started, think about when you might have your next 24-hour block of free time, when you can actually try a digital detox. Do this knowing that when you return back to your normal routine, you will return refreshed, rejuvenated and re-invigorated. It’s not what you call a Caribbean vacation, but it will feel like a close second. That should be all the incentive you need.
Now, here are our 5 recommended steps for taking a 24-hour technology break:
- Switch off all your mobile devices, smartphones, tablets, laptops, radios, and computers for 24 hours. If you don’t think you can manage 24 hours, try a shorter length of time the first go round. Or, if you think you can go longer, by all means do so. During this period, focus on rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. It’s okay to read a book, as long as it’s not on a tablet of any kind. Take a walk in the park or spend some quality time playing around with your kids. Take your spouse on a date.
- While you are digitally detoxing, think about things that energize you and motivate you. Without all those unnecessary interruptions, you will be amazed at what you come up with. Don’t feel guilty. Just relax and let the ideas flow. Use this time and space to get in touch with who you really are, what you really want, and who you really want to spend time with. Think about things that matter.
- Prior to your break, notify your job, your friends and your relatives that your cell phone, social media and email will be turned off for a day or two. That doesn’t mean you don’t love them – you just need a digital break. You may even want to announce what you’re doing on social media if you are especially active there. This may be good encouragement for other to consider taking a similar much needed break.
- Make some enjoyable plans. Only do things you truly enjoy. If you enjoy cooking, then cook up a gourmet meal. If you like to sew, sew up a new designer outfit. If you like to garden, spend the day outside honing in on your gardening game. Or just spend time exploring the city you live in. You will see everything with new eyes, once all of those pesky gadgets are turn off. Whatever you do, do it with maximum attention and enjoyment. Make this day special in every way and savor every moment of it. It may be a while before you can “log off” again.
- Get comfortable with the feeling of being “logged off”. At first, you might feel a sense of unease, and experience a strong urge to check your phone or computer. Just wait, and these feelings should pass. Get on with the activities you had planned, and start to notice the time and space you’ve given yourself. And most importantly, enjoy!
Once you get the hang of it, plan to take these kinds of digital breaks regularly and encourage your loved ones to join in. The more, the merrier! Any addiction, be it food, too much TV or even over shopping, can intrude on your health, your peace of mind and ultimately your wellbeing. Once you try our digital detox, the chances are you will recognize the benefit and want to do it again, even longer. And that is all we want at US Family Health Plan – healthy, happy members. And the benefits of a digital detox pay off well.