Spring is the perfect time to reevaluate everything in your life, ditch what’s unnecessary, and get that fresh-start feeling—and that applies to the way you use your tech too. This digital detox is all about seven small changes—a new one for each day—that you can adopt to take your iPhone relationship from obsessive to actually healthy.
“By choosing how and when you use your digital devices, you’re establishing yourself as the master not the slave,” says Dr. Barbara Mariposa, a London-based medical doctor and educator in the field of mental and emotional wellbeing.
“Digital tech overuse means we are ‘always on,'” she says. “It’s really hard to find the off button, especially because of the addictive nature of overuse, and FOMO. The brain needs breathing space as much as the whole human does.”
So follow Dr. Mariposa’s guidelines (which are easy enough to maintain even past your week of detoxing) for the ultimate tech spring cleaning.
Day 1. Banish your smartphone to the couch. You can survive without your smartphone in bed and you’ll probably sleep way better without it. Frequent social media use has been linked to sleep disturbance and poor sleep quality. Go out and buy an old-school alarm clock and use that to wake up every day instead.
Day 2. Unsubscribe to the madness. Rather than frantically deleting emails from stores and publications that you never open, curate your newsletter and other subscriptions to only those that you really really want to read. You’ll spend less time being bombarded by irrelevant information, and make time for more meaningful communication.
Day 3. Go green. Go for a nature-filled walk, and leave your phone behind. Yes, that means resisting the urge to put it on your Snapchat story, or posting an Instagram of the beautiful view and adding a “reconnecting with nature” caption.
Day 4. Speak up. Next time you’re waiting in line, resist the urge to grab your phone and have a conversation instead. It can be about something as trivial as the weather—but we’ll guarantee you’ll feel a lot more gratified than you would after seeing that ‘gram of your friend’s breakfast.
Day 5. Nom noise free. Dr. Mariposa suggests making one mealtime a day digital-free, and one evening a week digital-free. That means no Netflix, social media, or online shopping. It might seem insane, but it’s just one meal and one night a week.
Day 6. Do a phone free hobby. Do something you love, phone-free. That means going for a run totally unplugged, trying a new restaurant without Instagramming it, seeing live music without Snapchatting or lounging in the park without playing music on Spotify.
Day 7. U.S.B. For the final day, grab a sticky note, a pen, and write U.S.B. on it. Stick it on the front of your phone. “Every time you reach for your smart phone, (and notice how often that is), think U.S.B.: UNPLUG. SLOW DOWN. BREATHE. Create your digital device as an anchor to reconnect with yourself,” says Dr. Mariposa.
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