The Lunchtime Digital Detox

Research shows overuse of digital devices can have a negative effect on our appearance and our mental health, but being connected via technology is essential for most business owners. We stake out wellness and mindfulness coach, Alison Nancye*, and ask her top tips for digitally detoxing when you’re time poor – turns out there’s even an opportunity to get some space from your smart phones during work hours.

We live in a society now that is on a constant 24-hour, never-ending cycle to “stay connected” via technology, namely in the form of our digital devices. So many of us wake up and reach for our phones to check-in with the outside world before checking-in with ourselves.

And then, once “plugged in”, many of us are “unable” to disconnect, until our head reaches (or possibly crash-lands) onto the pillow each evening (which is usually preceded by any last minute social media browsing, updates or posts).

It’s not healthy to be wired-in and ‘on’ all of the time. We all need down-time and regular breaks from our digital devices, to reconnect with our inner-world.  Indeed, no matter what your relationship with technology is, everyone can benefit from learning simple tips to create healthier ways of relating to the changing world around us.

While we need technology to run our businesses, service our customers, and communicate with family members and friends, we also need to create ways to take a technology break before we reach breaking point.

When you give yourself permission to take a little time out to breathe, take a walk in the fresh air (without the phone!) and eat a meal without photographing it or texting or talking, then you give yourself the space to recharge.

If you want you, your business and the staff running your business to be genuinely healthy, present and productive, then why not consider taking regular digital detox breaks?

A mini detox can be a genuine start to looking and feeling great

5 Ways To Do A Mini Digital Detox

Like a mini-facial or lunchtime-peel, this a mini digital detox can be factored into your everyday life no  matter what day of the week.

If you want you, your business and the staff running your business to be genuinely healthy, present and productive, then why not consider taking regular digital detox breaks?

  1. Don’t turn your phone on the second you wake up
    When you wake up, give yourself time to wake up in body and mind organically. It could be gentle yoga stretches, meditating, an invigorating shower scrub, a walk or run in the fresh air or simply having a warm cup of something in silence or journaling or goal setting with a pen and notebook.
  2. Turn your phone on silent regularly
    It can take a lot longer to do tasks if you are continually interrupted by phone calls, texts or alert updates. Turn your phone on silent for specific intervals throughout the day to complete pressing tasks.
  3. Eat without phone interruptions
    Choose one meal a day where you are not connected to your phone. Turn it on silent or put it to one side so you can eat mindfully and be present to the food or anyone you may be dining with.
  4. Schedule technology times into your diary
    Hanging out on your phone on social media and browsing online shopping sites can be a great way to spend time or a great time waster. Remember the social media posts will always be there, you won’t miss anything by giving yourself a little more space in your schedule to be present to the people and tasks around you, minus the social media. Choose certain time slots throughout the day to check in and then check out of social media.
  5. Disconnect from technology well before bed
    There is enough research out there reminding us that the light from the phone and computer screens is not a great way to wind down our brain before bed. Turn off your screens at least one hour (ideally two) before you wind down for the day. Read physical books, meditate, listen to music, leisurely cook, hang out with loved ones, friends and family, journal or simply let go and relax before bed.

Guide To A Full Digital Detox

Once you’ve given the mini digital detox a trial, if you’re feeling really courageous it may be time to really go cold turkey and digitally disconnect for a longer time period.

Below is a guide to applying a full digital detox at certain intervals in your life to regroup, refocus and recreate a whole new relationship with your technology and yourself in the process.

  1. Choose 1-2 days to Digitally Detox

    Make a commitment with yourself to disconnect from technology for 24-48 hours (more if you’re really courageous). Stay committed to this timeframe. Prior to going on your digital detox make a list of projects or activities you would like to do during your break. It could be going on a holiday, renovating a room, getting a massage or pamper treatment, or spending time in nature with loved ones (minus the pics to prove it).
  2. Alert People
    Notify relevant people that you will be having a vacation from your technology and when you will be back online again. Put an alert on social media, your phone message service or where people regularly contact you to let you know you are having a technology vacation and when you will reconnect.
  3. Turn off the Television

    The television can be a massive time waster and energy zapper. Have television free evenings or weeks to really free up your space at home and create more space to just relax and be.
  4. Resist the Urge

    You may find it hard not to check your phone but if you genuinely want a break from being digitally connected you need to be strong. It’s like taking a sugar or alcohol detox. If you break the commitment you haven’t done what you set out to do. If you are really finding it difficult, then start with (say) ½ a day digitally detoxing and then build on that skill.
  5. Find New Interests
    We can get in a rut in life doing the same thing day in day out and checking in with technology can be part of that mundane rut. At various intervals throughout the year (the change of season is a great time) pursue new interests. Have new projects to look forward to, holidays to take, home projects to immerse yourselves and you will find you will naturally feel less drawn to waste time on technology.

These 10 ideas can offer a small or significant shift in the way you relate to technology and the way you relate to your life. Start with one digital detox tip and refine it to work best for you. Then, build a new tip into your repertoire and keep going until you reach a place where you feel like you are running your life and your life is not running you.

*Alison Nancye is the author of 10 books and two meditation CDs. She has been meditating for 20 years and is a sought-after speaker and media expert in mind wellness, meditation and mindfulness, life skills and healthy living. ALISONNANCYE.COM