I was out to dinner the other day, me and my husband, with some friends of ours, and sitting across from us at a table was a group of young girlfriends (they were in their early to mid-twenties) and out of the corner of my eye I see all four of them on their phones . . . . sitting down to have a nice dinner and all four of them had their noses buried in their phones . . . THE ENTIRE TIME! I was honestly baffled.
Is it so normal to forego conversation with each other, to have our noses buried in our phones every chance we get, that we don't think twice about this? It's sad honestly.
After dinner I made a decision, I was going to undergo a digital detox of my own, and, involuntarily, so was my husband. He too has become bad about being on his phone every free chance he gets and I am constantly asking him why? Why not read a book, enjoy the peace and quiet, or go do something productive?
So this year, my family is going to be more consciously aware and mindful of how we are spending our free time. Instead of being locked into the digital universe, we are going to enjoy conversations with each other and those around us, make sure we are really listening and paying attention, as well as enjoying the little things more often such as being outside hiking, kayaking, camping, enjoy the peace and quiet, read a good book, journal, or play some board games, or whatever our hearts desire. We are going to focus on unwinding, stepping away from technology, and enjoying the opportunities that surround us.
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I recently learned the term for this behavior, phubbing. It's the act of snubbing someone by using your phone in their company and unfortunately, it has become so ingrained in today's social behaviors that you might not even notice you're doing it.
So before you can begin your own digital detox journey, the very first step is to pay attention and be mindful of how you are spending your free time. Are you phubbing others on a regular basis? Are you regularly doing something productive? If the answer to this is no or not as often as you would like, I would love for you to join me on this journey of digital detox. Practice makes permanent and eventually, it will become a habit to use your phone only when needed.
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Starting Your Digital Detox Journey
There are different levels to unplugging, but before we get into that, here are some points you need to take into consideration when beginning your detox journey.
Commit to Phone Free Activities
Make Phone Free Dates
Build These Phone Free Periods Gradually
How do you do this? It's easier than it sounds! Creating a plan, using a camera instead of your phone (I know, we're going old-school), and preparing before your journey starts is going to make this process ENJOYABLE . . . . yes, I said enjoyable! By the end of this detox, you're going to feel like you have your life back and you're living it.
Create a Plan: Set your goal and make plans for activities and adventures.
Use a Camera: Capture moments without your phone.
Bring a Notebook: "The unstimulated mind is the most creative mind." Unleash your ideas and creativity on paper or simply write down how you are feeling each day and about your digital detox journey.
Invite a Friend: Experiencing your digital detox with someone else is going to make this journey not only more enjoyable but more memorable. Work on your communication and relearn what it means to be grateful for peace and quiet.
Use an Alarm Clock: Use an actual alarm clock instead of your phone, or if you can sleep in! Your body will naturally wake itself up when it has gotten the amount of sleep it needs (this is different for everyone).
Read a Good Book: There is something about the fresh print of a book and its crisp pages. Get rid of the tablet books and actually enjoy a real-life book!
Download an Internet Blocker: These allow you to focus on what is important such as messages from family and friends, as opposed to what the latest TV star is up to.
Different Levels of Unplugging
Remember, you want to start your digital detox off gradually. If you jump in at full speed it's not going to work. Cold Turkey my friends, is a no-go!
Level 1: 1 hour per day
Level 2: 1 hour in the morning and the last hour before bed
Level 3: 6 hours
Level 4: 24 hours
Level 5: All weekend
I want to take a moment and thank @genpadalecki for this incredible breakdown of digital detox levels! You are such an inspiration.