Texas Living

Digital Detox 101

By Abi Grise Morgan 1.8.24

At times, technology serves as a double-edged sword. While our devices keep us informed and connected, they can also foster addictive habits. One study found that nearly a quarter of adults used a mobile device within five minutes of going to bed — and just as many woke up to check their device during the night.

If you’re tired of mindless scrolling, perpetual FOMO, and waking up at night to refresh your inbox, a digital detox can help you consciously reduce screen time. (No “Office Space”-style meltdown with a baseball bat required.)

Benefits of a Digital Detox

A digital detox doesn’t altogether shun the use of all technology. Instead, it’s the process of becoming more conscious and intentional of the time you spend online, which can have profound impacts on your well-being, including:

  • Improved Mental Health: Excessive screen time has long been linked to depression. A digital detox can help you live in — and enjoy — the moment.
  • Enhanced Productivity: Constant notifications and the lure of social media fragment our attention. Putting guardrails on digital distractions can lead to greater productivity.
  • Quality Sleep: Overexposure to the blue light of digital screens, especially before bedtime, can disrupt sleep patterns. Reducing screen time can improve sleep quality.
  • Strengthened Relationships: Less time on devices means more opportunities for face-to-face interactions, bolstering personal connections.

How to Successfully Digitally Detox

You’ll likely have better results if you don’t unplug completely for the same reason that incremental eating habit alterations are preferable to crash dieting: A realistic plan is more sustainable.

Step 1: Set Clear Goals: Decide what you hope to achieve from your digital detox. Do you want to decrease overall screen time? Do you want to get off social media partially or entirely?

Step 2: Create a Realistic Plan: Gradually reduce screen time. Set specific times for checking emails or social media. Allow yourself to use one device at a time. Change the settings on your push notifications or put your device in airplane mode during detox time.

Step 3: Find Alternatives: Replace screen time with analog activities that bring you joy, like finding a new hobby, reading, exercising, or spending time with loved ones.

Step 4: Designate Tech-Free Zones: Establish screen-free areas in your home. For example, silence phones and put them in a basket during dinnertime or keep your bedroom a tech-free space.

Step 5: Use Tech to Your Advantage: Track and limit your screen time with apps already installed on your devices, such as Screen Time (iOS) or Digital Wellbeing (Android).

Step 6: Be Persistent: Change takes time. You will have setbacks, but get back on that wagon and look forward, not back!

There’s a whole world out there, and we can miss incredible moments if we only focus on what’s going on 2 feet away from our faces. Put that phone on silent — don’t leave today on read!

Staying on top of your mental and physical health can seem daunting, but this winter wellness guide provides simple tips and tricks to set you up for success.

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