You've decided. You are ready to commit to a Digital Detox.
But where do you begin? Do you turn off all your devices?
The answer is a clear NO!
After doing dozens for Digital Detox's, I have learned this:
Preparation is key to a successful Digital Detox. It will create clear intentions, communication, and integration.
Here are ten ways I prepare for a Digital Detox (in no particular order)
1. How will you Detox?
There isn't one right way to "log off." It can be a three-week break from social media or two days without any digital access. How you do your Digital Detox is up to you and your physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. If you find yourself unfulfilled, tired, and disconnected in your relationship because you've created the habit of watching Netflix for three hours each night, then decide to do something different in the evenings to make a more restful and connected life.
2. Decide on a date or decide to be flexible.
There are times in life we need more structure. We know we do not have any plans for a specific weekend and can be "offline" for those two days. At other times, there may be this sense of overwhelm and desire to turn off your phone at a moment's notice. Whatever your drive is, are you that person who likes to go "cold turkey" or prepare a bit more? I've learned that a little preparation can go a long way, so even if cutting it off suddenly is your method, keep reading for some tips to smoothly make the Digital Detox move.
3. What will you do instead?
Sometimes I do a detox where I don't plan anything. It feels liberating to go with the flow of life, take a spontaneous bike ride with my son, and live with no agenda.
Other times, I already have prior commitments or creative house projects that need my attention. How much or how little you plan is up to you. If you struggle to think of things you will do, list 20-30 things you can do without your phone, including cooking a delicious meal or going for a long walk in nature. On the other side, sometimes it feels nice to go with the flow of that day. You may meet a new friend or belly laugh with your child.
4. Share it with those that matter.
Is your digital Detox something you want to share on your social media, or do you want to keep it private? Does your partner know? Your parents? Your Co-workers? Who are those people that may need you during your digital Detox? If there is an emergency, how can you be reached?
These are all questions that are helpful to answer before beginning.
At the same time, understand that this untraditional approach to digital life may surprise some people, and there may be pushback. Don't let their own attachment, fear, and doubt sway you. You are doing the right thing for YOU; their emotional reaction is not your issue. Be firm in your Digital Detox, and acknowledge that everyone is in a different space with their devices.
5. Be clear in your communication
There have been times in my digital detox experiences when I have not been clear with my partner, Michael, on what I needed from him. It ended with a fight and a sincere apology afterward. Ensure that you communicate clearly with the people that matter most to you. During your Detox, you may be tempted to turn on your phone. Don't. Prepare by having clear and honest communication with those who matter most.
Simply place the boundaries and intentions beforehand with those who matter to you so you clearly communicate how you can be reached, where you will be, and what you will be doing.
6. What are you longing for?
A Digital Detox asks us to put away our phones, tune into our true nature and deepest desires, and reflect on the person we are today, not what the media tells us to be. Before and during your digital Detox, ask yourself what you truly need? What are you longing for? Is it a more profound connection? A sense of belonging? A need to feel connected to your body? What will you do in those moments when you would usually reach for your phone? What are you longing for?
7. How will you return to it?
How you prepare is just as important as how you return to it. A Digital Detox is meant to have you return to your devices with a better sense of why. When you return to your device, make that time and space sacred. Give yourself the freedom to receive whatever is on it. There may be things that do not serve you like they did before. Be aware of your feelings, intentions, and how you use them as you return. You are in control of how you use it, don't let it use you.
8. Emergency! I NEED my phone
Do you really? Like really really really need your phone?.....
9. Take all the apps off your phone, set e-mail alerts, and delete digital cues
Part of preparation is digital preparation. This is in the same line as communication. Set any e-mail alerts, clear those apps you will not use, hide your phone out of sight or have someone do it for you, and get out all those last-minute calls and cues to go to your devices. Clearing cues in your digital space before a digital detox can help with that urge to check it. If and when you feel the desire to check your phone, it will feel peaceful to know that you did what you could to prepare, and everything is taken care of. This step isn't necessary, but it is helpful. You are exactly where you need to be.
10. Create an intention
Lastly, your intention during your Digital Detox will create the foundation for its effectiveness. Write down your intention each time you embark on this journey of disconnecting. Each time, your feelings, intentions, and reasons may be a little different. Each time, something different may come of this cleanse. May your intention be strong enough to pull you out of your head and into your heart, so you can live with more purpose and alignment on your life's path.
Following these ten ways to prepare for your Digital Detox will be a smooth ride. I am here for you if you need any help or guidance through your experience! You can connect with me through e-mail at Melissa@oraclewellness.org. It is always nice to have some extra support as you embark on a reprogramming, revitalizing, and recharging experience of a digital detox.