Likely you have read a lot of articles about how to cleanse your body after a holiday season of excess. Many of us wake up on January 1st vowing to do better and to detox our body with green juices and set good intentions.
As a health writer and yoga teacher, I can certainly fall into the trap of “I can do better.” From drinking more water to doing better handstands (or just a handstand period), I can exhaust myself with the unquenchable desire to do better and be better. This year, however, I have one main goal: seeking boredom.
Hear me out. It hasn’t been that long when we have had the opportunity to be constantly entertained. I can binge watch Netflix like the best of them (which probably isn’t something I should add to my resume). However when I was waiting in a lineup recently, I noticed with acute clarity that everyone around me was on his or her smartphone. Where was the opportunity to make a joke or share a smile? Where was the chance to forge genuine human connection?
Although we're getting more and more adept at "selfies", online dating and pinning our digital dreams, spontaneous human interactions aren’t as frequent as they used to be. So to make room for what really matters in my life, and to be a little more mindful, I've decided to undergo a digital detox. Month by month, I have some digital detox goals for the new year – and I hope you’ll join me.
Here is my 12-month guide on how to do a digital detox:
January: Avoid your phone for 30mins (minimum) after waking up.
Normally I'm good at this one, but I can certainly slide when I am eagerly awaiting an email. This will open up time for meditating, slowly greeting the day and resetting creativity.
February: Phone off, conversation on.
Turn off your phone off as soon as you meet the person you're going to spend time with.
March: Turn your phone off for at least one day this month.
Make it a stretch goal to turn your phone off one day each week. I may have to warn my mother about this.
April: Set a social media timer & a goal.
Spend 45 minutes a day on social media, tops. We are all about the stats these days and I don’t want to end my year realizing I have spent more time on Facebook then I have seeing my friends. I will not let Facebook win.
May: Take one full day off social media.
Once a month or once a week - whatever you can manage. I’ll use the bonus time to talk to friends I miss and make plans to laugh with them more often. Real laughter trumps LOL-ing any day of the week.
June: Turn off push notifications.
I turned off the sounds of my phone last year and never looked back. I didn’t need to be a Pavlovian dog salivating every time a text came through. I can add to this by turning off email notifications so that I don’t stop what I am doing just because Amazon is letting me know my package is delivered. I figure the drones have it covered.
July: Let your phone die, and take a breath.
If and when my phone runs out of juice, I will not freak out. I will use the time to be more present.
August: Unsubscribe like a boss.
No more email lists that take a good minute to delete every day. I want that minute back!
September: Unfollow and unfriend.
Let’s get ruthless here. Not everyone on Facebook is a real friend. Unfollow the people who you don’t count as a friend and the social media accounts whose posts don’t contribute to your life in a positive way.
October: Delete & clean out.
Get rid of the apps on my phone that no longer serve me. Be honest, do you need an app for that?
November: Keep vacations social without social media.
When on vacation, just be on vacation. My friends will hear about it and my “friends” don’t need another #nofilter travelgram.
December: Banish your phone from the bedroom.
Dust off that old alarm clock and relocate your phone to charge overnight in the kitchen. No more temptation to scroll Instagram before bed = better sleeps!
Who’s with me? Hopefully this digital detox will one day lead to something like saying something as shocking as: “Hello” to a stranger. (Adele was really onto something.)