From tweets to texts to blog posts to ‘likes,’ our lives are saturated with technology. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, there comes a point where you just need to step back from the digital noise and unplug–literally. If, like me, your eyes feel like they’re about to fall out of your head after staring at a screen all day, learn how wean yourself off of 24/7 tech and revitalize your mind and spirit (hands free!) with these tips.
1. Turn off push notifications. Not only are they obnoxious, but every time a push notification, pop-up, or alert comes through (You’ve got mail! Download the new version of Candy Crush! There’s a sale at Asos.com!!) it prods you into checking your gadget excessively. Reduce the clutter by disabling all push notifications, and set designated times to check things like email or texts, so you don’t find yourself scrolling aimlessly out of boredom.
2. Sign out and sign off. As soon as you type an ‘f’ into the address bar, ‘facebook.com’ auto fills in. Without even thinking you automatically click to enter, and suddenly 3o minutes later you’re left wondering why you just wasted so much time reading your old high school science teacher’s profile (no? just me?). Avoid this common pitfall by signing out of extraneous apps like Facebook and Twitter, as well as removing the apps from your phone. You could even go a step further and clear your browser history, log out, and turn off your address bar’s auto complete feature. Although it seems minor, having to sign in creates one more roadblock to mindless scrolling and limits compulsive social media use. If you lack the willpower, you could even download a tool like Self Control, which blocks certain sites for a specified time.
3. Go into airplane mode. So you want to listen to music on your run, but don’t want to be tempted to answer texts and calls while you’re at it- utilize your phone’s airplane mode so you can still use certain apps without the extra digital distractions.
4. Create a no-tech zone. Set designated areas in your home where all gadgets are banned, and stick to them. For example, I adhere to the rules of no phones at the dinner table and no laptops in bed. Focus on the person you’re with and be in the present moment, rather than tethered to your technology.
5. Take a day off. This might seem drastic, but sometimes what you really need to break a bad habit is a total detox. Challenge yourself to go a full 24 hours without looking at a screen, go for a hike in an area with no cell coverage, go scuba-diving, anything you can think of for one whole day (or more) that does not allow for technology.
Ever feel overwhelmed with the technology in your life? How do you take a tech break?
Also by Sarah: How to Become a Better Listener
7 Practical Ways to Practice Mindfulness in Daily Life
Related: What I Learned from Going Off Facebook for a Year
How to Deal with Social Media Anxiety