A group of young friends sit around a coffee table playing a card game. On the coffee table sits a sign that says "device free zone".
Wellness trends

Strategies for Digital Detoxing and Mindful Technology Use

April 18, 2024

For so many of us, screens take up the majority of our day. Professionals and students complete their work on computers, only to take breaks by scrolling on phones or watching TV. Technology makes a fantastic pastime, but too much screen time can be detrimental to mental and physical well-being.

It’s important to be intentional with how and when you take technology breaks to ensure you’re prioritizing your health. 

Let’s examine a few different ways you can digitally detox and be more mindful about how you use technology.

Set No-Phone Spaces or Schedule Unplugged Hours

Rather than letting yourself scroll endlessly through social media and other online platforms, try setting limits on when and where you use your phone.

Prioritize family time, exercise, reading, and getting outside — all without phones or tablets. Not only will you get a much-needed break, but you’ll also benefit from being fully present without technology. For families with children who often use phones or tablets, try having sit-down dinners without tech. 

For professionals who spend most of their time on computers, track when you often turn to scrolling. Consider turning off your phone after work hours to disconnect and pursue offline hobbies or keeping technology out of certain decompression spaces like your bedroom. Along with mental benefits, this also gives your eyes a much-needed rest after being on screens all day.

Create Analog Habits Before Bed and in the Morning

Taking the time to be present at the very beginning and end of your day can do wonders for mental well-being. Consider going phone-free for the first and last 30 minutes of your day.

With this time, you can practice personal journaling, meditation exercises, gratitude journaling, exercise, reading, or just taking a beat. This enables you to start and end your day with intentionality — and gives your brain more time to wind down or start up without the stressors (both positive and negative) that come from technology use.

Use Apps and Settings to Foster Healthy Boundaries 

Most technology out there today is designed to be used frequently. App developers prioritize features that get people clicking more and staying longer — so it can be extremely hard to rely solely on self-control to disconnect.

Luckily, there are new apps and even phone and tablet settings designed to help you cut down on screen time. Apple’s iPhones and iPads have screen time controls built into their system controls in addition to multiple focus-oriented notification settings. 

You might also consider investing in apps designed to curb technology usage — with a few built especially for families. A few of the most popular apps include: 

Consider Deleting Social Media Apps Off Your Primary Device

If you find yourself spending more time than you’d like on social media and suffer negative mental health from these sites, you might want to consider going on a social detox.

A full social detox may not be realistic for most people, as social media is how many of us get news, connect with loved ones, and receive community updates. So instead of fully deleting or deactivating profiles, simply delete the apps off your primary device or cell phone.

By limiting social media usage to your secondary devices, you can effectively create more friction to log on and spend less time scrolling.

No matter your motivation for wanting to spend less time on screens, you can easily take baby steps to lower your screen time daily. As with so many things, it’s best to get online with moderation and keep healthy amounts of time for the ‘analog’ things you love in life. 

If you feel like you’re struggling to take time away from screens or your mental health is significantly impacted by technology or social media use, be sure to contact your doctor or a mental health professional.

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