Chances are your smart phone is in your hand right now, whilst I’m thankful you are reading this article there is a pressing question I need you to ask yourself. How often do you check your phone per day?
I’m betting to many times to actually count. We keep our phones charged at our desks, we school through funny memes on Facebook, wish friends happy birthday and keep tabs on our crush who is currently travelling through Europe, we screen shot the shoes we like and send them to friends for feedback, we edit our lives into a heightened show reel which shows us in our best light to our followers and peers.
We can’t help but to watch the notifications roll in each time we post, research suggests that every new notification or text triggers actually release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that drives us to seek rewards, so we keep going back for more. So here’s a scary fact, most smartphone users tap, click or swipe their phones a minimum of 2,617 times a day. In fact, our phones are very rarely used to actually make calls, we use them mostly for texting and social media fulfilment, but where do we draw the line?
This vicious cycle is taking a toll on our mental wellbeing, relationships and health, it’s time to put the phone down and give yourself a little digital detox. Here is the top 5 ways to tox away from the touch phone.
Disable pushes and notifications
Sounds simple enough right? By turning off any Apps that send you an alert when someone contacts you or likes a post will trigger you less to pick up your phone. Give yourself boundaries of how many times a day you can actually check your phone (think lunchtime and after work) and also how much time you will spend on each site. This way you’re not offline totally but rather choosing the appropriate times to access your social media channels.
No phones during meal times
I was guilty of catching up with friends and scrolling through my phone instead of engaging in conversation with them, considering this group of friends and I only get to catch up monthly this was becoming an obvious issue. So we made a rule that there are to be no phones looked at during meal times, my friends and I now put our phones in a pile at the end of the table and if anyone looks at them during the meal they have to pay the bill. It’s a sure fire way to keep your phones away during meals and actually catch up properly about what’s been happening in your world.
Take regular and mini-digital detoxes
The first thing I used to do when waking up was scroll through my social media, unfortunately I found that one negative comment on Instagram or a random cruelty to animals’ video on Facebook could negatively impact my mood for the rest of the day. So I put a plan in place not to touch my phone prior to 9.30am, this gave me the chance to walk my dog in the morning or smash out a gym sesh before I was impacted in any way by social media or even emails. I also don’t check my phone after 9.30pm, ensuring I also have a little digital detox before bed which helps me to sleep better and wake up feeling fresh.
Buy yourself an alarm clock
How many times have you woken up because the brightness of your screen has filled your room with light? The perfect way to ensure this no longer happens is to buy yourself an alarm clock to wake you up instead of using your phone. Charge your phone overnight in another room, that way instead of waking up to your Iphone alarm clock and then scrolling through social you will roll out of bed, shower, have a walk and eat breakfast before you even need to touch your phone.
Go on a digital detox adventure
Instead of scrolling through other people’s photography or hiking adventures, go out there and do it yourself! Identify which apps or sites you are spending the most time on and ask yourself why you a drawn to them, then go and find that satisfaction in real life instead of behind your screen. Use all of your senses to engage in what you are doing rather than filming everything for Instagram stories and taking pictures to post to your feed. Invest in a camera instead of using your phone if you really want to capture the memory and find time to then add these photos to an album for you to flick through for years to come.
Remember that social media when used correctly is a powerful and awesome tool, but you cannot let it consume your time and days. Put the phone down and treat yourself to activities that are in rea time and are real life. Happiness is right there for you outside of a phone screen, you just have to grab it.