There are many benefits to using technology – traveling around the world, connecting with loved ones, learning in the classroom, and even saving lives in hospitals! However, like anything else, technology can be overused and even abused. Sound familiar?
Our culture relies on technology, so it is important to develop a healthy relationship with it. But healthy relationships with technology, and particularly social media, can quickly turn unhealthy or addictive if we are not careful and cognizant of our use or overuse of them.
One way to recognize our relationship with technology is by taking regular technology detoxes. Taking a break from the digital world of social media, television, telephones, tablets, etc., opens up space to genuinely be with ourselves, authentically connect with others, and spend time out in the world. And particularly in nature. Now more than ever this is critical to our best health.
Here are some tips to support you in creating a healthier relationship with technology.
1. Clarify your “why.”
To get the most from a technology detox, it’s important to be intentional and clear on your “why” for doing so. Do you want to feel healthier? Connect with others more often? Lessen your feelings of anxiety or anger? Stop procrastinating? Find more time for creative activities? Getting clear on the “why” will help you stay committed and have the most fulfilling process throughout.
2. Start small.
Because of our cultural reliance on technology, considering a tech detox may seem daunting, or even impossible. Taking small, incremental steps is the key to not being overwhelmed. Instead of going cold turkey, you could choose not to check email after 6pm, limit your Instagram time to twenty minutes a day, or shut the television news media off during after you’ve heard the headlines. Starting small can help you build a sustainable habit and shift how you interact with technology over time.
3. Communicate your detox parameters.
It’s okay to not be available 24/7, but we still have coworkers, families, and friends who we need to communicate with. In general, people tend to be supportive if you decide to take a break from technology, but you’ll likely have a better experience if you simply tell people what you’re doing.
If you don’t tell anyone you’re doing a technology detox and go radio silent, people may think something is wrong or get frustrated that they can’t reach you. Tell people when you’re detoxing, what it includes, and how they can get hold of you if necessary.
4. Fill the void.
Whenever you make changes and stop doing one thing, it’s important to fill that space with something that is nurturing, nourishing, and brings you joy. Before you begin a detox, decide how you want to fill that void. You could go for a hike, read a book, ride a bike, garden, sew, golf, do yoga, play an instrument, or go out to lunch with a friend – the possibilities are truly endless!
5. Notice how technology serves you.
During your detox, note any insights you have regarding your relationship with technology – both the good and the bad! In doing so, you can reevaluate how you wish to engage with it in the most helpful and healthy way. From this place, you can set up a plan for how you want to interact with technology moving forward.
When you have noted some improvements in how you feel, what you spend your time on, what you accomplish, how much more you don’t miss technology in your life, you will likely be inspired to keep doing some measure of detoxing. Of course like anything, you may get sucked back in. But don’t expect perfection, it’s just a process. And you can repeat the cleanse again as again, as often as needed.Enjoy unplugging and filling the space with authentic creativity, connection, and play. Your nervous system will thank you!
To discover the negative effects of technology on your health, click here: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/negative-effects-of-technology#physical-health-effects
To better understand some ways to get in touch with your own body, mind and emotions, instead of numbing yourself with technology, check out my blog article here: https://bewellwithjanel.com/emotions/listen-to-your-body/
As always, I wish you wellness!