We are so connected to our phones, tablets, and laptops today because we rely on our technology for so much more than just communication. To add onto our technology addiction, many of us sit at a desk typing on a computer or talking on the phone from 9-to-five. Basically, we are inundated with technology and it can get the best of anyone.
I can feel myself getting overwhelmed a couple of times a month. And once I do, I go on a little digital detox! If you are on the verge of cutting all the cords, take a deep breath, and try out some of my most coveted digital detox tips.
Restore and relax your muscles: While I love my 9-to-5 job, it takes a toll on my body—mostly because I sit and stare at a computer for eight hours—and as a journalist with deadlines, my stress levels can rise rapidly. I recently found out about a new service called the "Digital Detox Massage," offered by George The Salon, located in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood. Needles to say, I rushed to the salon to try it out after one of the most stressful weeks I have had at work in a while. The massage concentrates on the upper body for 25 ($75) or 55 ($120) minute sessions, working out the tension in the scalp, jaw, temples, face, neck, and shoulders, which often experience the most signs of pain and discomfort due to day-to-day technology use. The massage helped with my poor posture and hand, neck, and back pain that I have inherited from my desk job. Shockingly, I was even more stressed out than I thought as my massage therapist reminded me to relax multiple times during the beginning of the massage. And once I finally tuned out the stress of wondering who was emailing me right now and thinking about the projects I needed to finish first thing in the morning, the massage put me on cloud nine, and technology couldn't get to me! If you are visiting or live in Chicago, you can book your very own Digital Detox massage by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312 923 9444.
Keep Track of Your Media Consumption: Try keeping a "media journal.” I do this at work to increase my productivity. I only allow myself one hour of cell phone use in the office. So every time I pick up my phone, I log the time (more about this in the next tip) There are also apps like Checky and Moment that you can download, which help you keep track of how many times you check your phone. They also allow you to disable certain functions on your phone, which will ultimately keep you away from it.
Set boundaries: After you have realized how much you rely on your phone or other digital addictions by keeping track in your media journal or with the help of apps, set some realistic boundaries for your digital consumption. Don't try to quit cold turkey. Start with boundaries like setting your phone to Do Not Disturb at 9:00 p.m., disable social media notifications on your phone, or set a time boundary that you spend on your phone (like I do at work).
Disable social media notifications: When my Instagram started receiving a lot of traffic, my phone began to consume me. Every single like or follow notification I received, I looked at. However, I disabled both my Facebook and Instagram notifications so that I could focus more on work instead of picking up my phone every three minutes. Social media can also create a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out), stress, and tension in our lives. Disabling notifications can relieve a lot of the stress and pressure you feel from social media.
Get rid of the clutter: Similar to the way social media apps can pull you back into your technology love affair, emails can too. But how many of those emails are actually important and worth your time? Probably less than half. Go to Unroll.me to unsubscribe from all of those spammy emails you signed up for to get a discount or a free tanning session. Weeding out the emails you swipe to delete is actually a really refreshing project. And instead of the triple digit notification on your email app, you may only see double or single digits. What a relief!
George The Salon provided me with a complimentary Digital Detox massage. All opinions are 110% my own.