Have you ever felt trapped in a sticky web of likes, favorites, notifications and infinite scrolling? Have you ever felt yourself staying awake at night staring at the glare of your phone as you obsessively check through your news feeds? Answered yes to these? Then you are not alone. In fact a study by the University of Derby relayed that 1 out of every 8 people they surveyed has a smartphone addiction.
We currently are living in a technological driven society where the Internet has allowed us to get access to parts of the world that we have never thought we would be able to tap into. Tools like social media has allowed us to connect to people who have the same interests, no matter how niche they may be. These days a 20-year-old female who has a love for collecting porcelain cats can log in to an Internet forum and connect with a 19 year-old-boy from Delhi, India with the exact same passion for collecting fragile felines. Alas, with great power comes great responsibility. An overabundance of anything can be toxic and the Internet is no different. In fact with the invention of smartphones and the ability to literally have the whole world in our hands, tearing ourselves away from the infinite motion of scrolling through our feeds can be as hard as kicking a tobacco habit. In fact just like tobacco, researchers have said that social media and certain apps are so addicting that they should come with a warning label on them before users can download. Internet/smartphone addiction has become such a growing issue that in-patient Internet rehab centers have begun to pop up in large numbers. However, before the only choice is to check into one of these programs, try one of our 15 tips to help detox yourself from the Internet.
1.Find a hobby that does not require Internet usage
Believe it or not, but that sweater you saw your mom knitting wasn’t just to punish you with a mass amount of itchy material that you would be forced to wear, but this is actually a hobby that promotes healthy brain function and doesn’t require using the Internet. Knitting may not be your thing, but try going to a craft shop and find something that peaks your interest. Finding something you love that doesn’t require the Internet will reawaken the notion that the Internet is not end all be all of entertainment in your life.
2.Take at least 1 vacation a year in a remote place
Vacations can be costly, but budgeting correctly or finding something affordable will help you get unplugged while also de-stressing yourself from any other toxic situations that may be effecting you. If you really want to go all in then try a South East Asian area that will help you meditate as well as relinquish the urge to want to indulge in technology again.
3.Get a web-blocking program or app
Sometimes the temptation to dive back into the world of technology and the only way to prevent yourself from doing so is to give yourself no other choice. This is when a web-blocking program comes in. These programs allow you to set it up on your desktop or device and set a timer for how long you want it to block you from the Internet. These types of programs are especially important if you have some sort of work you need to finish and you need to be free from distractions.
4.Set up a room in your living space that is technology free
Sometimes just seeing items like TVs, phones, speakers and laptops is enough to set off the “I must go on the Internet” instinct in you. Try designating one room that is free from any technology with the exception of lights (or maybe just try using candles or a lantern). Keep a few books and magazines in here and take at least 1 hour out of the day to sit in here and detox yourself from the day.
5.When having days out with your friends, family or significant other, leave your phone at home
If someone is trying to enjoy a moment with you or have a good time with you only for you to pay more attention to your Twitter feed this could strain relationships or leave bad impressions. Try leaving your phone at home or at least in the car when attempting to engage with other people.
6.Unless there is an emergency, avoid taking your phone out on lunchbreaks while at work or school
If you work in an office or any administrative type job, chances are you will have to plant yourself in front of a computer or device for a majority of your day. During your leisure breaks or lunch breaks, try leaving your devices at your desk and taking a walk around the area. Chances are you will discover some new things without the distraction of your devices.
7.Designate days for ridding yourself of the digital burden
Organization and planning makes all of the difference. Rather than just deciding to take a break at the spur of the moment, write in a paper calendar a few times a month the days and times that you decide to eliminate yourself from the digital world. Seeing it written down makes it concrete and makes it more likely that you will stick to the plan.
8.Create a contract with your significant other that states that you will have at least one time a month you just focus on each other
When I say contract I don’t mean a creepy 15 page, 50 Shades of Grey type of contract. Something simple that states a day of the month that you both unplug and focus on each other with no devices in sight.
9.Keep your devices in another room while you sleep
According to a study done at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in London, the glow of your devices before bedtime can create reduce levels of melatonin which will affect your desire to sleep. Do not use your device right before sleeping and leave it in a completely different room to avoid the temptation to wake up and check it.
10.Turn your WiFi router off at night
Another way to keep yourself from ruining your sleep is to turn off your WiFi router before bed. That way even if you do reach over to fulfill that impulse you won’t have any Internet to work with and it takes way more of an effort to walk over to your router and start it back up again.
11.Give someone trustworthy your device and let them lock it and change the password
If you don’t trust yourself to stay away then give someone you do trust your device and let them change the password. Tell them not to give you the password all day unless it is an emergency.
12.Try going vintage and using some old technology
Unfortunately these days even simple things like trying to listen to some tunes requires us to login to our devices and go right back into the digital world. We often forget that before the days of smart devices we had things like CD players and radios. Consider taking it old school and creating a mixtape on a CD with your favorite tunes on it so you won’t have to go back online.
13.Spend more time in water
Frolicking in lakes, oceans and pools pretty much requires you to not have any devices in your hand unless you never want them to work again. Spending a lot of time swimming will force you to be away from your device. If you aren’t by any large bodies of water or the weather doesn’t permit you to do this then just draw a bath and relax in it with your hands in the water.
14.Consider downgrading your device
Unless you are a bustling business CEO of a Fortune 500 company, most people don’t need these high tech devices that can store hundreds of apps. Consider downgrading your phone to hold less memory. This way you will have to choose a few important apps and won’t have a phone packed with distractions. Not only will this save you money, but it will help you in the long run.
15.Go to a digital detox retreat
Although not a full-fledged rehab, places like Digital Detox Company and Camp Grounded are taking adults and putting them in natural environments and allowing them to escape from the hustle and bustle of the digital world. These innovative places are taking the therapeutic and community creating sense of camps and making it useful for adults.