Venetia Falconer, presenter and creator of Talking Tastebuds, shares her tips on how to break up with your phone (not forever!) and enjoy a digital detox.
The best thing we can do for our health in 2019, is to limit our time online. We’re a generation of bed-time scrollers, double-tappers and right-swipers. We choose to tweet instead of chat to the person lying next to us when we get into bed at night. Similarly, the first thing we do when we wake up in the morning, is look at our phone. Either to turn off our alarm, or ‘wake ourselves up’ with the news, social media or group messaging. As a result, we take in an onslaught of information, news and Instagram induced FOMO, before we’ve even had a cup of coffee.
I know what you’re thinking. How can somebody whose job it is to be online, be in any place to give advice on how to use a smartphone less? Well this, dear reader, is precisely the reason why I’ve had to break up with my phone and learn how to set serious boundaries with it. Work stress is hard enough, but combine it with sharing your life online, and you have yourself a pretty punchy bag of anxiety pick-n-mix. In short, I needed a phone-vacay.
Over Christmas, my boyfriend and I decided to switch our phones off for seven days. The first 24-hours were definitely an adjustment, but pretty soon, we were surfing a big, beautiful wave of offline endorphins. So much so in fact, that we extended the seven days to ten. Here’s how we did it…
DIGITAL DETOX: THE TIPS
Step 1: Sort Your Kit List
Start by getting everything you might need.
Alarm clock: In order to be able to wake up without your phone, I suggest getting a proper alarm clock. I’ve had a Lumie for years, it wakes me up gently with a sunrise and sends me to sleep with a sunset. If that’s too pricey, find a second-hand old-school one or, if you trust yourself – sleep with the curtains open (but maybe that’s a weekend practice).
Books: You will have so much more time on your hands without the incessant thumb action. My current reading list is The Power, The Rules Do Not Apply and Why We Sleep. Have a dive into Cosy – it really is the perfect accompaniment to a winter digital detox.
Activities: I spent a lot of time walking in VivoBarefoot trainers and think Wool and The Gang is a great way to use your fingertips – whilst being productive and sustainable at the same time. WIN WIN my #Woke friends!
Notepad: No more ‘Notepad’ app means actual WRITING ON PAPER with an actual PEN. So much time for journaling and planning out all your remarkable ideas! That little A-Level index finger callus might even reappear.
London A to Z: Goodbye Google Maps. Hello London-Cabbie-Driver-In-The-Making.
Step 2: Share The News!
Switch on your ‘Out Of Office’ – and obviously have a word with your boss beforehand.
Tell people you’re turning your phone off so they’re not worried (admittedly, the majority don’t notice). Broadcasting this on Instagram and YouTube is not essential, but held me very accountable.
Write down any important numbers that you might need and find the numbers and address of where you’ll be during your time, so you’re contactable in case of an emergency.
Step 3: Turn Off Your Phone
I’ve done digital detoxes where I have deleted my social media apps, but the difference in turning off your device completely is VAST. Go on, switch it off, I dare you…
Brilliant benefits of that I noticed from the switch off:
– I had so much more time!
– My head was clearer.
– I felt much more present.
– I actually used my watch as more than a fashion accessory #twobirds #sustainable
– I slept better and had really vivid dreams.
– I enjoyed finding activities to keep me occupied. Even if that meant counting the spider webs on my bedroom ceiling. True story.
– Without the distraction of Instagram food porn, I snacked less and ate more intuitively.
– Navigating my way around without the help of Google Maps was rewarding and FUN.
– My skin and eyes looked brighter than they had in YEARS.
AFTER THE DETOX…
This is the time where you can put your hard work to good use and set some boundaries:
– Change your phone background to something less glorious to look at than your dog/baby/fitpso. A simple message like ‘REAL LIFE DOES NOT RESIDE HERE’ might work.
– You no longer need to go to bed with your phone. Two hours before bed, turn on ’night mode’ and at least one hour before you go to bed, switch it off and leave it in another room.
– Keep it off in the morning until you’ve been awake for at least an hour. I try not to turn it on until I’ve left the house.
– You will have noticed how many of your apps are entirely unnecessary. It’s time to declutter and delete!
– Similarly, it’s time to refresh your social media feeds. Go on an unfollow spree and make sure the accounts that you do follow are making you feel happy, or giving you something useful. Follow a variety of people living a variety of lives.
– Where possible, schedule in specific time slots to reply to Whatsapps.
– Restrict the amount of time you spend on social media, if necessary, set a timer to 10 minutes at a time and stick to it.
– Try to only reply to emails when you’re at a laptop or at a computer screen.
– Schedule in a regular digital detox! Perhaps once or twice a month for 24-48 hours.
So there we have it! Please remember to like and share this article on ALL your social media platforms if you found it useful. Lol kidding. Turn off your phone. Maybe. But share this first. Ok?