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How to do a digital detox

If you’re ready to begin a digital detox, follow these steps:

1: Decide on a behavior to change
First, determine the issue. Are you always connected to your smartphone? Does the news stress you out? Are you spending too much time on social media? Figure out which activities you want to reduce or eliminate.

2: Create goals
Set a goal for yourself based on whether you’d like to reduce or eliminate the use of a certain device or type of media. Make it specific. Will it be all day or only at certain times? For example, you may decide to only spend 15 minutes a day on social media, put your phone in a different room at night or make Sundays a tech-free day.

3: Make a time commitment
It takes time to break strong digital habits. Plan to commit to at least two weeks. You want to get to the point where it feels like you’ve broken the habit.

4: Gather support
It’s nice to have a partner, family member or close friend to encourage you and provide accountability. Share your goals with supportive people. You can even ask them for ideas on how to stop your targeted behavior.

5: Assess your progress
A few days after starting your digital detox, check in with yourself on how it’s going. Beware of swapping one digital habit for another. For example, if you’re spending more time on Instagram now that you’re off Facebook, you may need to consider removing social media entirely.

6: Consider long-term changes
Notice the benefits and barriers you experienced during the digital detox. What happened when you stopped watching the news for three hours straight? How did you feel when you weren’t using Facebook or Instagram? Was it easier than you thought or tough to do? Then decide if you’d like to keep any aspect of the change moving forward.

Doing a digital detox is about taking charge of how you spend your time and energy and what you give your attention to. It helps you realize what you want more and less of so you can break unhelpful habits and create new, more meaningful ones.

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