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The Working Girl’s Guide to Digital Detoxing

July 1, 2014

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Digital detox is defined by Oxford Dictionary as “a period of time in which a person refrains from using electronic devices, such as smart phones or computers, and is regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.”

When reading this definition, did the thought of putting down your cell phone or closing your laptop give you an instant panic attack? Or did you had the opposite reaction? Perhaps you felt a wave of relief even at the very thought of stepping away from the digital world for awhile. 

If you noticed yourself feeling either of these reactions, it may be time for a much needed (and possibly dreaded!) digital detox. In today’s world, where so much of what we do is online, it’s incredibly difficult to pull yourself away from your electronic devices completely. For most of us, our jobs depend on the Internet, so a full-on digital detox is not feasible. 

Rest assured, there is a way to detox without losing your job. This is where the working girl’s digital detox comes in! This is a plan to eliminate all of the extra “noise” on the Internet that will allow you to focus on your real life, not the life your Instagram followers think you have!

1.    Find the Right Time

Picking the right time to start your digital detox is crucial. Try to find at least one week where you can commit to limiting time spent on your computer or phone. For most of us, especially those who work in social media or as bloggers, it is impossible to be fully disconnected. Pick a time where you might not be as busy at work. If you are a blogger, don’t feel bad about telling your readers that you need to take a week or two off from posting! 

2.    Schedule Posts

If you can’t avoid social media completely, try writing blog or Facebook posts ahead of time and scheduling them. However, try to stay away from checking for likes or answering comments on the post! A week may seem like a long time in the digital world, but keep in mind that those comments can still be answered once you return to the Internet! 

3.    Delete Apps

The next step in your cleanse is deleting all social media apps from your phone. If you’re someone that frequently checks or uses apps that aren’t intended for social media, like games or music, delete those, too! Try thinking of your phone only as a mode of communication instead of a portal to your online world.

 4.    Commit to No Texting

While we’re on the topic of phones, commit to sending zero text messages while you are on your detox. If you want to talk to a friend, or make plans, give them a call instead!

5.    Challenge Yourself

One of the hardest things about your digital detox is finding the information that you need throughout the week. Since this isn’t a total digital detox, it’s OK to stick with your daily ritual of checking news sites so you aren’t totally out of the loop (BuzzFeed and People.com don’t count), but work to find a way to find other information offline. For example, if you’re looking for a recipe, flip through a few cookbooks instead of Googling it!

 6.    Daily Journaling

Now that you have freed up so much of your day, start filling it again with a daily journaling practice! This doesn’t have to take a long time. Just carve out 10 minutes to write each day. I find that writing before bed works well for me. You can write about anything and everything that you are thinking without feeling the pressure to make it witty and relevant like your Facebook statuses!

 7.    Detox “maintenance”

At the end of your detox, give yourself a big high five! Digital detoxes are hard, but I’m sure that you will find that it was well worth it. Not only will you see how much more free time you have each day, but you can also let go of some of the insecurities that come with sharing your life and looking in to the lives of other people online. To assimilate back into real life, take a good hard look at your online life and see if there is anything that you can permanently give up. For example, you may find that you don’t really need 1000 friends on Facebook (when was the last time you had a real life conversation with any of those people?!) or that you could cut your list of daily blog reads down to just a few.

Have you ever gone through a digital detox? We would love to hear about your experience below!

About the author

Lauren Caster is a contributing writer to Wellness Today. She resides in Portland, Oregon where she enjoys cooking for friends, doing Bikram yoga, and exploring new restaurants and food carts in town. She is one part of the blogging duo behind the blog Brooklyn-Portland, she received her diploma in Baking and Pastry Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and is a 2013 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition