It’s that time of the year when I, like so many other modern people, am trying to get myself ready for selfie-viewing season (aka summer). Went out for just a byte but ended up eating too many cookies? Are you a few pixels too large? You, too, might benefit from a digital detox. Here are some symptoms of digital fatigue:
- Stomach pains (because you ate too many pretzels while surfing the Internet).
- General tiredness (due to the fact that you stayed up too late re-watching season one of New Girl on your laptop).
- Sore thumbs (because of too much typing on too small of a keypad).
- Cramped wrist (it’s all because of the mouse).
- Apathy towards actual real life (because the computer is calling you and it’s so much easier than dealing with other humans).
- Momentary blurred vision (the sun? Is that bright orb that shines in the outside world? Like a really big light bulb?).
- Stiff joints (as a result of positions that felt comfy while surfing the Internet that don’t always work out later in the day).
If you said yes to any of these, it probably means you’ve developed EAI* (Electronic Attachment Issues).
There are several different ways to go about digitally letting go. One is to gradually phase out all or most electronics for a more gentle (yet less effective) cleanse. Another is to limit your “screen time” (oh no, I sound like my mother. . .) for each day. The most effective (yet most difficult) way to detox is to cut out all recreational electronics for a set period of time (e.g. three days).
Here is how to create your own plan:
1. See where you are– It doesn’t have to be exact, but for one, normally-scheduled day, count the approximate number of hours you spend on electronics (not including work).
2. Decide specific guidelines for yourself— If you say that you’re going to “watch less TV,” then you could skate by with watching a minute or two less than usual. Something like “no Facebook for 6 days,” or “only spending 30 minutes a day on electronics for one week” are measurable, reachable and timed goals.
3. Mark your calendar–Set a specific date for when you will start. Look at your schedule in advance and clear a time. No excuses.
4. Tell the world you’re becoming free!–Chances are, if you tell all your friends and family, they’re going to hold you to your word. The pressure is on. You could even give them alternate methods of contacting you (notes in bottles, smoke signals, messenger pigeons, etc.). I like the idea of writing this little notice on a piece of paper, just to feel non-conformist. I also feel cool when writing “#unplug” because it takes the entire point of a hashtag away, but it’s still there just to annoy people.
5. Find alternate activities– Make a list of all the things you like to do offline (or borrow ours) and DO THEM!