Ways to Approach a Digital Detox

How’s your screen time? No, honestly....

In an increasingly digital age, it’s important to take time away. Sometimes that may be difficult, because of business obligations and staying connected (and also we’ve been stuck in a doomscroll situation before ourselves). We reached out to some of our favorite founders, makers, and practitioners to see how they approached the term digital detox. 

 

Like many founders, I live and run my business through my phone and computer—more now than ever. I’ve found the only way I can fully sit in quiet, be still, and detox from the digital strain is to adjust my setting. Every few weeks I’ll rent a tiny house or cabin somewhere new, leave behind the work, and unplug for a few days. When that’s not possible, putting the devices out of sight and committing to a rhythm of when it’s “unplug” time—without exception—helps minimize digital strain.

 

Jelena Nikolajevic, Founder of Boketto 

As a business owner, it’s hard to disconnect, so I try to implement realistic goals when detoxing from my screen. Evenings are when I like to wind down and not look at my phone and computer screen and opt for reading actual books and publications to rest the eyes from stimulation. I find taking baths and incorporating soaks that contain clays is a great way to detox physically and mentally. 

 

Jennifer Elsner, Designer & Editor, The Moment

I’m not too conflicted with my digital diet, but I’ve recently stopped myself from using my phone while watching movies at home. Texting, researching the movie, checking IG... It’s a nasty habit and I figure if I wouldn’t do it in a theater, why do it at home? I believe this break from the device is why I’m enjoying more of what I watch more these days. Feels richer overall. 

 

Anne Dietrich, Esthetician at Boketto 

I try to put my phone down on Sunday! I like to cook, clean, and play board games with the fam. 

 

Rachelle Robinett of Supernatural 

The more Supernatural has grown, the more strict I’ve become about digital detoxes, technology efficiency, and pretty serious mindfulness when it comes to usage, consumption and engagement with technology. I believe strongly in doing what matters most, first - and that almost always require that we have uninterrupted time and thought-space to do it. I use “downtime” on my iPhone to shut off all communication apps for certain periods of time (usually evenings, mornings, and all but about two hours on my days off), and programs like Boomerang and Inbox When Ready to control what emails I see, when.

I have weekly out of office autoresponders so people know that I won't be replying to email for certain periods of time and am known to have a semi-permanent notification that alerts people not to expect days or weeks before receiving a response from me. I am adamant about not being caught up in the reactivity of responding to emails all of the time, or within a certain period of time (within reason, of course). Because I’m the boss/owner, I can do that, but I also give my team permission to do that first. We do what WE need to do first, before we take care of others' needs. Anyway, every email is an energy demand from someone else. So, this is about boundaries, too.

I set app limits, program social media, watch my screentime, and generally aim to remain the one in control of tech. It’s very, very hard - I think - for people and business to remain free of the grips of this thing but I preach and practice thinking differently, breaking habits, and maintaining the upper hand. It’s my wellness work as applied to technology. :)

 

Lauren Haynes of Wooden Spoon Herbs

My life list year felt nearly entirely virtual. From email to Instagram, I am looking at a screen for the better part of my days. While I haven’t done a formal “digital detox,” I take great care to make sure to get myself in nature sans phone as much as I possibly can. It’s so good for all the senses, and as soon as I need to get back in my inbox I can really feel the shift in my energy, and not for the better. It’s like with a detox of any sort, like from sugar or caffeine. When you go back to it, you realize all the negative energetic impacts that thing has. Inevitably, I always return to all these things, but do so better equipped for how to balance that out in the long term.

 

Suzanne Founder and Creative Director of Bare Hands

Since I’m personally running customer service for my business, I can’t go more than 3 hours without checking my devices. But I do have a practice I call ‘job-boxing’ which is basically sticking to the job I was meaning to do. It’s incredibly hard because there are so many ways you can drift off task… like when you go to set the timer on your phone and get sucked into Instagram and then forget to set the timer!! It reminds you of how many other important things get side tracked this way. One method that sounds kind of crazy, but really helps, is to actually say the job out loud to make sure your mind stays focused on it.

 

Sydney Selika of Roots RVA 

Living in quarantine has made me aware of some screen habits that I could tell were conflicting with my rest & general wellbeing. With the combination of texts, emails, socials & zoom calls I found myself behind a screen a lot in 2020, not to mention once the work day was over my choice of unwinding would be to dive into some thrilling tv show (another screen!). In 2021 I am working on realigning my priorities to reflect habits that support my health. In our modern world avoiding screens altogether is nearly impossible, however here are a few things that have been helping me reduce my time behind a screen & truly refill my cup. 

Set App Timers - if you are an iPhone user there is a setting called screen time where you can learn about how much time you're spending on your phone as well as set timer to turn off apps after a certain amount of use (so helpful!) 

Read a book - I took some time over Christmas break to intentionally read and was so surprised at how calming it was to settle into a written story

Movement - Getting up and just moving my body after sitting at a computer feels so great, I have to remind myself, “I have the time to move, I’ll make the time to move” 

Skincare - Okay I’ll admit I got sucked into the skincare craze but honestly skincare is such a wonderful way to nurture that intimate relationship with self 

 

Jess Breed of Willow Knows 

Digital detoxing is not always an easy thing for me because I love connecting with people and it’s how I sell most of my work. The digital realm holds so much connection, but it can also be a draining environment for our mental wellbeing and creativity. Now we are competing with algorithms, which can make sharing on Instagram feel like speaking into an empty room. When that feeling comes up I know I need to step away and evaluate the importance I’m allowing social media to hold. When I feel I’m out of balance with my relationship to the digital world, I paint or create something new that I don’t share online. If you feel any negative emotion in response to how social media is making you value yourself or your work, put your phone down immediately and shift your energy by making something new with absolutely no intention of sharing a photo of it.  

 

Allison Walton, Movement Artist and Yoga Instructor 

In the lulls of downtime or feelings of isolation, attaching myself to my device for a sense of comfort and connection is certainly a habitual practice I know all too well. I am highly sensitive to overstimulating social environments, so it can be easy to hide behind a screen when alone - but I have acknowledged during this past year that the digital space does not always support an already overactive / anxious mind.

Eyes are windows to the soul, truly, and I am constantly reminding myself of this when I feel I am consuming too much screen time. To counteract this default routine, I seek out sensory experiences to ground me into presence and purify where my sight lingers. Taking walks to absorb the vibrant colors of nature, lighting candles around my home, staying attentive to the ingredients and textures in my food, reading poetry, and laying down while listening to a soothing playlist have all helped - even if those moments are temporary.