Disconnecting to Connect: Taking A Digital Detox

You've read the reports. The ones that show hard numbers about how social media often makes people feel more alone, lonely, and isolated. Of course, that isn't a hard and fast rule. Connecting with our friends and family over social accounts or group text messages is important. Especially when sharing pictures and moments of our lives together.

But when you move past those obvious moments and start looking at the bigger picture, you find that people spend more time on their phones and less time talking to people in real time. Sometimes we need to take a digital detox to remind ourselves that we don't have to rely on our phones to feel connected. We just need to disconnect to connect with others.

Since the National Day of Unplugging is coming up on March 7th, we thought now was a great time to talk about how you can unplug in small ways, every day.

National Day of Unplugging

If you want to know more about this moment, then be sure to check out the website and download their kit. They ask people to pledge to go completely device free from sundown to sunup, March 6-7th. And they have all sorts of ideas for what you can do instead and will help you plan to make the digital detox a complete success. This is a great thing to do with friends and family, too!

Disconnect with short breaks

While taking an entire day away from devices is a great place to start when you want something different and impactful, it might just leave you wanting more. But, obviously, we can't all disconnect from our devices every day! Instead, try scheduling device free breaks.

Lunch break -- if you have a job that provides a lunch break each day, try reading or talking to a coworker/friend instead of scrolling through social media.

Commuting -- if you ride the bus or carpool to and from work, pick a day a week to try engaging with riders you see all the time or taking in the city around you. You can miss a lot if you spend your commute just looking at your phone.

Weekends -- Maybe you have a routine to always check in on social media on the weekends. Pick one day, or even just an hour on each day, to put your phone away (hide it in a drawer!) and do something else. Try going to your neighborhood coffee shop, stopping by a bookstore, or just taking a walk around your neighborhood.

When you don't have a phone distracting you, or another device for that matter, you'll be amazed at what you discover and see.

Disconnect at events

This will be a hard one for most, but consider NOT looking at your phone for a few minutes when you're at an event by yourself. Whether it's the symphony, a band concert, an art opening, or your child's school play--put that phone away! It can be in short increments, too. Start with just 10 minutes at a time.

All too often, we bury ourselves in our phones when alone at events. And that can close us off to possible conversations with friends or acquaintances. Think about when you've seen someone you knew at an event, but you didn't think you could approach them because they were on their phone.

It can feel awkward to be without your device and no one to talk to, but it's truly the first step at connecting with others. Make yourself open, even if only for a short window! And you'll find that you get more comfortable with it as you practice.

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