Digital Detox for Moms
I have been quiet on social media lately because I've been feeling majorly burnt out by it. In a short period of time, several studies were brought to my attention chronicling the negative effects of modern technology usage but what it boils down to is I started thinking long and hard about the example I was setting for my almost 2 year-old daughter, Grace. I don't want her to see me defaulting to sitting on the couch and scrolling through my phone. I want her to learn to choose activity and connection with others over the mindless isolation of staring at a screen and the only way she's going to learn that is from me. No pressure, right?!
Don't get me wrong, I'm not burning our phones and TV's or anything like that-I could not live without my online calendar or Google Maps! But I am making a conscious effort to either put the phone down and enjoy the moment or just find something else to do. Instead of adding to the noise on everyone else's feeds, my goal is to share more meaningful content (with a couple cute pictures of my kid sprinkled in because I just can't help it).
In that spirit, here are some of the steps I've taken to start a digital detox and I thought I'd share here in case other moms are struggling with this too and don't know where to start.
1- Define morning and evening routines that prioritize other activities
I realized that first thing in the morning and in the evening around bedtime were the times of day that I felt i was wasting the most time mindlessly using my phone. I decided to follow the guideline that there would be no screen time within one hour of waking in the morning and before going to bed at night. Instead, I've made routines that include other activities that I know are going to help me start and end my day with a clearer mind. In the morning my goals are to: wake before the baby, run or do yoga, shower, make the bed, have coffee, and write out my top 3 must-do items for the day. In the evening, I tidy the house, do my skincare routine, diffuse some lavender oil, read, and do a written reflection on the day. These routines aren't coming naturally yet (the pull to veg out on the couch is strong!) but I'm working on it and I feel much more content on the days I do follow them.
2- Delete social media apps
I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone. I still check it occasionally throughout the day but the extra steps of opening the browser and typing in facebook.com slow me down enough that I may decide to just not check. Also, the mobile site is not as intuitive as the app so the user experience requires just enough extra thinking that it's lost its mindless appeal! I still have instagram though.... no one's perfect ;)
3- Set time limits
When I do pick up my phone, I've been working on setting a timer and not looking at it for more than 10 minutes at a time. Its kind of surprising how quickly 10 minutes goes by and I don't even want to know how long I was looking at my phone before I started doing this! I don't think I'll use a timer forever but for now its been helpful to retrain the habits I have around using my phone.
4- Seek printed media
Pick up a book! I love to read and after I had my daughter I went months without picking up a book. This digital detox has given this hobby back to me. I used to say I didn't have time to read anymore but the truth was that I was choosing to do other things (like look at my phone) instead of reading a book like I love to do. Another idea for this is instead of showing pictures to your kids on the phone, sit them on your lap and thumb through a photo album just like you did with your parents. When we see something on a screen, our brains are trained to think "what's next?" (swipe!) but when we hold something in our hands, our brains think "what's this?" and we slow down to think about it. Give your kids the gift of thinking.