Daily Digital Detox

6 Strategies to Reduce your Stress with a Daily Digital Detox

Dr. Kimberley O'Brien Blog, Lifestyle, Mind Body Leave a Comment

Stress and overwhelm – it’s something that SO many of us experience on a day-to-day basis!  Although technology makes our lives easier in so many ways, our constant connection to our phones, TV’s and tablets can be a big contributor to the inability a lot of us feel to ever fully relax and unwind.

I spent last week camping waterfront on two different mountain lakes, hiking with my hubby and my pup and swimming to my hearts content. Stand up paddle boarding, playing card games, contemplating life next to the campfire, burying my nose in a good book, enjoying a hammock siesta or two and savouring my morning coffee on the beach. It was paradise!

Day at the beach!
Digital detox - unwind at the beach

It always takes me a few days to settle in again once I get back to my usual routine, even now that I live in the mountains and not the city. There is definitely something to be said about the stillness, quiet and calm that occurs only when we are able to disconnect fully from our to-do lists, email, cell phone alerts and all of the stimulation that comes along with being constantly connected. Now that I’m back on the grid again I’ve become even more determined to incorporate more of this calm and stillness into my daily life and I’d love to help you to do the same!

Today I’m sharing my top tips to help you to disconnect from the constant stimulus and to reconnect to yourself on a daily basis, no beach getaway required (albeit still recommended!).


Daily Digital Detox Strategies to Reduce Your Stress


Daily Digital Detox: Turn off your notifications

1. Turn off your Smart Phone Notifications

Ding, buzz, bing ……those constant alerts and notifications not only fire up your nervous system, they’re also incredibly distracting! Think about how often you’re in the middle of a conversation with a friend or family member when you hear the “beep” notifying you of a new email.  Or perhaps you’ve just gotten into the groove on a work-related task when a text message or social media alert comes through.  Even if you don’t check your phone it right away, your attention is diverted from the present moment and these ongoing alerts can contribute to your stress and feelings of overwhelm.

The good news is that there’s a simple solution and that you can actually control which notifications you choose receive via the “notifications” setting on your phone! I have my notifications and alerts turned off for all of my social media accounts, which helps me to disconnect.  I can still see all of my updates when I open each app (which I’ll admit is still too often), but I don’t have the constant alerts and notifications going off which distract and overwhelm me during my day.  

I currently have email and text message notifications enabled on my phone but I’m also toying with turning off the email alerts and simply choosing 2-3 times per day that I check it instead.

Another idea is to put your phone on “silent” mode during certain hours of the day to avoid all distractions and notifications. Perhaps this is first thing in the morning (see strategy #2), once you’re home from work and spending time with your partner or when you’re focused on work or another project.

Put away your your phone the first and last hour of the day

2. Put Away your Phone the First and Last Hour of your Day

The way in which you begin and end your day have an enormous impact on your mood and the degree to which you experience stress.

How do you choose to wake up and wind down for bed each day?   

Do you lie in bed and scroll social media or check your email before you set your feet on the floor and create a positive intention for your day? It’s an easy trap to fall into and I must admit that this is a strategy I’m still working on being more consistent with myself.  

HOWEVER, there’s a much better way for us to start our day in a more intentional way BEFORE tuning into our email, social media or the news and first and foremost we should be starting the day with practices to help us to start the day in a positive mindset and prioritize our own self-care.  Even if you start with 5-minutes and build up to a full-hour, you will notice a difference in how you feeling both starting and ending your day!

Here are a few ideas to start your day on the right foot BEFORE checking your phone:

  • Pull out a journal and write down 3 things that you’re grateful for in your life, and 3 additional things that you’re excited about in the day to come.
  • Spend 10 minutes stretching or doing a morning yoga routine.
  • Invest 10 minutes reading a chapter of an inspiring book to elevate your mindset going into the day.  There are SO many great options but a couple of my favourites include:
  • Wake up gently with a short morning meditation
  • Make yourself a healthy breakfast, smoothie or enjoy a cup of tea.

If the above suggestions feel daunting because your just SO TIRED each morning and unable to get out of bed, make sure to download my free guide “Fatigued to Fabulous” to help you uncover and treat the underlying cause of your low energy!

Daily Digital Detox: No will power?

3. No Willpower? There’s an App for that!

If despite your best intentions to minimize social media and other screen-time you still find yourself scrolling, there’s an app for that!  Here is a list of 10 apps that will help you to minimize distractions and to incorporate your daily digital detox without fail.

Daily Digital Detox: Turn off the TV

4. Turn off the TV… or at Least Turn off the News!

My husband and I experimented 6 or 7 years ago and cancelled our cable TV. While we initially thought it was something we would miss, it was one of the best things we’ve ever done! No more mindless channel surfing on the couch… instead if we are going to watch something we choose a program more mindfully on Netflix.  However, more often than not we instead end up getting outdoors, having a conversation or reading a good book!

If you’re not yet ready to cancel the cable, an easier place to start is by limiting the amount of time you spend watching the news; especially avoiding this first thing in the morning, at meal time and before bed.  Unfortunately the news is filled almost exclusively with negative events and as I’m sure you’ve experienced personally, listening to these reports can significantly drag down your mood and raise your level of stress and anxiety.  

In the past few years I’ve also started to limit the kinds of news stories that I read or watch online to minimize this negativity and doom. Instead I now intentionally choose to tune in to uplifting and educational podcasts while commuting or to listen to an audiobook.  I experience less anxiety, a better mood and I often get to learn something useful along the way! It’s win-win.

 

Daily Digital Detox: Get outside and play

5. Get Outside and Play!

Getting outside in the garden, going for a walk in the park, heading out on a hike or simply sitting and reading a book on your front porch are all AMAZING ways to take advantage of the stress-relieving power of Mother Nature.  Make sure to leave your phone at home or to turn it on silent so that you can fully tune in to all of the beauty that surrounds you without distraction. I also suggest leaving the headphones off and embracing the silence or the sounds of nature!

Read a book, listen to a podcast or tune into a meditation.

6. Read a Book, Listen to a Podcast or Tune into a Meditation

Technology isn’t all bad, and if you’re going to be glued to your device there are a few great ways to use it instead of mindlessly scrolling through the news or your social media.  

  1. Download an EBook or Audiobook – this is a great way to enjoy a great book on-the-go!  I love using Hoopla, which enables you to borrow eBooks and audiobooks for free if your local library has this service set up.  Amazon is another great place to purchase digital content, which is often priced significantly less than printed books (although who doesn’t love holding a good book in their hands…this is still definitely my favourite way to read!).
  2. Listen to a Podcast – If you’re not familiar yet with podcasts, you’re missing out!  Basically, a podcast is an audio-only show that you can download directly to your smartphone or listen to on your computer.  You can find shows on almost any topic that you can imagine on ITunes. My favourite topics to tune into are health, personal development and entrepreneurship and I recently also started my own show: The Healthy Life Redesign Podcast.  I recently wrapped up season one and there are 15 episodes that you can listen in to on topics ranging from food sensitivities, depression, nutrient deficiencies that may be leading to your fatigue and practices that will help you bust out of a bad mood.  Here you can find a list of all 15 episodes – please reach out and let me know your favourites! 
  3. Tune into a Meditation – This is a great way to calm your mind as part of your daily digital detox and there are several apps and podcasts that will guide you through the process.  Here are a few suggestions:

I hope these suggestions provide you with inspiration and insights to begin your own daily digital detox practice!  

What are your favourite ways to disconnect from technology and to reconnect with your inner self? What are your biggest struggles? Please share your own experience and let’s all help each other out in the comments below!


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Daily Digital Detox

About the Author

Dr. Kimberley O'Brien

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Dr. Kimberley O'Brien is a Naturopathic Doctor with a medical practice in Nelson, BC. She is the founder of Healthy Life Redesign and creator of the Elimination Diet Meal Plan online program. Her mission is to help you own your health and live a life you love!


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