How To Do a Liberating Digital Detox Challenge
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Today, in my backyard, it finally happened. I heard a robin sing for the first time this year.
Winter in the Midwest is long and unforgiving with its shades of gray and long days of subzero temperatures.
But slowly the energy starts to shift. The sun is out when I drive my son to school, birds start to sing in the morning…
Spring is on its way!
My immediate instinct when spring arrives is to throw open the windows and clean everything.
Throw away old dusty clothes, toys, and knick-knacks that no longer serve me.
It leaves you feeling fresh, lighter, and renewed… Spring is all about new beginnings, after all.
With that spirit of rebirth in mind, I’d like to challenge you to a new addition to your spring cleaning routine – cleaning up your digital world.
Let’s face it, our phones are our constant companions in this digital age. For better or for worse they fill our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts with constant content throughout the day.
And, like with any routine, we can get stuck in a rut consuming the same old diet of podcasts, social media, YouTube channels, and Netflix programming.
But is what you’re consuming bringing you joy? Are you deliberately curating your diet of media and content to make you the happiest and most productive version of yourself?
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Our brains love habits! They love consistency and doing the same old routine.
But this spring we’re going to do things differently.
I’d like you to give yourself the gift of shaking things up and clearing out some space with a digital detox challenge.
Marie Kondo doesn’t call her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” for no good reason – tidying up your digital landscape and giving your digital diet a good old-fashioned scrubbing can truly change your life.
Let’s do this!
How To Do a Liberating Digital Detox Challenge
1. Clean Up Your “Friends”
When was the last time you combed through your social media friends and followers?
It can be one of the quickest and most effective ways to clear out some digital cobwebs on your feed.
It might seem daunting, I’m sure you have hundreds of friends from years of being on these different platforms – but hear me out.
If you set aside half an hour for this exercise it will end up saving you HOURS throughout the year by eliminating scrolling that makes you feel like crap:
- Make a list of the apps and websites that you visit for social media purposes.
- One by one, go through each app or site and scroll through your friends and followers. If you follow anybody that makes you feel bad, makes you feel less-than-good, or is enabling your unhealthy digital behaviors (like an ex that you follow, or friends of the ex that you follow to keep tabs on said ex) – unfollow them.
- Breathe. It’s not a big deal. You’re not going to combust. They won’t even know that you unfollowed them.
This one little click is cutting a huge energetic cord for you. I promise you will instantly feel lighter and freer.
Because you ARE free! Free of a massive burden of jealousy, shame, or whatever negative emotion was previously being evoked.
I especially noticed this on Instagram, when after a good digital detox, suddenly every image was a friend that I adored, an inspirational quote, and influencers that I aligned with or aspired to be more like.
Use social media as a tool to surround yourself with images and people that make you the best version of yourself.
If reading status updates from a person, celebrity, or company doesn’t make you feel good – give them the unfollow.
Life is too short to keep subjecting yourself to the same diet of digital crap.
Take back your time! Take back your energy!
Related: 99 easy ways to improve your health
2. Clean Up Your “Earbuds”
I love true crime. When the hit podcast “Serial” made its debut I was enthralled.
It was like a whole new world of podcasts appeared before me that never existed before.
Like the hidden closet in “ The Chronicles of Narnia” I stepped right inside and discovered a new realm!
Suddenly I could listen to true crime practically the entire day! Folding laundry, cooking dinner, and walking the dog suddenly transformed me into an amateur detective.
It was fun at first like I said, I do love true crime stories.
But I noticed that it was starting to make me feel a little “off”.
I was getting a pit in my stomach when the stories mentioned crimes committed involving children.
I was feeling a little more paranoid when I was home alone or out walking to my car at night. Yet, I still listened.
The old analogy about the frog in the boiling water seems apt in this situation.
If you toss a frog in boiling water, it jumps right out, but if you put a frog in comfy cozy water and turn up the heat slowly, it will never know it’s being boiled.
I didn’t know that listening to all the true crime was giving me anxiety and causing me to feel cynical and distressed until I was practically boiling.
When I sat down and looked at my podcasts, they were all either true crime or politics – no wonder I was so stressed out!
I kept my favorite one from each genre and immediately searched for something healthier to listen to.
Now I listen to some history, self development, mystery, and audiobooks read by my favorite actors.
The point here is that you need to challenge yourself to get out of your routines and find something that genuinely makes you happy and feel GOOD (notice a theme here?).
You don’t have to listen to the same podcasts, audiobooks, and music just because it’s what you always do.
What we put in our ears, whether it’s music, podcasts, or audiobooks has a profound impact on our mood and how we see the world.
You are a vibrant kaleidoscope of interests and curiosities – find something new to listen to. It’s like a jolt of new and exciting energy into your day.
3. Clean Up Your TV Habits
Never has there been a greater vehicle for procrastination than Netflix.
You would be hard-pressed to find a person that hasn’t lost entire days or weeks to binging on a new show (or four).
Even the act of deciding what to watch can take an eternity!
Scrolling through the endless options on the app, and all the show recommendations from friends that you’ve saved in the “Notepad” on your phone.
If you have ever said, “I don’t have any time!” then please read on and complete this exercise because it is a complete game changer and can give you countless hours of your life back.
Like audio media and social media, focus on consuming visual media that brings you joy.
That doesn’t mean that everything you watch has to be happy-go-lucky, it just means that it has to be exciting and fill you up rather than draining you.
Especially with streaming services or Cable TV, you need to be hyper intentional about what you’re watching, because before you know it you lose three hours and you’re not even sure how it happened.
I’ve been there so many times that it makes me feel ill to recall it – but it’s too easy just to check out after a hard day and let Netflix choose the next thing for you.
I started two habits that completely changed the game.
I think you should implement them as well to clean up your digital diet in the most impactful way!
- First, you need to choose what you want to watch BEFORE you turn on the TV or service. This saves you tons of time changing channels or scrolling through hundreds even thousands of options. It allows you to be intentional about what you’re watching which automatically makes you feel like a better, healthier, person.
- The second habit is to put your phone away while you’re watching your show/movie. I know you just gasped out loud, maybe your scrolling finger is starting to twitch – but trust me, this is the key! If you can’t sit and watch a movie without checking your phone, scrolling through social, or shopping on Amazon – then you should pick another film.
This is a bold statement, sure, but it’s true.
It means you’re not watching something that is capturing your attention.
It’s not making you happy to watch if you would rather be checking Instagram!
I am a huge fan of television, and subscribe to all of the streaming services you can imagine – but when I watch a show, I sit down with a cup of tea and actually WATCH stuff that I genuinely enjoy.
It’s honestly life-changing, and if I can only tell one piece of advice in this entire post it would be this.
Choose what you want to watch and put your phone in the other room.
It’s going to feel strange at first, but I promise – when you become aware of what you’re consuming and how often you reach for your phone, your viewing experience becomes ten times more enjoyable.
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So there you have it – three areas of your digital life that you can start cleaning up this spring:
- Clean Up Your “Friends”
- Clean Up Your “Earbuds”
- Clean Up Your TV Habits
Doing this digital detox challenge and taking out the digital garbage is going to pay big dividends in your time and happiness.
We grow, evolve, and strive to be better than we were yesterday – it’s time to make sure that your digital diet is reflecting that back at you.
When you clear out what is no longer serving you, you’re making white space for beautiful things to come into your life.