• Guest Blogger

10 ways of digital detox without deleting the apps

Every once in a while, I get overwhelmed by social media and I get the urge to quit it or avoid it for a few days. And I'm pretty sure, everyone has this experience in their own way from time to time. But a lot of times, that urge isn't really as strong for me to delete or uninstall the app. Most of the time, all I'm looking for, is a little distance from them or a change in perspective. If you have experienced a similar dilemma, here are my 10 ways to get your periodical digital detox without actually deleting the apps.

1. Look at using your phone as a leisure activity and not as a solution to boredom. We are going to be more prone to being irritated and dissatisfied with social media platforms if we are not using them in a way that serves us best. Schedule your phone time in your routine and create a healthier relationship with your phone usage. Make it a pleasant and relaxing activity instead of reaching for your phone every time you are bored or have no idea what to do with your time.

2. Create a positive space on your social media. Accounts that make you compare yourself to others; accounts that seem too negative or uninspiring are only going to increase your frequency to need a digital detox. Similar to our physical space, it is important to clean out our social media space from time to time. Filter out who you are following and subscribing to, every now and then. Make sure you are being 'influenced' in a way that's healthy for your lifestyle. Surround yourself with accounts that help your growth and add value to your life.

3. Create a separate account to follow inspiring creators.

If you feel the need to escape from all the 'drama' and chaos on your feed, a quicker way to do that is to have a separate account from which you can follow accounts that are helpful and inspiring for you. This can also help in clearly separating the purposes of your social media use. For example, your main account can be for the purpose of networking and staying connected to people while the other account can be a compilation of interesting works by creators who are doing a good job. You can escape to this account whenever you feel the 'social' world is getting too overwhelming.

4. Have a no-phone space in your house / Choose a no-phone activity.

Select one space in your house, say your desk, where your phone is not allowed to enter. This way, you'll only assign this space for activities that demand your full attention and you can work without distractions. Over a period of time, this will also serve as your 'escape' space whenever you need a little break from your phone. Similarly, you can choose an activity in which you will not use your phone. This should ideally be a relaxing, non-work related activity. Not using your phone during meals, while reading, while painting, while hanging out with your friends are some of the simpler ones you can start with. This, in turn, will help you feel a lot more 'free' and calm during these activities.

5. Consume content intentionally.

Choose what you want to see. Just because your favorite Youtuber's latest video is up, doesn’t mean you HAVE to watch it because you watch all of them. You have the complete freedom to choose which creators, and which content made by those creators to watch. Be intentional with what you take in. That'll help you make your social media usage a more pleasant experience, as mentioned in my first tip!

6. Get rid of your posting schedule for a while.

Whether you're a creator or not, you most probably having a posting schedule or a frequency you've chosen to update your profile. Whenever we are unable to create satisfactory content at the time of posting, that feeling is going to linger and in turn, leave us feeling uninspired. This can form a chain, leading you to create more content that you're not really satisfied with. Try to free yourself of your posting schedule every once in a while and give yourself space and time to create content that you are actually proud of. Trust me, looking back, these will be the times when you'll have come up with your best content.

7. Don't check your phone for at least 30 minutes after you wake up.

Give yourself the luxury of being offline for the first half an hour after your wake up. This is the time that sets the tone for your day and the best way to start it is to reflect and internalize. Let your mind run free with its own thoughts and ideas. Scrolling through social media immediately after waking up is going to impact your mind the most and probably shape your thoughts and ideas for the rest of the day. So the best way to come up with original and uninfluenced ideas is to be offline and let the mind do its job.

8. Disable notifications from selective apps. This is a way of detoxing without hampering your work or your daily activities. A lot of times, we need to still keep in touch with people for our work but still feel the need to get away from social media. So an in-between way to do that is to disable notifications from all other apps other than the ones that'll you'll absolutely have to use. You can do this on a daily/ weekly/ monthly basis to see what works best for you.

9. Stop checking your analytics every day. Whether they are good or bad, 'views', 'likes', 'comments' have a way of getting to our head. If they're bad or unsatisfactory, they're going to discourage you and make you feel bad about yourself. If they are good or more than what you had hoped for, they're going to inflate your ego and make you lose your touch with the ground. Either way, checking our analytics every day, does us more harm than good. Find that sweet spot, maybe once a week, once a fortnight? Just make sure you have a healthy gap between your analytics obsession-sessions.

10. Don't announce your social detox days.

The entire purpose of detoxing is to get a little distance, get a little perspective. It's important to get out of other people's lives and get inside your own head every once in a while. If they desperately need to reach you, they'll find other ways to do so. Announcing your detox days through stories or posts is probably going to make you curious to check your social media to see if anyone has responded to this decision of yours. And if they have, you’re going to have the urge to reply to them. And this defeats your purpose of detoxing. Let yourself have those unannounced, candid days of detox and see how you feel about them. You'll hopefully find out that they are much more freeing and liberating. It'll also reinforce the thought that you don't really need to announce everything you do on social media.

Although most of us face similar issues, we all have our own ways to deal with them. I hope that out of the 10 ways I mentioned, some of them sound good to you and enable your healthy relationship with social media. Stay safe!

The blog is written by Aparna Kher, Founder of Save Ourselves and guest blogger at Platform For Artists.

For any questions about the blog or if you want to contribute to the PFA community, reach out to Pawan Rochwani on pawan@pfaindia.com

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