Taking a break from our devices is one of the best things you can do for your health, but may be one of the hardest. Technology and gadgets are so prevalent in today’s society that many people don’t know how to function properly without one. You may be filling time with technology, but all of that artificial stimulation is filling your brain to capacity, contributing to higher levels of anxiety and stress.

From televisions to smartphones our lives are heavily dependent on technology.

When we wake up in the morning and need to have peace, we check your phone instead. When we get home in the evening and should be shutting down, many of us power up that technology even more. Research is just now beginning to discover how being connected to these digital items 24/7 can affect both our mental and physical health.

There is no doubt that technology is useful and educational, and is helping lead humanity towards creativity and connectivity. But it should be a point of concern if these same digital items start interfering in your normal daily routine, affect your work performance or personal relationships, or start costing you more money.

There is a growing movement toward “digital detox”—taking a break from all these gadgets. In order to be successful, however, and maximize the benefits, you need to have a well-thought-out plan.

1. Gadget List

Before beginning a digital detox, make a complete list of every digital item connected to your life. This will be a stark realization of your dependence on these gadgets. Then, make a list of activities you love doing but don’t do in a true sense because of digital connections. For example, do you love to read, but choose to watch that TV show in the evenings, instead? Do you enjoy being outside, but spend free time looking online?

This comparison shows how much we lose to technology. If we limit ourselves to certain items, we will have more opportunity to de-clutter our mind and move forward with a digital detox!

2. Daily Allowance

Using your list of gadgets, allocate a certain amount of time for each device. By minimizing the time you use technology, you will find more time for yourself. You will be able to focus on the real world and your purpose. Practice all that social engagement in real time, with real people.

3. Changing One Thing at a Time

Every technology gadget in your life should be treated as one habit, and, just as with any other life change, focus on changing one habit at a time rather than trying to change it all at once.  It could start with a ban on cell phones at the dining table during lunch, dinner, and breakfast.  Maybe all devices are turned off and plugged in to charge at a set time in the evening.

Whatever you decide to do, be consistent with it for one to two weeks.  Continue eliminating one activity at a time.

4. Enough Sleep

Store your devices at different locations in your house. This helps ensure limited use of digital devices, especially during sleeping hours. Sleep deprivation has been identified as one of the root causes of the anxiety and depression so common in our society. Don’t bring Facebook into your bedroom!

Taking these small steps is a great way to start clearing your mind and your life of digital clutter. Try one or two and see how the world and your perspective begin to unfold before you. See what God might be showing you, speaking to you, and leading you to. You will be an active participant in a free life- creating an even healthier environment for meaningful social interaction and deeper relationships. 

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