Technology can help you save time, travel smarter, and learn new things, but it can also be detrimental to your well-being in unhealthy doses. The pressure to be constantly connected has been linked to career burnout and social media addiction, causing many people to re-evaluate their screen time in order to live a happy and healthy life. We caught up with four women who rely on technology at work to talk about how they unplug — along with the benefits their digital detox brings.
1. Easing Anxiety
Tiffany Hakimianpour, the founder of Handstand, admits that it’s hard to take a digital detox when it’s almost your job to be online and connected. “Take emails, research, and building a technology company; then add in your social and personal life of social media, texts, and calls… It can get overwhelming and feel like too much just about all of the time. I actually had a ton of anxiety living this way, and that’s when I decided that something had to give.”
For her digital detox, Hakimianpour decided to take everything other than essential work offline. “Even at work, I tried to take things offline if it was possible, like communicating in person versus Slack or emailing. Instead of chatting with friends, checking in with social media, or reading a book on my Kindle app, I took up painting again. I wrote in my journal to unwind versus scrolling on my phone, and of course, worked out with my trainer from Handstand in person.” Hakimianpour tells us her detox didn’t disappoint. “It was awesome. I had more time, and I actually found it was easier for me to live this way but harder for others to have me live this way. It forced me to live by my own rules and discover outside versus using Instagram Discover when I was bored. I had more time and energy and a lot less anxiety by doing this — my goal from the start.”
2. Becoming Happier
“I’ve tried multiple forms of digital detoxes,” explains Erin Fors, a partner at Cutline Communications. “What’s worked well for me is detoxing in stages. For example, I’ll take all social media apps off of my phone for a period of time (sometimes weeks, sometimes months) and will only allow myself to check sites while on a computer during certain times of the day.” Fors says that when she does this she’s less likely to check overall. “I’ve also started putting my phone down during times when most people are on their phones, like while commuting on the train, waiting in a line somewhere, and in elevators. It’s mind-blowing how many connections you can make,” she shares, “and even if it’s just a quick hello or a casual chat with a stranger, it always makes me smile.”
To detox in a mini-dose, Fors relies on a sand timer that allows her to unplug in 15-minute increments. “When I’ve had enough email, tweets, texts, television, or anything else that’s generally delivered via some form of battery or electricity-powered thing, I walk away with my sand timer, and I do absolutely nothing for 15 minutes other than just be,” she tells us. “This has changed my perspective on how I consume content and prioritize my days and has made me immeasurably happier. Stepping away has made me think more about being a better listener, being more engaged with people vs. a phone, and being more present in general. All of those things make me feel like a better human, which definitely makes me happier!”
3. Setting and Sticking With Healthy Boundaries
“I spend 10-12 hours per day on my computer or phone doing work, so I’ve started digital detox rituals for myself in order to feel like a real human again,” says Kaeli Sweigard. “I’ve implemented weekly and daily digital detoxes; I realized this was a decision I had to make for my own well-being after starting to freelance as a digital marketer.”
Sweigard’s detoxes consist of staying away from digital work on the weekends and using her laptop as little as possible. “I’ve also started keeping my phone on silent most of time, except for a few hours a day when it’s my ‘free’ time,” she expands. “The sound of constant incoming messages can be so stressful that I found I could barely relax and focus enough to even be productive!” Sweigard says that since she placed healthy boundaries around her tech use she’s more productive, content, and relaxed: “I used to think that everything was urgent. Well, it turns out it really isn’t urgent!”
4. Feeling More Creative
Busy founder Beatrice Fischel-Bock tells us that she recently took a complete 24-hour detox away from tech and the internet to get off the grid before a big product launch for her company, Hutch. “We’re about to push a new version of our product, so I figured this was my last chance to take a digital detox for a while. It’s hard to believe, but I think this was the first time I have ever done a digital detox — however, it will definitely not be my last.”
“I noticed that right away my stress levels diminished,” Fischel-Bock relates. “There’s something about knowing that you’re just not available; I felt my whole being take a big breath and actually let go, because I had no choice!” From there, the creativity came. “I started thinking so much more creatively, literally opening up space both mentally and physically to inspire my thoughts,” she beams. “I had some great ideas for the business that I jotted down — and then I went on a redecorating spree!”
Have you successfully completed a digital detox? Tweet us what you did and how you felt afterward @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)