Digital Detox

Would you like to be more creative? Sleep better at night? Feel happier and lighter and more productive? Spend more time with the people you love? Then join us for our digital detox! Soma is unplugging on 8/23 in order to reset and recharge. We’ll tell you why and share our tips for you on how to scale back a bit every day, so you don’t just pull the plug in one fell swoop and face withdrawals that throw you right off the wagon.

First, let’s talk about the benefits we touted above. Psychologists and researchers have long held that the origins of creativity are rooted in boredom. Yes, that’s right. Boredom. Unfocused, relaxed moments of leisure lead to your best ideas! If your smartphone or tablet is chiming, vibrating, and interrupting your day, you’re stunting your creativity, and may struggle to get started on new ideas.

You may also struggle to be productive once you have an idea and need to get to work. Mobile device users report greater difficulty staying focused and a diminished ability to accomplish tasks. Our brains are meant for one thing at a time and smartphones have become an underlying element in our everyday life that is never really gone. Not even when we sleep.

The blue lights on our devices suppress the release of melatonin (the hormone responsible for good sleep rhythms) and keep us awake long after we’d like to be. Try to avoid using your screens soon before bed and whatever you do, don’t pick them up if you wake in the night or you’ll easily fall into the smartphone abyss and lose precious brain regenerating hours. Imagine all the sleep you’ll get without that little screen in your face – and just think of how happy you’ll be after a good night’s sleep!

You’ll also be happy without social media. You probably already know this but research shows that spending too much time on social media leads to greater unhappiness. The curated lives of others often mislead us to believe that the whole world is #livingtheirbestlife while we’re stuck dealing with the hum-drum of a regular day. Excessive social media use has been linked to poorer physical health as well. Possibly because mental health can manifest in our physical health. That is, if we’re generally unhappier, our bodies feel it.

Mobile devices and social media have catapulted us leaps forward without proper time to develop rules and strategies for using the technologies in effective and positive ways. It’s often a game of catch up. For example, it took several years and horrible road accidents for states to pass laws banning texting while driving despite the obvious distraction. 

And if all that weren’t enough, time is a finite resource and the time we “spend” on our devices is irretrievable. We’d much rather be in the same room as our favorite people, than separated by a screen in a group chat.

But obviously, that’s a heavy-handed one-sided attack on technology. And we won’t pretend we don’t love the other side. Video chats have closed the distance that used to make living far away from loved ones feel impossible to surmount. Social media allows us to see what’s going on with those we care about when the busyness of our lives prevents us from calling more often. It also allows us to learn new things, find out what’s happening near and far, and share our own moments. And really, there’s an app for everything. Truly everything. And these apps have made our lives easier and more seamless. And for that, we thank them.

Still, our mantra is everything in moderation. And in order to get there, we need to unplug from time to time. Here are our tips for curtailing your screen use and getting you down to zero on 8/23 for a digital detox day:

  • First things first: monitor your use. Most smartphones and tablets come with the ability to track how much time you spend on which apps, even how many times you pick up your phone. Sometimes the surprise of it can be enough to jolt you out of reaching for it. And it’s just good to have a baseline.
  • Next, turn off your notifications. Disabling the push notifications can really change how often your device alerts you of something, which means you won’t be curious about that chime.
  • Then create rules for yourself and set up boundaries. Like, unless you’re expecting a call or important email, stow your phone. Or never have your screens out during mealtimes.
  • Start to wear your watch. If your phone has become your clock, wearing a watch will solve that problem right quick.
  • And delete your social media apps. This is where people spend the most time and also find the hardest time separating. Deleting them removes the temptation. You can also just create a folder like we did called “Waste Time” and throw them all in there if you’re not keen to delete. Or if you’re oppositely inclined and want to go big, deactivate your accounts!
  • If you find that none of that works, change the color scheme to grayscale. It’s a bold move and it’s not pleasurable, but when you’re having a rough time with device addiction, it’s a successful one.

Lastly, when you wake up tomorrow, just say no. No to all screens, devices, all of it. You can set up an auto-reply on text and email or just plain turn them off, but take the day to yourself. Notice the sounds of the world that aren’t electronic. Have real live conversations that don’t involve looking anything up but instead are exciting because you’re guessing and supposing and being creative. Get a big idea. A good night’s sleep. Spend time with your friends and family. And be happily unplugged.

Here’s to digital sobriety.