9 People Share Their Smart But Simple Tips for a Digital Detox

Stepping away from our screens can bring a sense of peace, and make you feel more connected to those around you.

Courtesy of Natalya Lys / Shutterstock
Courtesy of Natalya Lys / Shutterstock

Social media can help you keep up with the people and things you love, yet spending too much time scrolling — and not truly connecting with yourself and others — can contribute to anxiety and isolation. That’s why all of us benefit from stepping away from our devices to fully unplug, recharge, and reset. 

We asked members of the Thrive community to share the different ways they regularly take breaks from social media or screens. 

Go to gray

“I turn my screen to grayscale at 7 p.m. and leave it like that until 7 a.m. The less ‘pretty’ my screen, the less interest I have. I only keep tools on my home screen — no social apps — and I set my timer when I ‘jump’ into social media.” 

—Suzanne Jewell, corporate mindfulness trainer and radio show host, Miami, FL 

Do a 30-day detox

“A couple times a year, I schedule social media detox sessions where I go off social media for 30 days. I’m on one right now! It’s my time to create a space where I can refocus on hearing my own voice instead of listening to what is online. Too much time on social media causes us to lose our voice, but creating regular 30-day breaks is how we reclaim it.”

—Ariane H., entrepreneur, New York NY

Keep your phone out of sight, out of mind

“I put my phone on silent and place it in another room for a period of time so I can concentrate on working. At night, my fiancé and I charge our phones in the living room away from where we are. On Sundays, we put our phones away for quality time together. These quick phone detoxes help so much!”

—Marian Bacol-Uba, speaker and business coach, Miami, FL

Go offline for a full 24 hours 

“I completely shut off my phone and computer at least once a month. I choose a day and go offline. I let others know ahead of time so they don’t worry.”

—Judy Micale, certified coach, Tallahassee, FL

Challenge yourself to be present  

“Holding myself accountable to social media breaks is a huge personal initiative for me. I try to mix things up by taking breaks that differ in length — one day, weekend, or week. I decide how long I want to be fully present with whoever I’m with or whatever I’m doing, and then I use that as a guide to determine how long my break will be. I typically delete the social media apps off my phone to fully commit.”

 —Melissa Muncy, content marketing, San Francisco, CA

Use the Rule of 1:1:1 

“I abide by the rule of 1:1:1 by going offline one hour before bed every day, one afternoon per week, and one week per year. My daily practice of meditation and reading motivates me to log off one hour before bed. I dedicate one day each week to get out into nature and be present with my friends, which helps me log off for an entire afternoon, and sometimes turns into a weekend away without social media. I’ll log off for a week when I go on a retreat or explore a new city or country, using online maps and other technology sparingly.”

 —Stephanie Thoma, career coach, San Francisco, CA

Create phone-free spaces

“There are places where my family doesn’t allow phones, like the dinner table. We only use our phones in the car when we want to listen to music or search for directions. This allows for open conversation and eye contact. Everything we’re doing is setting a foundation for our children of what we will ask of them when they are older. We also have a specific place to place our phones when they are not in use.”

—Josh Neuer, licensed professional counselor, Greenville, SC

Make breaks part of your schedule 

“We live in an attention economy where every social media platform is competing for our attention. Taking time for tech-detoxes has become more important than ever. I place blocks of device-free time in my schedule to prioritize self-care and live in the moment. I go device-free three hours before and after bedtime, and design my weekends to get outdoors with friends and family to deepen our connections.”

 —Vinutha Narayan, global head of strategic initiatives, San Francisco, CA 

Delete time-stealing apps from your phone

“Social media often makes me feel anxious and like I should be doing more, especially when I scroll through my instagram feed. To combat this, I delete the social media apps off of my phone for one week every month. Doing this allows me to clear my mind and reset. I’m more productive and can focus on the things that move me forward in my personal and professional life. During that week, I often forget that I’ve unplugged from social media, which leads me to spend more time away until someone mentions it.” 

—Venessa Marie Perry, relationship coach, New York, NY

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