Top 10 Tips for a Digital Detox that Yoga Mums Don’t Want You To Know
Elli Miller divulges all the secrets you need to know in order to rid yourself of your toxic technology addiction
I don’t know about you, but I am too connected. It’s causing me unnecessary anxiety, it’s ruining my sleep, it’s disrupting the moments I have with people in real time. Ultimately, I can’t help but feel that being connected has left me disconnected. Not only with others, but also with myself.
“I don’t know about you, but I am too connected.”
I used to struggle to do anything without having music or a podcast playing in the background. I used to get the shakes when I was having a meal and I wasn’t scrolling through my phone or watching the latest episode of Derry Girls. My study was going down the drain because I would glance at my phone every two seconds – did someone like my new Instagram post? Have I gotten a reply on my hysterical Snapchat? A tag on Facebook? A swipe on Tinder?
I say used to because I saw the error of my ways. I decided I needed a purge, a KonMari decluttering of my mind, a cleanse from the slime of social media seeping into the deepest crevices of my soul.
But how did I do this? I consulted monks, spiritual gurus, priests, rabbis, former Instagram influencers, philosophers, theologians, Kylie Jenner, my mum, my dad, my elderly neighbour who’s always asking if I have any spare sugar, and finally, the Internet… ironic right?. But now my quest has come to an end, and if I may, I’d like to present the top 10 tips to detox yourself from everything digital.
1 – Turn your phone half an hour before bed
Did you know that the blue light emitted from screens disrupts your natural circadian rhythm? Blue light from your phone mimics the sky, thereby tricking your brain into believing its daytime. Consequently, your body produces less of a hormone called melatonin which helps induce sleep.
So instead of scrolling through your phone for half an hour before bed, replace that habit with another one. Consider reading a book, or…contemplate the crushing existentialism of how you will manage the eternal stress of juggling university, friends, a love life, family, and work?
2 – Put your phone in a different room while you sleep
How often do you find yourself waking up in the morning and grabbing your phone, because your phone also happens to be your alarm? The problem here is that once you’re holding your phone, you just can’t help yourself from having a quick scroll.
You say, “okay I’ll just have a quick look and when it gets to 6:40 I’ll get up.” Then comes 6:45, 7:00, 7:30 and you’re still scrolling hard! It’s only the stress of getting ready overwhelming you that forces you off your phone. Unless it’s the weekend and then you spend hours in bed on your phone.
The solution? Charge your phone in another room and buy an alarm clock for $5 from Kmart #studentbudgetshopping.
3 – Get a time tracking app on your phone (Your Hour)
Now this is where the real detoxing comes in! I recently got an app called ‘Your Hour’ (and no they are not paying me to say this #ad #promotion) that tells me how long I’ve been on my phone each day. On weekdays I used to spend three to five hours a day on my phone – that’s insane!
Since getting the app, I’ve managed to cut down my phone use from five hours of consuming memes, to one hour a day, boosting my productivity. And this is the heart of detoxing, minimising the source of what’s causing the toxic build-up in your life.
“Mindfulness can actually manage depression, anxiety, catastrophising thoughts, and ultimately lead to a more relaxed, less obsessive way of living.”
4 – Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a way of life taught by Buddhists, the Jedi, through Tibetan meditation, and other spiritual guides to bring you into the present. It takes your mind away from the past, detracts your thoughts from the future, and brings you into the present. According to Spiritual Guru Eckhart Tolle, nothing exists except in the present. Everything else is your mind projecting into the future or the past, and the mind is clouded by personal judgement.
Mindfulness can actually manage depression, anxiety, catastrophising thoughts, and ultimately lead to a more relaxed, less obsessive way of living.
There are a numerous apps: Smiling Mind, HeadSpace, Calm, and more, which provide guided meditations to help bring you into the present.
5 – Carry a book to the toilet
Everyone takes their phones to the toilet right? What else would you be doing whilst you’re nestled on your white porcelain thrones.
But let me be the first to tell you you’re wasting your time. Your main business in the bathroom is over so it’s time for you to get on up and out.
On my journeys, I heard tales of the Librarians of Alexandria. Named after Alexander the Great, the Library of Alexandria was said to have housed the most ancient texts, up until it was burnt down during the Roman Empire (What have the Romans ever done for us?) Now these librarians were very revered and were said to always have a book on them to keep their minds fresh and alert. They even took them to their chamber pots! And it was through them I came to the realisation that maybe when I was in the bathroom… what if instead of a phone I had a book on me? I could get so much more reading done, or if you’re a particularly keen bean you can grab a textbook, whatever floats your boat.
6 – Uninstall Social Media Applications for a Week
I met up with the infamous memoir author Frodo Baggins and asked him if he had any tips for a digital detox. He told me to get rid of Facebook or Instagram for a week, and wake up to how often I absent mindedly open the apps.
I did some more research on why we crave updates and it has to do with the brains reward circuit. Dopamine is a reward chemical the brain produces to stimulate pleasure and motivation. It’s produced en masse whenever you win a game of monopoly, after climaxing, gambling, when you pass an exam you thought you’d fail, as well as getting notifications. When we see a notification this reward circuitry gets stimulated and produces a little amount of dopamine.
Now when your brain lacks dopamine, it will do whatever it can to try and get a ‘high’. Frodo somehow brought this all back to a ring or something, but to keep it short and simple, he suggested removing social media applications from your phone for a week, and catch yourself absent-mindedly reaching for your phone.
7 – Lay a ring of homeopathic vitamin C roses
To fully cleanse yourself from the grime of social media, this secret is key. This lesson I learnt whilst at Strawberry Fields from this really lovely nudist couple who’d been living on the road for a few years and had mastered the art of Zen.
Collect a series of rose petals (enough to make an unbroken line to surround your bed) and soak them in vitamin C extract which has been diluted down to one millionth of a part, and a pinch of salt. Once fully soaked, you must immediately line them around your bed just before you intend to sleep.
As the rose petals dry, they secrete the diluted vitamin C into the air (which helps you fall asleep). And while you’re asleep this natural chemical called Bovine excrementia, which comes from the rose, will help induce this state of intense presence. This couple claim that Bovine excrementia completely repels the compulsion to use social media. So when you wake up, after smelling enough of the roses in the night, you’ll never feel the need to go on your phone ever again.
8 – Lettuce Shoulder Mask
People are more stressed than ever. Through a National Treasure-esque journey, I managed to infiltrate the Secret Vegan society called the Veganatti that have found a 100% guarantee method to reduce stress.
“Well thanks Jannelle but I physically can’t relax because I’m so stress spaghetti 25/8.”
Stress accumulates, which is why massage therapists will always tell you that you carry that stress in your shoulders and that you need to relax. Well thanks Janelle but I physically can’t relax because I’m so stressy spaghetti 25/8.
But this is where the Veganatti comes in. They claim that soaking lettuce in salt water, then putting it on the areas of stress will absorb the excess cortisol (stress hormone). Doing it once daily for a week will add a month to your life. And if you’re feeling particularly stressed, then doing it twice a day for a week will completely get rid of your stress.
9 – Buy an alpaca
You know what’s a super-underrated pet? Alpacas. They bleat, they’re pretty cute as babies, and you could bury your face in their beautiful coats of wool. They make excellent stress relief pets when exams come knocking at your door.
Now this trick I learnt from a remote tribe living three days south of Machu Picchu, Peru. They have learnt the secret to falling asleep immediately. And in the age where people are having more sleep problems, their secrets are well worth hearing. What they do is this: before they fall asleep, they visualise all the alpacas they have in their herd, all their minute features, and count each alpaca in their mind. Within a minute they’re sound asleep.
So buy yourself an alpaca. Or a sheep, there’s less face spitting that way. And you’ll soon find that counting them helps you fall asleep instantly. If one alpaca isn’t doing the trick, purchase two or three more. That way you can fall asleep easier, and have a new mode of income, thanks to wool production, milk production (if you’re interested in breeding), as well as trade (as long as it’s ethical!).
10 – Blood Sacrifice to the Greek Gods Hypnos and Morpheus
This is the last of the line if you can’t sleep. Past this I don’t know what to tell you. For weeks I had my phone turned off in another room, I bought myself herds of sheep, covered my body in lettuce, but I still couldn’t fall asleep.
This tale sees me travelling to Greece, taking a bus to a servo outside Mount Olympus, and a climb to meet the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena. She was the only one wise enough to solve my problems.
I was halfway up the Mountain when an apparition of Athena greeted me. In her wisdom, she told us I had none, because who else would be stupid enough to climb Olympus and face Zeus in his golden swan form. I explained to Athena my plight, and she asked me this.
“When was the last time you have made a sacrifice to my cousin Hypnos, and his son, Morpheus?”
“I didn’t know Lawrence Fishbourne was the son of a Greek God?”
“Silence mortal! When was your last sacrifice?”
“I’ve never made a sacrifice neither to Hypnos nor to his son Morpheus.” I stuttered, staring at my shoes. A thunderclap to the east welcomed my response.
Now Athena was angry, but she was also compassionate. She kicked me off Olympus, and told me I must make a sacrifice to them to fall asleep. To that extent, I sacrificed the one thing which I held dear to me. Which is why I threw my phone, and a few of the sheep, onto the pyre I had laid to the Gods of Sleeping and Dreaming.
I could now sleep for days.
I hope that you are now enlightened with the secrets you need to detox yourself from the digital realm we are smothered in today. And remember, to make this really stick you need to share this article with at least 10 of your friends. If you don’t you’ll be plagued with emails from Nigerian Princes, bad luck for seven years, and you will die within three days.
Elli is currently studying Medicine at Monash University after completing his Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Science