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  • Christine Angelica

8 Ways To Gently Unplug

I would say that compared to my friends and the average person I know, I have fairly healthy phone habits. I don’t respond to every ding and notification, I usually put it away an hour before bed and when I’m working (an anti-distraction habit I've adopted), But even with these fairly healthy habits squarely in place, I sometimes struggle with the idea of being without my phone.

That’s because I use it for every darn thing! I use it for music, as an alarm clock, as a reading device, to check the weather, get directions, pay bills, and for about 20 other essential tasks that don't include Snapchat.

I can't think of a single area of my life where my phone isn't acting as some type of link or information channel. If it's the same for you, and if you love social media as so many do, I really do get the struggle to unplug.

But, here's the thing... that's the very reason why we need to.

Along my wellness journey, I've learned that I need to pay attention to my soft addictions. These days, that has expanded to my digital life. I want to be healthy in that area too because I understand that being healthy is a whole-system effort.

I've been paying attention to the information around brain health for a while now, and one thing keeps coming up: it's this idea that our brains need breaks pretty much the way our bodies need sleep.

are ways and you and I must make time to unplug.

If we strategize, we can put down the *crack pipe* that is our smartphone for a whole weekend, or at least for 24 hours.

And to lessen the withdrawal symptoms, I’ve come up with a few ideas and tips:

1. Think old school

For the things you absolutely can’t go a day without (for me that’s music), find an old-school alternative while you’re unplugged. I use Mp3 players and switch from streaming Spotify over Bluetooth to my car's radio settings for music.

If I absolutely must reach out to someone while I'm unplugged, I will send an audio note or call them instead of texting. I'll schedule social media posts, and take my online presence offline.

For almost every activity I use my phone to do or link me to, I either use an old-school alternative or do without it while I'm taking a phone break.

2. Use Detach apps

There are *detach apps* out now that you can use while you're unplugged, and they can be one of your best tools for managing your digital time-offs.

Because we still need to keep our phones handy in case we need to make a call or use routine apps like a calculator or flashlight, *detach apps* that make using your phone less appealing are great.

Apps like Quality Time will turn your smartphone into a ‘dumb’ phone for the time period you specify. You can program it and other *detach apps* to block you out of Facebook and other social media. Some detach apps turn your colorful phone screen into a black-and-white display.

Another way to block yourself from using your smartphone is to put it in Do Not Disturb mode while you're unplugged.

3. Plan out how you'll spend your time

One of the key ways we can *make time* is to schedule it; this goes hand in hand with planning it.

If scheduling is putting down events on your calendar, planning is the step before - it's arranging and sorting out ahead of time, what you're actually going to be doing while you're unplugged.

Knowing how you're going to spend your time is crucial to enjoying it, I find. Planning can relieve some of the anxieties associated with being without your phone. enjoying the time

I will make mental itineraries to give myself things to look forward to during my digital retreat.

Itineraries are like maps. They lay out all the wonderful things you’ll be doing so instead of dreading the experience, you're more likely to look forward to the time without your phone. So make like a cruise director and plan things to do to make your phone break enjoyable or rewarding in some way.

4. Plan some memorable stuff to do

Know how they say that before you die your life flashes before your eyes? If what flashes before your eyes are boring, will you have regrets?

It may feel a bit uncomfortable to dwell on your last moments, so don't, but it doesn't hurt to keep in mind that everyone plays a highlight reel in those final moments,

Think of spending time with young kids and family members. Try getting away for a girls’ spa weekend or a healing retreat.  Plan a camping or adventure getaway or an epic staycation. If you plan to spend your digital time off with others or with family, planning family-themed events may be a gift to yourself and everyone who shares this time with you.

You could do a bake-off, play cards, and board games, touch football, and take everyone to go see a movie at the end of the day. Your goal is to plan things that easily make you forget your phone and/or require two hands to do.

5. Have serious me-time

If rest and introspection are what you need from your unplug, there are ways to max that out too. You might go for an idle weekend at home, or you could book a secluded Airbnb or hotel, or cabin.

It’s good to get away from time to time and have a change of scenery so book the cabin or Airbnb when you can afford it. If you’re close to one, add a national park or natural wonder to your must-see list. Before your me-time, stock up on essential oils, be sure to pack your journal, supplies for a vision board, beauty masks, and all the treats you will need to pamper yourself.

6. Do it on the weekend or your day off

It might be too difficult to go without your phone during the workweek. If so, plan your Unplug for the weekend. Consider even making it a 3-day weekend so you can take 1-2 days to Unplug and the other days to do laundry and your usual weekend chores and activities.

7. Make it a regular thing

The first few times without your phone may feel awful. You’re so used to having it within arms reach that being without your phone may feel like you’ve lost an appendage. But, by your third time unplugging, there’s a really good chance that you will start to enjoy, and even look forward to the break.

8. Have good eats on hand

As you well know, nothing will make you miss your “phone fix” more than if you feel deprived. That's one good reason to stock up on great snacks, wine, and some good eats and menus before you retreat from your digital life.

You don’t want to overindulge during your Unplug, but you don’t want to feel deprived either.

#unplug #selfcare #mentalhealth #RampR #conscioushabits