The average person spends roughly 5 hours a day on a smartphone — and that doesn’t even include time spent on personal computers or watching TV. While it might seem fun in the moment, staring at a screen for that long can wear down both the body and your mental well-being.

What is a digital detox?

A digital detox involves limiting or outright eliminating your interaction with digital devices for a period of time.

What are the benefits to a digital detox?

There are a number of major health benefits to a digital detox, including:

  • Avoiding stimulus addiction, which can create psychological strain
  • Avoiding negative self-comparisons, which can reduce the likelihood of depression or anxiety
  • Eliminating or avoiding “passive eating,” which can increase weight gain
  • Avoiding blue light at night, which has a huge impact on sleep quality
  • Making time for other activities, including fitness, socializing and more

How does a digital detox work?

Even though digital devices like smartphones are often an essential part of working life, there are some easy steps to get the benefits of a detox without unplugging completely for days on end.

Keep phones and computers out of the bedroom

Start by liberating your bedroom from any devices. Then, give yourself 30-60 minutes to wind down before sleeping.

Don’t use your phone at the dinner table

Don’t waste precious time with friends and family by being totally consumed by your device. Instead, make it a rule that when you sit down to eat to focus on those you’re with and the food rather than your email. There are endless benefits to eating mindfully.

Leave your phone at home

Going out for a run? Taking the dog for a walk? Doing the groceries? Leave your phone at home. Give yourself a chance to be out and about in the world without a device constantly begging for your attention.

Turn off notifications and schedule check-in times

Turn on “do not disturb” and review notifications at specific intervals. This way, you won’t repeatedly be taken away from the tasks at hand.

Take a whole day off

If you feel like you can, go for the gold by taking an entire digital-free day. See friends in person, walk your city or town, do your chores and enjoy the world around you.

Take a detox trip

If your circumstances permit, try taking a detox trip. There are resorts and retreats that offer fully digital-free experiences. It’s a great place to meet like-minded people and learn to thrive without the beeps and buzzes of your daily device-laden life.