Our digital devices shatter our concentration and devour our time, which makes even one screen-free day a week life changing.
Are you feeling burned out on social media or suffering from screen fatigue after a week of online meetings? Do your hands feel cold after hours of typing or get brain fog when working next to a Wi-Fi router? If so, it may be time to give your body a break from technology.
A digital detox gives the body’s cells a rest from the onslaught of radiofrequency (RF) radiation. Although I advocate turning off all devices (including wireless routers) at night, most people are still swimming in a sea of non-native electromagnetic fields while awake. Another benefit is a reset of attention span.
With endless distractions born of a mobile information age, it has become a superpower to maintain extended, singular focus while others are multitasking themselves to stressed-out exhaustion.
These two benefits frame a period of time during which where amazing things can happen. You’d be surprised at the ease and insight that flows from a more relaxed, distraction-free environment. Sounds just like what doctor Google wouldn’t order?
Here’s how to successfully stage a digital detox intervention:
When and How to Do a Digital Detox
Choose your time frame. For some people, one day a week free of computers, cellphones, and tablets is the only option if they need to interface with technology for work. With rare exception, I take Sunday as my weekly digital detox since work responsibilities are absent (by my choice and design), and the day is reserved for undistracted family time. A longer digital detox of a weekend or longer might coincide with a holiday break or family vacation.
Once you’ve decided on the day, turn off all devices at bedtime the night before and stash them out of sight if temptation looms. You’ll be keeping them turned off until the morning of the day after your digital detox. Now, comes the hard part, the tough seed that will eventually blossom into a joyous flower of creativity and productivity. If you can survive the day without interfacing with a screen, you will be rewarded with an astonishing amount of free time.
With practice, you’ll be amazed at what transpires on digital detox days. I have read entire books, played extended board games with my family, taken long walks in nature, and cooked epic meals—sometimes all in the same day. But what I value most are the moments of introspection that punctuate an extended period without distraction.
Every late December, I compose a working document of goals for the year ahead. Every digital detox Sunday, I review these goals and establish action steps for the coming week. This recalibrates focus on my greater vision for the year as represented by those goals, while drilling down a weekly to-do list that’s a prerequisite for their actualization.
Goal-writing may not be your thing, but keep a pen and notebook handy because creative ideas flow on digital detox days. It could come as a solution to a problem or an idea for the future. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about intuitions that magically appear while in a state of deep meditation. These are insights that arise while washing dishes or scrubbing the toilet. On digital detox days, the Zen of ordinary life—unplugged—opens a swirling vortex of consciousness where thoughts seemingly sort themselves out.
Exceptions and How To Curb Temptation
Sometimes, a complete digital detox may not be possible or even desirable. I will temporarily break a digital detox and turn on my desktop computer if an extended family FaceTime or Zoom session is scheduled. If this is a routine in your family, turn off your device afterward to eliminate temptation.
You can also choose whether TV counts as quality personal or family time, or if a strict screen-free policy is best. For some, a family movie is an exception, but I would implore you to think twice (maybe thrice) about binge-watching a series.
This is particularly important if watching on a wireless-enabled smart TV or streaming device. Board games can offer a more meaningful way to spend face-to-face time with family members.
Travel days are an ideal time for a digital detox, although I don’t hesitate to have my cellphone on for driving directions or to manage digital airline tickets. Here, too, you will have to decide what level of technology is acceptable. Listening to music or an audiobook via a cellphone is perfectly reasonable provided you don’t get sucked into other applications.
If you need your cellphone for assistance on your trip, even though that timeframe is intended for a digital detox, you can turn off all notifications and keep it in airplane mode whenever possible.
For an increasing number of families, all their music, media, and phone services are tied to devices. Call me a dinosaur, but our family still has a landline phone, music on CDs, and films on DVDs. For those on the digital cutting-edge, your options are a day completely uninhibited by technology or having an iron will using certain aspects of technology while not being tempted by others.
Even on digital detox days when I choose to have a device operational, the deal-breakers are no email, games, web surfing, or social media. I still may text during travel or if trying to coordinate a gathering, but nothing extraneous or capricious.
One final pro tip: If you keep to-do lists on a device, place a sticky note in an accessible area or carry a scratch pad in your pocket to jot down thoughts that can be transferred to the digital medium after your detox day.
The World is Waiting
The two-year anniversary of my book, Cancer and EMF Radiation, has passed and the proliferation of electromagnetic fields (now including 5G) has continued unabated. Not that I thought my humble book would stop or slow the billion-dollar telecommunications industry—nor do I believe that is even possible.
Our only hope is a cross-pollination between the fields of bioelectronics and radiation physics. Until that fateful day occurs when wireless routers are “tuned” to harmonize with biology, it’s advisable to take breaks from technology.
As it stands now, non-native RF fields add a low level of biological stress to a growing chemical and electromagnetic soup of environmental carcinogens. I dream of a world where information is transmitted wirelessly on frequency bands conducive to biology. What if data could travel on harmonic frequencies of the Schumann resonance?
Even then, do we still want to be plugged in 24/7 to a world of human doing? What do we lose for all that the modern technological world affords us, and what can we gain by being a human being instead of a human doing?
You don’t need to wait to find out; the insights that have eluded you, the time to be present with loved ones, the headspace to be happy—they all might be found by a vision that turns away from the ubiquitous screen and inward to the heart. The screen is bright, but the human spirit is brighter.