How to Do A Digital Detox? 7 Ways to Unplug

how to do a digital detox? ways to unplug

How long has it been since you unplugged – completely? Ever wondered how to do a digital detox? Help is on the way! Check out seven ways to unplug.

I’ll be the first to admit that some days I struggle to get going and keep going. Staying plugged in all day every day can be wearing and toxic. Imposter syndrome checks in takes a front-row seat. Productivity checks out. And, your day quickly fades away.

What keeps me tethered, grounded, and positive?

Gratitude, nature, creativity, and music do the trick. Without them, I’m lost. Doing a digital detox is also very therapeutic. For those of us that work in social media, unplugging can feel like we’re walking away from home. We miss posting, checking updates, and connecting with our networks.

Yet, there is beauty in turning off the Internet.

The first time I completely unplugged was on a romantic trip to Paris. I turned off everything on my phone, except the camera, for a week. What a glorious trip!

I wrote this post about my experience . . .

Read: 10 ways to Vacation from Social Media and Technology.

No need to check, reply or react to anything that was not IRL.

What doesn’t happen on a digital detox? Social media, email, and texting.

Since Paris, I’ve taken an afternoon, a day, or a weekend off. On another vacation, I was ready for deep cleansing.

To get that effect, I knew I needed at least a week away.

A 10 day trip to England provided the perfect opportunity to unplug – if I wanted to.

And so, as we were riding along the English countryside, I took a picture from the train window. Tagging it with #DigitalDetox and a 5/15 return date, I posted it to all of my social networks.

The sense of relief was overwhelming.

It’s embarrassing to admit that I’d drafted possible social media posts in the middle of the night for two nights before I decided to go off-grid. My sleep improved and I felt calmer.

If I was this affected by social media, maybe I really did need a break.

Once I got back, I wondered about my initial hesitation. Was it really that big of a deal to turn everything off? For me, no. The benefits were enormous and I recommend you try it, too.

What really happens to your brain and body during a digital detox?

According to Fast Company, “The lack of constant distraction appeared to free people’s minds to contemplate more important issues in their lives, and it also made them believe they had the willpower to sustain a transformation.”

The last time I checked in on social media was the day we left, May 2. I did set up an outgoing vacation message for my email accounts. But, I was vacillating about whether or not to be active on FacebookLinkedInInstagram and Twitter.

Do You Do Play by Play Vaca?

Some folks, including me some times, love to report vacation play-by-play with pictures, headlines, hashtags, and check-ins. But . . . this means you do need to check out of where you are and check into the Internet to post.

Then, you can wait and see who likes what and why.

While all this activity can be exciting, it can also be exhausting and emotional.

Because . . . in order to check your notifications, you’re also going to run across other updates.

Not everybody is ready to unplug, though. A survey shows significantly fewer workers prefer to completely unplug from work while on a family vacation. Roughly just one-third (37 percent) of Americans report unplugging from work completely while taking time off, a significant drop from 53 percent in 2017. More than half (59 percent) say they put pressure on themselves to work during family vacations, with 57 percent saying they do so to avoid coming back to a mountain of work.

How about you? Do you stay plugged in on vacation?

How to Do a Digital Detox: Unplug from Social Media and Do a Deep Cleansing

1. Decide on how long you want to be away

Even a few hours can have a restorative effect. If you can manage a week or longer, you’ll come back feeling refreshed, ready and more organized. Your mental, and physical, posture will be better.

2. Notify your networks

Tell people you’ll be off-grid and let them know when you’ll be coming back. For example, I sent out posts on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. And, every email in my inbox got an automated vacation response.

Remember to post similar updates on any company pages.

You can post a preview message like “In one week [give the date] I’ll be going on a 10 Day #DigitalDetox. Need to chat or set up an appointment before then? Here’s how [link to your scheduling calendar]

And . . . turn off notifications on your phone. Even better? Keep your phone in airplane mode.

3. Get a #DigitalDetox Back Up Buddy

Have a project in progress? Make sure you have someone who can monitor it for you and can communicate with your contacts while you’re away.

Ideally, clients will know that you will be unreachable.

If they have your personal mobile number, record an outgoing message that says you’re away from the office and will be checking back in on the date you return.

Unless it’s truly an urgent matter, resist the urge to call back – or listen to messages.

4. Expect to be Interrupted

Over the course of my 25 plus years as a business owner, I’ve been out of the office and on vacation many times.

Even with the best of plans, work comes along on vacation, too.

I’ve made conference calls from quiet laundry rooms, written blog posts in local libraries, and managed interviews [with a driver] on busy expressways.

It’s not always work. Family and friends can drop in unexpectedly. If you don’t want to hear from them, let them know you’ll be off-grid or leave your phone at home.

5. Don’t Crash – Activate a Crisis Plan

While we were on a family vacation at the happiest place on earth in 2007, I decided to check email and found that my blog was deleted by WordPress. I was not happy.

When my husband said, “I’m sure you’ve backed up all of your posts, right?”

Um, nope I had not. I had typed every single character directly into WordPress.

Talk about a quick drop into a tower of terror!

I flew into a downward spiral before I got off the ride. I did quickly recover all of the posts, but it took me six years to get the blog reactivated.

Now I never, ever compose a blog post in WordPress. It’s always in Word where the file is named and saved.

Imagine the worst-case scenario and then put plans in place to avert any crisis.

You may want to download your social media posts before you go.

6. Everything Will be Ok – Because It Always Is

No matter what happens on your screen while you’re away, everything will be okay.

Why? Because it always is.

My brother tells me this over and over and over again.

And, he’s right.

You can choose to be okay. Even if one or two things are not right, lots of stuff is.

Remember, worry is a one-way elevator down.

If you’re worried, allow yourself to go down a floor or two, open the door – don’t get out – and take a look.

Decide that’s not where you want to go, and then hit the button to go right back up to the top.

What’s on your screen now will still be there when you get back.

7. Consider the Effects of Blue Light on Sleep

Here’s a guide on the effects of blue light and sleep

We know about the negative mental health effects of too much scrolling, but there is also the concern about blue light’s impact on our eyes and sleep especially for older adults who may spend considerably more time exposed to artificial light. Cutting back on screen time gives your eyes a much-needed break. Note: added on January 11, 2024

Get Ready for Reentry

You took lots of cool pictures.

You have new stories to tell.

You feel refreshed.

So, get ready to share and get back into social media.

Now you know how to do a digital detox!

When do you think you’ll do your next #DigitalDetox? 

About the Author: Barbara Rozgonyi leads CoryWest Media, a women-owned strategic marketing consultancy that attracts attention, builds brands and connects communities with a proven 4D strategy to profitability. A founding member of Social Media Club Chicago, Barbara is a keynote speaker, social media/LinkedIn trainer, professional photographer, Amazon author, and a business development coach.

To check speaking availability or set up a media interview, please email hello

Image: Barbara Rozgonyi Photography from the Fall 2021 Greenway Collection

Looking for direction on where to go to next? Barbara can help you get there faster . . . set up a complimentary 4D discovery session.

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