Digital Detox: How To Put Your Phone Down

Everyone is addicted to their phones nowadays! The number of people I see staring at their cell phones while they cross the street is WILD. If you can’t even put your phone down for 5 seconds while crossing the street that is a problem. Speaking for myself – I know that there are times when I grab my phone without even thinking about it. The next thing I know I’m scrolling Instagram for no reason… when that starts happening on a regular basis I know it’s time for a digital detox (or more importantly, a phone detox). 

It’s easier said than done though because it is literally an addiction. Doing a digital detox from your phone, social media, the computer, games, and so on is GREAT for your brain and mental health. It’s not always easy though and with so much being online, it’s not always feasible to fully detox from technology. 

That is why I am focusing on smartphones! Doing a phone detox is possible and let’s be real, cell phones are the biggest problem for more people. So, let’s chat more about how to do a digital detox and finally put the phone down!

What is a digital detox?

When you normally think of the word “detox” I’m sure you think about drugs and alcohol. Detoxing from using a substance is the typical use of the word. However, when it comes to a digital detox, it’s the same idea minus the substance. 

A digital detox is when you remove the digital device from your life for a set period of time. This may include cell phones, TVs, computers, social media platforms, games, and so on.

The main purpose of a digital detox is to give yourself a break from the stress, information overload, and feelings of technology dependence for a while in the hopes you won’t feel so attached. 

Why you should do a phone detox

When it comes to technology, pretty much everything can be done on your phone. You can talk to your friends, family, or total strangers. You can browse the internet, play games, and even work! It makes logical sense that you spend a lot of time on your phone. 

On the flip side – your brain can only handle so much stimuli when it comes to digital devices. There have been lots of studies done showing the negative impact smartphones have on our lives (one being shortened attention spans). 

Spending too much time on devices can create an addictive feeling of always needing to check your notifications, emails, texts, etc. It’s that feeling I described at the beginning of grabbing your phone and without even realizing it being on Instagram. 

People also feel sad, angry, and lonely when they spend too much time on social media and devices. Not to mention the online bullying, negativity, and straight up disgusting content that floats around the internet. Being online is not always the best for your mental health!

To be fair though, it’s not always realistic to do a full digital detox. You probably need your computer for work or need to be able to answer the phone to speak to a family member. So it’s important to figure out ways you can take a step back from technology without it ruining your job or relationships in the process. 

I think doing a phone detox is the best option! This way you can still check your emails (on the computer), do some work (on the computer) and browse some social media if you must (on the computer). It makes it *just a bit* more tasking than if you were to do those things on your phone therefore making it easier to step away from the devices.

How to put your phone down 

Now that you have decided you need to take a little digital vacation, a phone detox is the way to go! Here are a few ways you can put your phone down and actually live your real life. 

1- a weekly digital detox/ phone detox 

So many people take the day off social media on Sundays. It gives you a day to just stop worrying about what your online friends are doing, feeling the need to post and update, and constantly grabbing your phone. 

Set aside a day a week where you will do the absolute bare minimum on your phone. Not only will it feel great but you will get used to putting your phone down more regularly. 

2- delete apps 

Sometimes the easiest way to stop using your phone as much is to delete the apps you spend the most time on. If you aimlessly scroll on Instagram and just can’t seem to stop – delete the Instagram app. Now, this is not forever but it will help you take a break!

3- track your screen time 

I’ll be honest… when I started tracking my screen time I was embarrassed. It was so much higher than I thought it was. The number itself pretty much shamed me into using my phone less lol. It’s a bit of a reality check and that might be what you need!

4- no phone during meals 

If you aren’t ready for a full-on digital detox you might be ready to implement smaller detoxes. Make a rule that no one can use their phone during meal times. That includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You could even do snacks! 

I noticed that I would use my phone during meal times and it would be the most useless screen time ever. I would also overeat because I was distracted while eating. Not to mention you can be more social and present with your loved ones when your phone is away.

5- turn off notifications 

Often times, you pick up your phone because you got a notification. It’s that instant FOMO if you don’t pick it up. But, if you never get the notification you will stop having those feelings! And let’s be real, you don’t need to know every time someone likes your picture. You will see it when you check your socials again. 

6- pick up a hobby 

Replace your screen time with a hobby. Read a book, work out, learn to knit… whatever it is, just pick something that doesn’t involve screens. Hopefully, you’ll be more interested in your new hobby than scrolling. 

I’ve seen people do these challenge videos where they replace screen time with reading. It’s crazy how many books they could read by just replacing reading with phone use.

Need some ideas for hobbies or just other ways to spend your time? Here are 10 solo date ideas that will get you out of the house and away from your phone.  

7- set timers 

I use app timers on all my most used social media apps. It lets me know when I’ve maxed out my time and shuts off the app for the rest of the day. I started with higher limits but over time have lowered them! It still takes a touch of self-control but it’s a good reminder that you’ve been on your phone too much when you see the app timer reminders pop up. 

8- put your phone away when you get home 

Out of sight, out of mind is really a thing. Keep your phone out of sight when you are at home. Put it in another room so you aren’t tempted to keep looking at it. If you really must check your phone you now have to get up and walk across the house to do that. Chances are you won’t be checking it as much!

How to put your phone down: tips for doing a digital detox
Tips for putting your phone down

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Final thoughts on digital detoxing 

I do think spending less time on screens is a must! It’s no secret that there are benefits to being more present in your real life. 

With the world being so dependent on the internet it’s hard to step away, I get it! However, taking one day a week away from your phone or even just social media isn’t going to kill you. I know from personal experience that spending less time on social media has improved my mental health. I feel less anxious when I’m not on my phone as much!

So, take this as your sign to do a digital detox and put your phone down! Get outside, read a book, or grab coffee with a friend. Do something this week that requires NO technology! That is my challenge for you. 

I know you can do it ♥️

Until next time, 


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