Are you ready to truly unwind this holiday season? If so, consider taking a holiday digital detox to minimize stress, reduce anxiety and better connect with loved ones.
“Unplugging helps stress because it gives our brains a break from sensory input,” says Liz Kelly, LICSW, a psychotherapist in the DC metro area. “When we are away from our phones, we are more likely to engage in a positive coping strategy, such as interacting with our loved ones in person, walking outside, meal prepping or getting creative.”
Kelly says a tech break also shields from the 24-hour news cycle that can activate difficult emotions such as anxiety, grief, anger and frustration.
It’s not just an issue during the holidays, either. Globally, people, on average, spend nearly seven hours on screens, according to Exploding Topics, a company focused on trends. Sound like you? It may be time for a little digital detox.
Unsure how to put your phone down and join the holiday cheer? Here are four tips to help you get more into the holiday spirit so you don’t miss a thing!
1. Have an “Unplug” Box
Plan ahead if you’re hosting a holiday party or meal. Beforehand, let everyone know there will be a group-wide “no phone time” to help everyone stay in the moment. Remind folks when they come in the door; there will likely be less groaning about it. Additionally, planning the cute family photoshoot moments ahead of time for a predetermined time will potentially prevent the need to stay attached to smartphones for photo ops. Have guests turn off their phones and put them in a designated “unplug” box.
2. Take Intentional Photos
Before smartphones could capture every waking moment of our days, people had to use film and wait for it to be developed. Consider buying a few Polaroid-style cameras and have them around for capturing candids. Since there’s a limit to how much film is available, it will make it easier to capture precious moments throughout the holidays intentionally.
3. Have Fun Activities Planned
The holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy activities that might normally get pushed aside in the rush of everyday life. Whether you’re alone or with loved ones, you can put your phone down for various relaxing, mindful activities. Reach for a puzzle, customize a cup of hot cocoa, create a meal from scratch or do a holiday craft. You can even have a dance contest to the top Christmas songs for a more memorable gathering.
4. Head Outdoors
There’s no shortage of fun events to do outside during the holidays. Spend time at a local Christmas tree farm or holiday festival to get into the spirit. While Florida may never get cold enough for snow, there are plenty of places to find faux snowy landscapes to have a snowball fight, make snow angels or even ice skate.
Whether you do a holiday digital detox for a few hours, days, or weeks, you’re bound to notice a difference. You’ll be more present, less distracted, and even feel more peaceful. Consider how disconnecting for a short time may reduce your stress and anxiety while boosting your holiday spirit.