The phone on the dinner table. Waking up to check email alerts. Being glued to your laptop on the weekends. Relying on your Google Calendar to get through your day. Feeling a major knot of anxiety every time you've got more than five new alerts on your phone... Though these habits might seem innocuous on their own, the extent of your addiction — yes, addiction — can really be elucidated when you ask yourself just how long it's been since you last looked at a screen. For most of us, it's a couple seconds or minutes. The longest you've unplugged? Probably just around the time it takes for you to get a night's worth of sleep.
The consequences of becoming that reliant on our digital toys might not seem like a big deal. After all, technology is supposed to make our lives easier, not more complicated, and the fact that many of us can't get through a dinner without pulling out our phones at least once is compromising our abilities to connect with people, ideas, and experiences that aren't beamed out from a screen — and in some ways, this can have some pretty disastrous emotional consequences. While there are entire camps dedicated to "detoxing" our digital lives (of note, Camp Grounded, The New York Times-covered retreat that provided us with DIY detox tips), we don't think you have to pony up major moola to wean yourself off of the phone.
Whether you need help streamlining or motivation to really pare down, we've got five life-changing ways to truly unplug for every level of online addiction, from a few easy tweaks to some major revelations.
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