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In today’s interconnected world, cutting down on screen time can be easier said than done. Thanks to continued innovations with smartphones and tablets, there’s very little that isn’t available to us at our fingertips.
That’s not even accounting the time spent watching something on a traditional television. To put things into perspective, the average American spends over seven hours a day looking at screens; globally, the daily average is over six hours. This number has continued to climb 50 additional minutes a day since 2013.
The good news is that if you’re serious about cutting down on screen time, there are a number of ways to take much needed breaks and curb detrimental behaviors, starting with a digital detox.
In This Article
What Are the Best Products for a Digital Detox?
What Is a Digital Detox?
Is a Digital Detox Worth It?
The Best Products for a Digital Detox
When trying to break a habit, having a physical product to use or to help keep you accountable is key. There are also a number of products you can use to make sure you’re sticking to your goal.
We’ve rounded up some of the best products to use for a digital detox. From cell phone jails to detox kits, here’s what you need start your digital detox journey.
1. Pinch Provisions Digital Detox Kit
This nifty kit is your one-stop shop to beginning your digital detox, whether you’re looking for a temporary reprieve or looking to seriously disconnect. Eight practical and fun items are included, including an eye mask, phone sleeve, infinity fidget cube and ear plugs all conveniently packaged in an easy to transport box so you can disconnect at home, work or while you’re on the move.
Buy Pinch Provisions Digital Detox Kit… $25.99
2. S&O Basic Business Wall Calendar
We’ve become more reliant on our devices with each new model and update, and there’s seemingly an app for just about every facet of our lives, from tracking what we eat to even structuring our days. If you’re someone who lives and dies by your calendar, trading your phone’s calendar for an old-school one could be an important step in weaning yourself off of technology. This tear-off monthly option is perfect for keeping track of meetings, appointments and other obligations; one less reason to check your phone.
Buy S&O Business Wall Calendar $9.99
3. A5 Lined Leather Journal Set With Pen
In the spirit of keeping it old-school, ditch your phone’s note app for a trusted journal. Whether you’re looking to keep track of to-do lists, or jotting down plans for work or events, this journal lets you sketch out your ideas in one IRL place. Not only will you take an important step in creating distance from your devices, but you’re actually more likely to remember something if you write it down versus typing it.
Buy Blue A5 Lined Leather Journal Notebook $19.99
4. Sonos One Voice Controlled Speaker
Now you might be thinking, “How would a wireless speaker help me unplug from technology?” The good news is that this speaker doesn’t require any screen time to operate it once its paired with your smartphone, tablet, etc. through the Sonos app. Once connected, you can use voice commands and automations to listen to all of your favorite music without ever having to look at a screen to do so. After all, creating space between you and your screens doesn’t mean you need to punish yourself!
Buy Sonos One (Gen 2) – Voice Controlled… $234.99
5. Habit Control Cell Phone Lock Box
Sometimes it’s best to remove temptation from the situation completely. This nifty cell phone lock box fits with most iPhones and and Android smartphones and can help you resist the urge to scroll endlessly for hours on end. There’s even a timing feature; you can dictate a set amount of time (up to 24 hours) for your phone break, whether you’re looking to focus on a task or set it aside until the morning as you prepare for bed.
Buy Habit Control Cell Phone Lock Box with… $33.99
6. 399 Games, Puzzles & Trivia Challenges
While you give your eyes a rest from screen time, it’s not a bad idea to stimulate your mind with some mental exercise. This book of nearly 400 games, puzzles and trivia challenges is designed to keep your mind as agile as possible targeting your six key cognitive functions: long-term memory, working memory, executive functioning, attention to detail, multitasking and processing speed. Each exercise is organized by difficulty level, ranging from “warm-up” to “merciless,” so you can go at a pace that’s most comfortable for you.
Buy 399 Games, Puzzles & Trivia… $12.42
7. Light Phone
What if we told you there was a way you could have access to essentials of your smartphone without the wear and tear on your eyes? The Light Phone utilizes an electronic paper screen that doesn’t emit any blue light like your standard tablets, iPhones and other devices. Instead of apps, the Light Phone offers a basic menu and functions, including an alarm, map, music player and texting and calling capabilities. There are no games or social media feeds though — it’s optimized so you’re not constantly using it.
Whether you’re looking to ditch your real phone for a relaxing weekend or you want to make a permanent change, the Light Phone is here to meet your unique needs. Compatible with US carriers (Light, Verizon, AT&T, Mint, US Mobile). Light also offers an International model, as well as different SIM plans and a compatibility checker if you’re unsure. Get up to 20 hours of battery life on a single charge. Available in black and grey options.
8. Pursoma Digital Detox Cleansing Bath Soak
There’s nothing quite like unwinding with a good bath, and this Digital Detox Cleansing Bath Soak was designed for those who find themselves tethered to their devices. The French Grey Sea Salt works to remineralize the body, while green clay works to pull out toxicity. Simply pour the contents of your bag into a warm bath and soak for up to 30 minutes to feel minerals cleanse your pores and hydrate your skin, while also soothing the body and helping you unwind and rest.
Buy Pursoma Digital Detox Cleansing Bath… $28.00
9. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Before undertaking any huge task or goal, it’s always a good idea to do some research. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World was a New York Times Bestseller for a reason, offering readers the tools necessary for becoming a digital minimalist (I.e. someone who is calm, happy and can hold long conversations without having to disappear into one of their many news feeds).
What’s important is that the book doesn’t turn technology into a scary monster to be defeated, but gives readers the chance to decrease their reliance on their devices. One reader wrote that after becoming a computer person in their late teens, they developed chronic back pain and an addiction to sites like Twitter, in addition to balancing a full-time work from home schedule.
After reading this book and adopting a “digital declutter” mindset, they’ve noticed a transformative change, trading screen time for books and even beginning a workout routine. That’s a pretty powerful testimonial, even more so when you see the thousands of others like it.
Buy Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused… $14.39
10. Adult Coloring Book
Coloring isn’t just for kids anymore. This book is filled with 50 gorgeously hand-drawn patterns that give you the chance to unwind, relax and get in touch with your creative side — no screens necessary!
Buy Amazing Patterns: Adult Coloring Book $5.99
What Is a Digital Detox?
As the phrase suggests, a digital detox involves removing any digital devices, like phone screens and TV screens.
We don’t recommend going cold turkey; generally this doesn’t work out for people long-term, and could actually lead to a “relapse” in behaviors. Instead, start with something smaller and more realistic. For example, maybe instead of binging an entire season of your favorite show in a day you limit yourself to a few episodes to start out, or use watching an episode or two as a “reward” for doing something that’s physically stimulating. You could also limit the time spent on your phone in between tasks or after work, and slowly wean yourself off the more comfortable you get. It’s all about respecting your comfort level; what works for a friend or family member may not work the same for you, and vice versa.
Is a Digital Detox Worth It?
You’d be forgiven if your eyes ached while reading that back, as the numbers more than exceed the recommended amount by experts, which is less than two hours for non-work related activities. While you might scoff at this notion, consider the negative long-term effects of too much screen time: in addition to experiencing eye strain, headaches and also pain in your neck, shoulders and/or back from sustained periods of sitting down at a desk, too much screen time can lead to more serious issues such as insomnia, poor sleep quality, and even changes in cognition or development of addictive behaviors as well.
Additionally, screen time generally cuts into time that could be spent being physically active, whether you’re someone who prefers to go on long walks or hit the gym.
Ultimately, a digital detox is about re-allocating the time that would normally be spent on your devices on something offline instead, like reading an actual book, talking to friends in person and doing a physical activity. The goal is to make yourself less reliant on technology and experience things in real life, ultimately leading to better clarity, energy and peace of mind.