Do you keep your phone within reach at all times? If you forget your phone at home, will you immediately turn around to get it? Does the thought of going without your phone for even an hour leave you feeling panicked? If so, you might have considered taking a step back and trying to be more present in your real life. Well Selena Gomez feels your pain—only she took the idea of a digital detox to the max. The singer recently told US Weekly that she decided to quit cold turkey, going without her cell phone for three months. And? Not only did she not die from lack of instant news updates, but she says it was one of the best things she ever did.
"It was the most refreshing, calming, rejuvenating feeling," she said, adding that the experience completely changed how she uses her phone. "Now I rarely pick up my phone, and only limited people have access to me," she said.
Sounds nice, right? The idea of doing a digital detox isn't new. People have become more and more dependent on their devices for information, entertainment, working, and day-to-day management of their lives. In fact, 71 percent of all Americans admit to sleeping with their phone nearby with fully 90 percent of Millennials saying they keep it either on a stand next to their bed or under their pillow, according to a survey done by Bank of America last year. This 24/7 connectivity is taking a major toll on people's health, affecting our sleep, work, weight, relationships, and even our sex lives.
Cell phone addiction is now a recognized disorder and you can even go to rehab for it. (Gomez was in rehab at the time she gave up her phone but she was there for treatment for exhaustion and mental health purposes.) But what about those of us who can't escape to a treatment facility and don't have personal assistants to stay on top of our inboxes for us? Relax, you're not doomed to be a slave to your electronics, Paul Hokemeyer, Ph.D., told us in a previous interview about cell phone addiction.
Start by setting some ground rules for your phone use, he says. First, set clear and firm boundaries by turning off your phone (actually off! not just out of reach) at a predetermined time each night until a set time in the morning (he recommends starting with 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.). Next, keep a log where you track the amount of time you spend on your phone or tablet to help you face reality. Then, set an alarm to remind yourself to put it down for 15 to 30 minutes at a time every few hours. Lastly, he recommends developing a consciousness around your thoughts and feelings. Pay attention to your primary emotions and note how you choose to escape them or deal with them. (Also, try these eight steps for doing a digital detox without FOMO.)