How To Stay Online Without Losing Your Sanity

The Big Activity Book for Digital Detox is out TODAY! 

Like so many of us these days, I am in the midst of a love affair with my phone. It’s gone from being a source of guilt—thank you, screen time app, for letting me know that I spend hours every day staring at Instagram accounts starring overweight cats and various Jenners—to my lifeline to the world.

But just because technology is proving itself to be an uplifting—even vital—way for us to get through the current moment doesn’t mean that being dialed in 100% of the time doesn’t have a con or fifty. To put it in context, a hundred years ago our brains were just starting to handle the idea that we could move at a speed faster than “horse.” Fast forward to now, and we’re holding virtually unlimited information in the palms of our wildly unqualified little hands, printing 3-D body parts, and diving into the ocean from our living rooms. 

It’s a lot. 

Here are a few ways to navigate the reality of near-constant connectivity without feeling like you may literally be turning into a walking, talking emoji.

Curate those feeds. Be sure to dedicate at least some of each day to Chrissy Teigen’s Insta, videos of happy pitbulls, and Ira Glass. Unfollow anyone who has a pool, people who still do their hair, and “wellness influencers” who want you to take their at-home yoga class.

Mine some Reddit gold. Reddit is the online home of all kinds of obscure and obsessive fandom, and it can be extremely creepy. But it also contains some wonderful corners where people band together over all things fascinatingly odd and unexpectedly lovely. For example, take r/nonononoyes, where you will find clips of a bad thing (NO NO NO NO) almost happening, but then (YES!) danger is averted at the last possible second. Another highly recommended thread: r/aww, which is just a bunch of stuff that’ll make you say “aww.” 

Craft with your obsolete device cords. What to do with those sixty or seventy perfectly good cords that Apple has forced you to purchase over the years thanks to *completely necessary* updates to their… cords? How about whipping up an emergency dog leash?! Practicing your knots for the next time you need to sail somewhere and are put in charge of making knots?! Or wrap washi tape around them, mold them into the shape of a cactus, and throw that up on Pinterest, because sure. 

Post photos with the specific intention of getting zero likes. A blurry shot of your cat, a close-up of an only mildly attractive flower, a photo you accidentally took of your chin: These are the things the world needs to see right now. 

Plan an analog night in. Turn your phone completely off (or, fine, silence it) and talk to your quarantine buddies, if you’re lucky to have some. Try to remember how to communicate without a single Beyoncé GIF. Skip the part of the night where you bring your phone into bed and spend 3 1/2 hours scrolling through videos of baby sloths and Cher memes. Maybe sleep instead.

Locate Bob Ross’s YouTube channel. Stay there. 

If all else fails, rest secure in the knowledge that if the only thing capable of keeping you from checking your ex’s Instastories is a for-real straightjacket, you can totally have one delivered from This is still America, after all.

Pick up your copy of The Big Activity Book for Digital Detox here

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