It’s safe to say that all of us could use less screen time. Whether you’re addicted to social media or read your news online before bingeing on box sets, a new year is a good time to make a conscious break from all those digital devices.
Having a detox is harder than you might think, because whenever we’re at a loose end, we tend to grab our phones. The key to make it work is distraction, so here are a few good old fashioned ways to entertain yourself without the gadgets.
Write a letter
When was the last time you sat down and wrote a letter? (Those hastily signed Christmas cards don’t count by the way.) It’s a disappearing artform, but one that can give lots of pleasure to both the writer and the receiver. Just remember the heady feeling you get when you see a handwritten and blatantly-not-a-bill envelope coming through the letterbox and give it to someone else.
Select your stationery carefully and write with a lovely pen. Take time over your words and their meaning to tell someone you care about the things that might get missed in a rushed text message. It might even inspire them to write back and you can have that joy at the sound of envelope landing on mat.
Cook a meal from scratch
If you’re thinking about what to make for dinner, step away from the internet and open a real cookbook. You remember those – they’re the beautifully bound tomes sitting on the shelf gathering dust. Take pleasure in carefully selecting the recipe and then scouring local shops for the ingredients.
When it’s time to cook, make sure you have a nice tidy kitchen and all the cookware and utensils you need to hand. Lay out your ingredients and put on the radio or some music. Pour yourself a glass of wine – if you’re not also having an alcohol detox – and truly enjoy the process of cooking a meal from scratch.
Make a piece of clothing
There are lots of reasons why disposable fashion isn’t great and the absolute opposite to buying cheap dresses online is to make your own. If you’ve sewn before and fallen out of the habit, then now’s time to pick it up again, but if you’re a newbie then start with something basic and work from there.
Getting into making your own clothes doesn’t have to be an expensive business. You can pick up delightfully retro patterns from charity shops, borrow a sewing machine from a friend or even rent one on the cheap. The first thing you make might be a bit wonky or not quite fit right, but learning new skills gives a great sense of achievement and can be addictive.
Dig out your film camera
One of the things that most of us use our devices for the most is taking pictures. Back in the good old days, it took a lot more time and effort to get a shot right and you wouldn’t know if it was any good until it was developed. It’s becoming a lost art, but balancing the light meter and aperture, before hearing the reassuring click of the shutter is a satisfying feeling.
Most families will have a film camera knocking about of some vintage or other, so give it a go. Plan a day out to get your shots and see what surprises turn up when they’re printed. If there was a half-used film in the camera already, you may find some lovely memories. And it’s always nice to have printed pictures to look at.
Tick off another New Year’s resolution by doing some exercise while detoxing from your phone. You could simply go for a run or sweat it out at the gym, but if you’re not a natural athlete then you can pretend to yourself that you’re just having fun. Dancing is great for this, as you can take it as seriously as you like, enjoy the music and do it with a loved one or friends.
Dancing has many benefits, like helping with coordination and memory, as well as helping you get fit. And even if you’re not very good, it will improve your mood no end. Take a class or just join in to find your groove.