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A Mindful Digital Detox

The next time you find yourself doom-scrolling, consider weaving some of these mindfulness practices into your daily routine.

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There’s a psychological and emotional price that comes with having our Slack channels, emails, and Instagram feeds all conveniently in our pockets: A Pew Research study reported that more than 20 percent of Americans say they’re overwhelmed by the amount of digital information they receive each day, while another from the journal Computers in Human Behavior found that using more social media platforms is directly related to increased levels of depression and anxiety.

The good news? Limiting screen time is still very much within reach. A few seemingly small changes—from avoiding all nonwork-related social media platforms and setting daily time restrictions to simply not checking your phone or email when you wake up and before you go to bed—can make a huge impact, says Cal Newport, author of Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World. They pay off: Limiting the use of social media to 30 minutes per day for three weeks decreased loneliness and depression, according to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

So, how do you minimize burnout when it comes to technology while staying connected? With yoga, of course. The second of the eight limbs, the niyamas, invites us into self-inquiry, while the fifth limb, pratyahara, offers introspection and dedicated time away from external stimuli. The next time you find yourself doom-scrolling, consider weaving some of these mindfulness practices into your daily routine.

Socially Distance from Your Timeline

Taking time off social media allows us to find other ways to connect with loved ones while cultivating intentional moments of personal practice. Replace the scroll with self-exploration and deep creative work: Glide through a vinyasa flow, practice a mindful movement, or simply take some time in nature.

Take Your Own Pulse

Practice self-study by asking yourself where your feelings are stemming from. Then, instead of posting, journal about your inner thoughts. Give yourself time to fully process your emotions through dhyana (meditation) and contemplation.

Set Your Social Media Intention

Before you post, ask yourself, “What are my intentions for this post?” Are you looking to inform your digital community about an important issue—or to grab some attention or praise? Be honest. Then, practice a grounding pranayama exercise to root back to your core values and stay in alignment with how you want to share yourself with the world.

Build a Community, Not a Following

Feel like you spend all of your time online attracting an audience to promote your work? Instead, pour that energy into creating content that will be meaningful to your existing community. Take stock of who has been supporting you and look for ways to keep them engaged.

Put Presence Over Perfection

Wherever you are, practice being fully present in your current moment rather than trying to capture a winning photo. Some moments are simply just for you, and that’s enough. Maintaining your own well-being and peace will keep you balanced and mentally resilient.

Practice Self-Love

Measuring your worth based on “likes” doesn’t support mental well-being. Meditate, do some at-home spa treatments, and write in a gratitude journal when you’re feeling like you need some self-affirming pick-me-ups.

Rest

Studies show that social media disrupts our natural sleeping patterns—so we get less sleep and feel more fatigued throughout the day. After-hours work emails aren’t more urgent than your well-being. Remember to take intentional moments to rest.

This story is part of Yoga Journal’s Special Report: How Yoga Can Improve Your Mental Health

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