I am a huge proponent of disconnecting from cell phones. On weekends, for example, I may spend an afternoon out hiking and leave my phone at home - going without it for 5 or 6 hours at a time is sooo refreshing!

When we are accessible to the outside world 24/7, it is nearly impossible to stay connected with ourselves and be present in the moment. However, many friends have shared with me that they don’t see how they could possibly leave their phone for an extended period of time. If you’re like them, then leaving your phone for an entire day may feel too extreme - so below are a few starting suggestions for easy ways take a temporary digital detox:

At the Dinner (or Breakfast or Lunch!) Table

My dad was very strict growing up about not having phones at the table. It didn’t matter if we were at a restaurant, in a coffee shop or sitting at home - if me or my siblings had our phones in sight at the table, he would immediately take them away and not return them until the end of the meal (and yes, he still does this even though all his children are now adults!) Even though this was annoying to me as a teenager, I now appreciate the habit it formed. Whenever I sit down for a meal, I make sure my phone is out of sight and out of mind - allowing me to fully focus on my company and the meal we are sharing.

After 7PM

Another great idea is to disconnect in the evenings. For me, it works well to put my phone away at dinner time, and then stay away from it until the following morning. When I sit down for dinner, I will typically take my phone to my bedroom, set my alarms for the next day, plug it in, and then… ignore it! Any messages or calls you miss will be there waiting for you the next morning.

When You Go for a Walk

Any time you go outside to walk, run or hike, consider focusing your attention on your time in nature rather than on your phone. Even if it is just a 20-minute walk with your dog, it can be incredibly refreshing to leave your phone at home. If you are driving to a hiking spot, try leaving your phone in the car for the hike itself - a couple hours away from your screen will give you brain a well-deserved break.

Give these a try, and you’ll feel refreshed in no time!