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7 baby steps for a holiday tech detox


Ditch the Kindle and grab a real book.

During the holidays, it's difficult to appreciate free time and family when you're constantly plugged in. Technology is ingrained in our everyday lives, so taking time off is a foreign feeling.

If you think parting with your devices is such sweet sorrow, there are some baby steps you can take to unplug. Delete some apps, give up your tablet and take things slow.

We interviewed Levi Felix, founder of Digital Detox and Camp Grounded — Summer Camp for Adults, for his professional take on simple things you can do to unwind this holiday season.

1. Use only one medium at a time.

We all probably have more gadgets than we need. For this holiday detox, focus on using one piece of tech at a time — no multi-tasking, Felix says.

Multi-tasking puts you in a stressed out mental state. If you're focusing on one thing at a time (with only one gadget at a time), you'll be more effective with tasks and will have a better overall performance. Only about 2% of people can really multi-task anyway.

2. Temporarily delete your social media apps.

One of the easiest ways to get sucked into social media is by using your apps. So, the fix is simple — delete those apps. You don't really need your Twitter or Facebook app. That Tumblr app is just slowing you down. With all that access in the palm of your hand, it's hard to not constantly check in, refreshing every few minutes. Do the right thing and remove that temptation.

3. Buy an alarm clock.

Don't use your cellphone as an alarm clock — use the real deal instead, Felix recommends.

"You’ll sleep better and won't have the urge to check your messages in the middle of the night," he tells Mashable. "Give yourself 30-45 minutes to wake up, make some coffee or tea, and start the day on your terms."

4. Pick up a real book.

Though e-books are a great way to read on the go, it's time for you to reconnect with the earth, dude. This is a tech detox, after all — e-readers are a gateway gadget.

However, if you'd rather not go cold turkey, Felix says digital books are fine, as long as you avoid lengthy reading time on back-lit screens. Your eyes will also likely have an easier time focusing on paper. Studies also show that people who use digital readers have a worse memory of events that happen in the book.

5. Have a device-free meal

A 2013 study of more than 2,000 adults showed that 33% of adults use their phones while on a dinner date. Imagine how high the numbers are for computers and TVs.

"Set meal times as an opportunity to connect with your food, the people around you and yourself," Felix says.

6. Practice 20-20-20.

This calculated move will jar you out of your daily ritual of staring at glowing screens.

"Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away. Repeat this three times an hour," Felix recommends. "In addition, to increase blood flow and improve posture, walk 20 feet or more for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes."

7. Use a phone-free throne.

Admit it — you've used your smartphone in the bathroom. You may have even looked toMashable for optimal toilet apps. But not only are you likely getting tons of germs on that phone, you're also cluttering up one more sacred moment of your day, with tech.

"Many of the best ideas and creative innovations were thought of on the 'throne,'" Felix says. And he's not wrong — Sylvester Stallone's mom says her son does his best writing in his bathroom.