CFAES Give Today
OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

July 19, 2023 - 9:00am --

Where’s your happy place? As we approach mid-summer, I’ve had the opportunity to ask that question in several classes. For some it’s the beach, others it’s out with friends or just some quiet time maybe hiking or reading.

Wherever it might be you notice the answers are not found with technology in hand. We’ve come to rely on our phones and computers to accomplish many things, but there’s a time and place to also put them down and be mindful of the people or places around us.

This week in the OSU Health and Wellness news, Jodie Leister LPCC-S, CEAP; Ohio State Employee Assistance Program talks about how important it is to do a digital detox.

'The definition of a digital detox is to intentionally take a break from or reduce the amount of time you spend online on your devices, on the internet, or specific platforms. This is typically for a specified period of time that can vary from one day to several months and may entail disconnecting completely, or partially.'

How to know if or when to do the disconnect

So, how do I know if or when I need to try this? Our emotions are a strong indicator of how tied we are to our devices. Have you felt as though you are depressed or irritable? Maybe frustrated or angry? Reading some things online can make us feel insecure, isolated or upset with posted content. We can get so caught up in scrolling mindlessly through pages that we lose sleep or fear we are missing out on something. Whether we realize it or not, it’s also easy to compare ourselves with others.

If there are any of the emotions above you might recognize in yourself or a family member, then maybe the following tips can help.

Doing a digital detox is a great way to find out if technology is holding you back from living your best life. The results of unplugging can be far reaching, from being more productive at work to deepening your relationships with family and friends. When I become more mindful and present in the moment, then I benefit by having a sharper focus, overall have less stress, better social interaction with those around me and regain control of my time.

So, what’s the first step? Start by turning off push notifications and convert to black and white. Establish some guidelines as a family as to when phones can be used and when it’s time to put them away. For example, maybe phones are not to be used during mealtime and they are left out of the bedroom so you can get a good night sleep.

As you embrace some of these ideas, designate some tech-free hours and play a family game or take a walk at a park.

Try picking up a real book instead of swiping online pages

Instead of reading online, take a trip to the library and enjoy the feel of a paper book. The research indicates it’s more satisfying than reading on a screen. Don’t forget to protect your body from eye strain, text neck and hand or wrist movement with extended periods of time online.

Technology is an essential part of life that we need to accomplish our responsibilities, but don’t let it become so important we miss out on what’s in front of us. Being mindfully present will create memories for the summer as we share in activities with our family and friends.

So, where’s your happy place? That’s a great conversation starter for your next family meal.

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or