We all know the feeling of disappointment that comes with the realization that you haven’t looked up from your phone in over an hour. Your eyes are strained, and perhaps you’re asking yourself where the time went (and wishing you could get it back). Doom scrolling has become a pastime for many during the last year. Collectively, we have all grown more attached to our devices to entertain and inform us than ever before.
This is not to say that the internet and screens are inherently bad. Technology obviously has huge advantages and can be a great way of staying connected with family and friends and accessing a world of information, all at our fingertips. Still, as the saying goes, everything in moderation. Overindulging in the digital world clearly has its downsides, including increased anxiety, insomnia, and inactivity. Ironically, it can also interfere with your ability to connect with others and with yourself.
For all these reasons, undergoing a “digital detox” has grown in popularity in recent years. A digital detox is defined as a period of time during which a person refrains from using technology such as smartphones, computers, television, tablets, and social media platforms. In exchange, you find time to reconnect with loved ones and engage in the world around you.
Trading natural wonders for screen time is a great way to make the most of the benefits that come with a digital detox. Laramie, Wyoming is an ideal arena around which to plan some much-needed time away from technology. The town is surrounded by wide open prairie and mountains and overflows with opportunities for outdoor recreation. In this blog, we offer a few pointers on how to plan a digital detox and how to take advantage of Laramie’s backyard during your time away from the screens.
Set Your Boundaries
A great first step in gearing up for your digital detox is to designate technology-free hours or technology-free zones. You might decide, for example, to set aside mornings for digital detoxing, or to declare the dinner table a technology-free zone.
You might also consider whether it is appropriate to use your cellphone to make calls, but not to scroll through social media. No matter what parameters you establish, doing so ahead of time is important. Also, make your goals known with the others in your party to help build support and accountability.
Bring Awareness to Usage
During the times you have designated for technology use, try to be purposeful about your actions. As you reach for your smartphone, ask yourself why. If the answer that comes to you has something to do with distraction or avoidance, consider making a different choice. Too often, we use technology to ignore what’s happening around us or inside us.
Add Technology-Free Activities
With all those hours you’re freeing up from social media scrolling and endless consumption of news, you’ll have more time to reconnect with old hobbies or discover new ones. Any activity that gets you moving outside is a particularly good way to offset any time you might otherwise be spending on a device. This is what makes Laramie such a great location for disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature. The town is literally surrounded by outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, backpacking, skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling, to name a few.
The Snowy Range Mountains west of Laramie are especially suited for digital detoxing. You can’t get a cell phone signal in most parts of this range, and with all the gorgeous high alpine scenery to take in, you won’t miss it. In the summer, we are particularly fond of hiking (try summiting Medicine Bow Peak) and brook trout fishing (Lewis or Libby Lakes), or combine the two with a hike along the Gap Lakes Trail. During the winter, snowshoeing or skiing from the Greek Rock Trailhead will make you extra glad you decided to ditch your phone or Netflix for a few hours and get outside instead.
Consider A Digital “Fast”
Once you’ve established some boundaries and worked on being more intentional about your use of technology, you might be ready to set aside a longer stretch of time for digital detoxing. A full weekend away from screens and devices could be exactly what you need to make this happen, and renting a cabin in the woods is a great way to achieve this. Being surrounded by nature in a new location will make it easier to disconnect and rejuvenate. Check out our Cabin Rental Blog for guidance on where you might choose to stay around the Laramie area. Camping is another great option for a digital fast, and you can find more information on that here.
Enjoy your time spent in the mountains, reconnecting with yourself and the present moment.
You may also enjoy some of our other blogs, "Socially Distant Winter Activities," "How to Extend Your Stay in Laramie," "Best Places for Wildlife Viewing" and "Backpacking in the Snowy Range Mountains."
Note: Brian and Dani Harrington are independent writers contracted by Visit Laramie. Views and opinions expressed here are their own and do not reflect those of the Albany County Tourism Board.