What I Learned From My Digital Detox
1. Before you do your digital detox, tell your loved ones!
Y’all, I forgot to do this! I know it sounds like common sense, but I forgot. And in this day and age, we are so connected that when your family and close friends don’t hear from you for 24 hours, they may start to worry!
I woke up Saturday morning, turned my phone to airplane mode, and didn’t take it off until the next morning. I have to admit that I had some anxiety during the day wondering if I left some people worried. Are they trying to get in touch with me? Are they wondering why they haven’t heard from me? Are they worried?
2. Doing a digital detox will illuminate just how much we use our phones!
Heading to the park? Just enter that address into Google Maps.
Want to meet up with a friend? Just text her.
Reading a book and want to look up a word you come across? Just google it.
Need to find out what time Saturday night church service is? Just look it up.
See where I’m going with this? We have become so utterly dependent on our phones. There are no more physical maps or home phones or encyclopedias or such. Just our technology! The tether between us and technology is so great that we practically can’t carry out some simple tasks without it.
3. If you’re doing a detox, be sure to pre-arrange any social plans!
As I mentioned, I did my digital detox on the weekend. As luck would have it, Elle and I had a low-key Saturday at home planned. We had no real appointments or anything specific on our schedule. I just planned to spend a lot of one-on-one time with her.
As the day went on, I went to text my friend Jayme to see if she wanted to have a late brunch. I instinctively typed the text and pressed send. Then, I got that dreaded red exclamation mark that meant my message didn’t go through. I had indeed momentarily forgotten that I was offline.
But then it dawned on me… Elle and I were going to have a completely solo day with completely no plans – because I hadn’t pre-planned anything with anyone! Ha.
4. If you undergo a digital detox, you will be tempted!
Whether it’s some of those seemingly valid uses for your phone or computer that I mentioned in number two, or whether it’s the urge to get a hit (so to speak) of social media, the temptation will be real! You’ll want to just check really quick to make sure nothing major is happening in the world. You might be missing out, after all!
But resist the urge. Much like any other addiction, the addiction cannot control you if you don’t indulge in the “drug”. Just say no! Power through it.
5. When you do a digital detox, you will quickly wonder, “What am I going to do all day?”
And that’s a valid question! Your hands will be idle from the technology grip. Your eyes won’t be glued to a screen. Your house may be quieter than usual.
So, what are you going to do with that time? Well, here’s how we spent our day… We had breakfast at home. We went to the park. We got smoothies. We played at home. We went out for lunch together. We took a nap. We read books. I read a book from start to finish. I took a long bath. I spent some time stretching. I organized some things around the house.
6. Disconnecting digitally will automatically connect you more to the physical world around you.
The time I spent with Elle this weekend was so precious. That’s not because we did anything out of the ordinary, but rather precisely because I fully experienced the ordinary. In other words, I was totally present in what we were doing – our conversations, our play, our meals, our bedtime routine.
And I will note that, in general, I try to avoid being on my phone when I’m with her. But I realize now how much I still mindlessly will scroll through Instagram or try to reply to a few emails really quickly. Even so, completely eliminating the digital component made me so much more tuned in to her and our time together.
7. Disconnecting completely will illustrate to you your subconscious patterns.
I found that I would reach for my phone without realizing it. I would try to text a friend without even thinking about it. I would open Twitter to see what was going on in the world before remembering I wasn’t online.
As they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Well, in this case, I might say that the second step is becoming aware of your patterns. When do you reach for your phone? Is it for a specific purpose or is it just mindless? Certainly there are valid reasons to use a smart phone. But let’s try to eliminate some of that habitual action.