Digital detoxes are a new phenomena. Understandably so, as the rise of digital technology has been huge and all encompassing. Now we use it for almost everything; from ordering groceries to connecting with loved ones. It is integrated into our lives to a point where it is almost unavoidable. And the form of technology we are the most addicted to? Social media.
Instagram, twitter, facebook, youtube, snapchat. Social media is everywhere you look and that isn’t always good thing. It has a whole host of benefits. I met some of my best friends on there and used the platforms to build my brand and my business. I have an awful lot to thank social media for. However, our constant sharing of our filtered lives through a screen is reeking havoc on our confidence and mental health; often leading to comparison and resulting feelings of inadequacy.
Personally, social media is my job which means I have an even more complex relationship with it. Luckily I am very aware that social media is a highlight reel, so I find it fairly easy to avoid comparison with those I follow. However, I do find that it can be hard to live in the moment when you’re constantly capturing it to share across your platforms; and it can make it harder to connect with those you’re sharing the moment with. Sometimes you just want to sit and watch the sunset with your loved one, rather than having to take a photo or set up a time-lapse first. As someone who meditates, I value being present in the moment and social media can detract from that. As a result, sometimes I need to take a step back from it.
Enter the “digital detox”. This means something different to everyone. For some its turning your phone off completely and for others it’s just turning off notifications. In over five years of running my social media accounts I had never had a full fledged digital detox until last Christmas, 2017. It was along overdue.
I took 5 days off. And you know what? It was amazing. Absolutely bloody brilliant.
Prior to my digital detox I was feeling overwhelmed with the upcoming new year, confused with the direction of my brand and the goals I wanted to set for myself. The digital detox gave me the time and headspace to really reflect on the previous months, as well as look ahead to the future with new clarity. I was able to spend quality time with those I loved, without any distractions. I read books, baked cookies, watched documentaries and went on long walks. I shared experiences, jokes and memories without feeling the need to capture them. It was refreshing and liberating.
After my digital detox I told myself I would take regular breaks from my social media throughout the upcoming year, 2018. I have since done three weekend long digital detoxes which have been massively beneficial.
So, would I do it again?
Yes, yes, yes. I want to regularly implement digital detoxes into my life. This doesn’t necessarily mean fully weekends off every month, it could be as simple as leaving my phone in my office when my boyfriend gets home; or leaving it in my pocket when I am out with friends. It is the basic act of disconnecting from the digital world so I can reconnect with the real world, my friends, family, loved ones, myself and most importantly, the moment.
Speaking of moments. If you’re looking for an app to inspire you to disconnect from technology I recommend Moment. It tracks how much you use your phone, how many times you check it and the app you use the most. It is terrifying, but motivating as hell to put your phone down and look up.
I know what you’re thinking. It can be a little scary to switch off from social media, especially when it’s your job like it is mine. However, you will soon realise that the world doesn’t fall apart if you don’t reposed to your emails within a day. Life goes on and people understand. No one is judging you harshly, except yourself.
I love social media, the inspiration it provides and the opportunities it brings. However, I truly believe the our lives are meant to be lived through our eyes, not through screens. If you think you need one, and even if you think you don’t, I can’t recommend taking a digital detox enough.