So….I enjoyed a 48-hour digital detox over the weekend. Just how did that go? Well…
Hello, dreamers! Guess what? I did something totally shocking and radical recently. I turned off my cellphone for 48 hours. Say, what? It’s beyond strange to me that the act of turning my cellphone off for two days felt like a brave and radical thing to do – and yet, it totally did.
The idea for a digital detox came to me on Friday evening. I returned home from work and enjoyed a 30 minute meditation practice that was so soothing and invigorating. As much as I love to meditate, I confess it had been a while. I can always tell it’s time to get back to meditating when I feel pressure in my head, which could possibly be identified as a tension headache. Meditation is always a great place to turn when I feel like my brain is in a vacuum and after a mere 10- to 15 minutes, that pressure starts to fall away. (Seriously, if you haven’t tried meditating before…give it a go. You won’t regret it!)
Starting My Digital Detox
Upon completing my meditation, I felt revived and clear-headed…then turned on Netflix, picked up my phone and resumed my usual activity of scrolling through social media, browsing the news and basically bombarding my mind with as much information as I possibly can…while not fully comprehending any of it. Cut to the realization that oops, I haven’t been paying attention to my Netflix movie and need to rewind a good 10 minutes because the plot had taken a turn and I was completely lost.
After a revitalizing meditation session, it alarmed me how quickly I was overloading myself and subsequently being un-present. That’s when I made a SNAP decision…I picked up my iPhone and turned it off. “Off”. A function that I think we all seem to forget our electronic devices have. I set my phone aside and resolved that my phone would stay off for 48-hours. Two whole days! Could I do it?
A Few Hours into my Digital Detox
After just a few hours, my digital detox was already doing wonders to make me feel more relaxed and present. Oh, sure…it felt weird to not have my phone at an arms reach at all times…but it also felt a bit liberating.
Who knew that turning off your cellphone could feel so scandalous, but I felt like I was rebelling in a way. I was freeing myself from the constant stream of media bites we ingest all day, from social media – to news articles – to sound bites on TV. At a time when the news is so depressing, it felt good to completely separate myself from it and not pay attention to what everyone’s feedback was on the latest political news drop.
To boot, I also slept SO well! You know how you always read that you should step away from your electronic devices one hour before bedtime but somehow never manage to do it? With my iPhone “off”, I really was able to drift off to sleep much quicker.
A Day Into My Digital Detox
At the 24-hour stage, I was feeling pretty good. My phone stayed off even when I went to run Saturday errands. It probably would’ve been best to leave it at home all together but should an actual emergency pop up, I wanted to have a phone available. A tad paranoid? Yes. I mean, people did exist before cellphones. I personally existed before cellphones. But, should some sort of emergency arise – I was sure I’d appreciate having my phone on me.
One thing that definitely struck me was how much more present I was in conversations. By not having my phone on, there was nothing competing for my attention and I was fully engaged in conversations. While driving, I realized just how addicted I am to streaming music through Bluetooth. It definitely felt ODD to step away from my perfectly curated playlists to listen to the radio. I mean, who honestly listens to the radio anymore? I sure don’t…that is, until I was forced to because of my self-inflicted digital detox.
36 Hours into My Digital Detox
Sunday is usually my day for cooking and it did feel strange not to scroll Pinterest and take screenshots in compiling my shopping list and following recipes. It was also very strange not to have checked email…at all. I manage a personal and two work email accounts…and it felt completely unnatural to not check them periodically through the day.
I suppose that’s a negative thing though – to be checking your work emails during non-work hours. Pretty sure most would advise against that but I thrive on work and feel out of place when I’m totally cut off. Then again, it was actually kind of nice to focus my personal time strictly on being personal time.
48 Hours into My Digital Detox
When the 48-hour mark arrived, I honestly wasn’t in a rush to turn my phone back on. By that point, I had successfully separated myself from constantly looking at my phone and was enjoying my weekend more than I had in a really long time. Turning the phone back on felt like stepping back to reality and I just wasn’t quite ready to.
I toyed with the idea of leaving my phone of through Monday morning, but since I use it as an alarm knew I would have to turn it on before then. Of course, when I did turn the phone on I was welcomed by mass notifications from email and social media that at first made me take a big gulp like *OH Crap am I behind*. Then, I was really quick at picking out what was important and discarded the rest.
My digital detox helped me better frame what information was essential to know and what wasn’t. Since I’m so accustom to absorbing way too much information everyday – this was a definite improvement from my standard approach. No, you don’t have to read every word of every email and no you don’t need to read every single social media notification that comes your way. Sometimes, it’s better to just let it go…right?
Overall, What Did my 48-Hour Digital Detox Teach Me?
I feel kind of silly looking for the teachable moments in a digital detox. That sounds so Jr. High to me, right? Like I should be writing an essay with a formal introduction, three well-thought examples and a conclusion.
Truth is, my digital detox showed me that I’m not as attached to the constant stream of information as I thought I was. Going into the weekend, I thought for sure I’d be itching to cheat and check my email/social media or have a sneaky browse of the news. But in reality? I just didn’t care. My phone was starting to feel less like my best friend and more like a burden that constantly got in the way. Without my phone, I enjoyed the most relaxing weekend in a long time and actually felt rested and invigorated. On Sunday evening, the Monday Blues usually set in…but my digital detox helped curb those feelings and I found myself looking forward to the start of a fresh new week.
While it’s definitely unrealistic to say I’ll be conducting a digital detox every single weekend, I think I will aim to do so once a month. Give myself two days away from everything where I can truly be in the moment and focus on thoroughly enjoying my weekend. Sure, I run the risk of not knowing about a world crisis at the exact moment or being somewhat behind on work related news when I head into the office on Monday, but in the end…does that really matter?
If you’ve taken a digital detox recently, please let me know how it went for you! I’m curious if others found it pretty easy to step away from it all or if you found yourself cheating and desperate to check your phone.
Whether you’re interested in taking a digital detox or not, I think the big lesson is to be more present in our daily lives. If a digital detox is too much, at least take steps like leaving your phone in your purse so you’re not constantly checking it…or limit yourself to only using your phone for true “phone” related tasks.
As always, thanks so much for reading! I hope you got something out of this post and it inspires you to try living in the moment a little bit more.
As always, stay stylish and keep chasing your dreams!