A couple of Thursdays ago during lunch with girlfriends, I challenged a couple of them to a digital detox.
After I explained what it entailed and after they accepted the challenge, I attempted to postpone it for a couple of weeks.
No, they said. Let’s start this weekend.
No, I said. I’m not ready to start this weekend.
So there I was chickening out after I was the one who so boldly challenged them.
What was I so hesitant about?
Well, I was inspired to do this digital detox in the first place after listening to an episode of the Straight & Curly podcast. The rules of the digital detox, as explained by the Straight & Curly hosts, went like this:
The whole point of the digital detox is about getting offline, being present and not being as contactable. All things I figured would be good for someone like me whose phone might as well be attached to my hand. Besides, it was only for 48 hours. Surely I’d be able to handle 48 hours.
The problem was that I felt like I needed more time to prepare. And yes, I probably should have waited to challenge my friends until I actually was prepared.
We ended lunch with the agreement to start that weekend but in my head I was going to still try talking my way out of it. As my luck would have it, life got in the way and I never got around to talking my way out of anything. In fact, I didn’t even think about it again until I got the following text at 9:15pm sharp Friday evening from my fellow detoxee:
My heart began to race and my palms started to feel sweaty for a second. I didn’t even warn anyone that I was doing this. What if someone tried to reach me via text? What would they think when I didn’t answer? (If it was my BFF she would probably think it was normal.) After hemming and hawing for a few minutes and after some encouragement from my 8 year old, I finally decided not to fight it and just take the plunge.
It took a little bit of getting used to at first as I soon realized just how dependent I was on my phone. No surprise there. What did surprise me was how quickly I actually got used to using my smart phone just as a regular phone.
Let me take a moment here though to admit that I modified Digital Detox Rule #3 which states that you can only use your phone only as a land line at home. I was out of the house for most of Saturday morning and early afternoon. What if my kids needed to reach me? What if I needed to reach them? In the end, I only made one phone call while I was outside the house so it wasn’t a major cheat.
Besides this one call that I made, I didn’t use my phone the entire time I was out. When I got back home, I left it in the deep recesses of my purse and it stayed there for the remainder of the day. On the final 24 hours of the detox, I did listen to Spotify but since my playlists have been downloaded does that still count as a cheat?
Before I knew it, I had reached the end of my digital moratorium. At 9:15pm on Sunday evening, I patted myself on the back. I survived 2 days without the internet, without social media, without my phone attached to my hand. And I have to say, it was absolutely freeing.
What I enjoyed about the digital detox:
What I didn’t like about the digital detox:
Did I enjoy the digital detox? It had its good points. Would I do it again? Never again in this lifetime.
It wasn’t a complete waste of my time though. It served as a reminder that disconnecting myself is beneficial for my overall happiness. And even though I would never do it again, I probably will be more mindful about giving myself some unplugged time on a daily basis.
Would you be able to survive a digital detox?