I Survived A Digital Detox

I Survived A Digital Detox

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:

  1. Go for an entire weekend without your phone or the internet. From 9:15pm on Friday (local time) to 9:15pm the following Sunday, no phone, no internet.
  2. If you have safety reasons for leaving your phone on (i.e. you have young children or elderly parents who might need to contact you), the rule is that you can use your phone as a land line so if it rings and you’re at home, you can answer it. But no texting, emailing, or social media-ing on your phone.
  3. If you make plans, you need to make them in advance and tell your friends if they want to contact you they have to call you.
  4. You can only call people if you’re at home. Just like a landline phone.

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:

“It’s time.”

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:

  • I was free to do other things like reading and writing without any distractions. Social media distractions, that is. Trust that my youngest child distracted me plenty of times.
  • Being emancipated from my phone actually cleared my head of a bunch of stuff. And that was just plain nice.
  • I curbed my unhealthy urge to get on social media. I experienced n0 FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and think I had a bit of JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out).

What I didn’t like about the digital detox:

  • That initial feeling of not being able to text people back. Because I wasn’t prepared I didn’t get to warn people that if they wanted to communicate with me, they’d have to actually call me.
  • No instant access to information. No ability to use a good old Google search when something popped into my head that I needed more information on immediately.
  • No access to the tools I’ve used to make my life easier (Google maps, Waze, Cozi).
  • When it was over, there were too many emails to respond to.

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? 

  • Hailey says:

    In my head I love this idea, but I’m not sure I could actually do it! I’m proud that you made it all the way through! It’s amazing how much we’ve grown to depend on these little devices. I lose my mind if I don’t have enough signal for gps to work, and then remember that not so long ago (family vacations as a kid) we could pull a map out of the console and find our way around!

  • Our Irish Family says:

    This sounds like something I need to complete. I am awful, I always look at my phone and like you state it may as well be attached to my hand. I’m glad you found it enjoyable.

  • Inez says:

    “Never again in this lifetime”. Hahahaha. That’s too funny. Sounds like a great experience, though! I make it a point to intentionally unplug on a regular basis. Hopefully, this way, i can avoid a detox!

  • Liz says:

    I love this. And I love your honesty. It’s a great idea to try.

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I’m a happiness-seeker and a self-improvement junkie who admits to sometimes indulging in a bit of navel-gazing but also engages in behavior motivated purely by altruism. Follow along with me and together we’ll find your path to happy one smile at a time.

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