Digital Detox: Pros and Cons
A month ago I decided to go on a digital detox whilst on our 2 week family holiday to France. I have blogged before about my addiction to my smartphone but I really felt that I needed a break this time. A break from blogging. A break from social media. A break from emails. A break from the on-on-on-ness of the internet.
I switched everything off on my phone – even Instagram, and I kept it that way for 2 whole weeks.
So what are the pros and cons of a digital detox? And could you do it?
- You have so much more time. Reading and replying to emails takes up enough time on its own, add to that the vortex that is social media and I used to lose whole evenings to random chats on Twitter.
- You take in what’s going on around you. When your head is down in your phone, catching up on the latest gossip online, you miss out on magic moments with your kids.
- You are less stressed. Because you don’t know what’s going on in the world, you can’t get upset by the news. Because you haven’t received a demanding email from a client you can’t freak out. Because you haven’t read a rude comment on social media you can’t get worked up. You relax and you stop stressing.
- You revive old hobbies. I used to be a massive book worm and then social media got in the way, with entire evenings spent online. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media, and I’ve made some incredible friends through blogging and Twitter, but it needs to be in moderation. Whilst on holiday I read 7 books in 2 weeks. And it was heaven.
- You’re more fun to be around. It wasn’t until I was off my phone that I realised how bloody anti-social it all is. I was convinced that I didn’t check it much (and in all honesty I’m not that bad, as I don’t go online whilst working) but I used to check my phone at the dinner table, or when out with friends, which I see now is just so rude.
- You see things more clearly. Being switched off and spending time in the moment helps you to be clearer on what you want out of life, to take big decisions, and to set yourself goals.
Now, that is all wonderful but is a digital detox all sweetness and light? Here’s the downside…..
- You know nothing. There is something very depressing about no longer knowing what is going on with people. Most of my friends now use social media to share engagements, wedding photos, pregnancies and baby pics. I HATED not seeing all this.
- Coming back is hard work. When you switch off for 2 weeks it is bliss. But when you come back to your email inbox it can be depressing to see all those unread emails that you need to deal with.
- You miss out on things. Whilst on holiday I got an email saying I’d won something, I needed to confirm my address before a certain date or they would move on to the next winner. Needless to say I missed the deadline and didn’t get the only thing I’ve won in ages.
- It’s hard not to share. After being so into social media for such a long time it was really hard to take a photo and then not share it online, especially some of the fab ones that I got during our holiday.
Finally, do I recommend a digital detox?
ABSOLUTELY. In fact when we got back from our holiday it took me a long time to go back online. And since then I’ve been seriously limiting my social media time, just dipping in and out. And I’m loving the extra time I’ve got to spend with my family, and chill with a good book.
It may not work for you but it certainly did for me 🙂
I need to do this. I did a bit whilst on holiday but not totally. I am wondering if an e-mail auto reply might be useful to redirect important mail or let people know when you will reply?
Karen recently posted…Do you REALLY go to Starbucks to get a healthy drink?
I set up an email auto-reply on both personal and blogging emails whilst away, which helped give me peace of mind that people wouldn’t think they were being ignored. I cannot recommend a total holiday switch off enough, it was WONDERFUL!!
Good for you! I think it can be easy to spend far too much time online because it’s right there in the palm of your hand! The secret is in finding that happy balance somewhere inbetween all or nothing 🙂
(Mostly) Yummy Mummy recently posted…Great British Bank Holiday. Car picnic included.
Having done the full-on detox I’m now working on the happy balance, the good thing is that I feel less addicted now which helps to keep it in moderation.
Ahhh no instagram for 2 weeks! I didn’t have it for 2hours last night and was stressing! I do know what you mean though I try and keep off it when we have days out (try being the operative!) X
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I cut it out on a holiday last year and it was hard, but this holiday I just felt so ready to totally switch off. And funnily enough this time I didn’t miss it at all, in fact I’m finding it easier to be online in moderation since my detox. I did use to be massively addicted though so it’s been a long trawl to get here.
You are so brave Madame! Brilliant experiment that I really need to try. I have forgotten what reading a book is like!
Looks like you had a wonderful holiday!
I’m not sure brave is the word, but it just felt like something that I needed to do as I was reaching digital burn-out. It felt incredible and now I’m managing to just go online in moderation and I feel so much better for it. And the reading? Just bliss 🙂 And yes it was an amazing holiday! x
Such a good post! Like most people I have a love / hate relationship with social media.
Part of me loves it and really, where would us bloggers be without it?! But the other part of me hates it. I love how it has provided me with amazing opportunities and new friends, but hate that it takes over your life if you’re not careful and takes up so much time!
Like you, I had a break away from it – I managed a week – and since then I’m being much more choosy about how I spend my time on it. Great points and well done you on reading SO many books. I am SO envious! 🙂 x
Katie / Pouting In Heels recently posted…Ridiculously simple tips to improve your writing
I totally agree Katie – so many of my friends wouldn’t be in my life if it weren’t for social media and my blog would just be read by my mum! But I do find that it can take over your life as you say. Post my detox I’m moderating it and trying to make sure I’m not losing whole evenings to it anymore. And reading the books was just incredible – since coming home I’m managing to keep up with the reading too 🙂 Loving it! x
Well done you! I limited my social media time while we were on hols too – although I didn’t manage to go completely cold turkey. I do try to switch off from the social media world in the evenings to have some time with the husband – but I cringe when I think of all that I’ve been missing during the day while my head is cast downwards. One question though – how did you manage to read 7 books??? If I get five mins to myself when both the littles are around it’s unusual!
I loved the 100% off time, it really was paradise for me, and I never thought I’d say that. Since we’ve been back I’ve been “off” far more than ever and my phone usually has internet switched off on it by 7.30/8pm now too and I’m loving it. Whilst I love social media it’s on my terms now.
I managed to read 7 books as L was away with my MiL for 8 days so it was just Hubs, C and me, and C still naps 2 hours a day. On top of that C is pretty independent so she played a lot on her own while Hubs and I read. But really it’s down to Hubs wanting to spend lots of time with C – I’m with her all the time so really needed my break from her, whilst Hubs sees her far less usually so was keen to spend time with her, which meant I got me time and could read, read, read to my heart’s desire 🙂
So much socialising is done online these days, that it’s tough to step out for a while. I hate missing out on what my friends have been up to. But you’re right, a break is good for the soul – it can help you re-assess what’s important and what’s a load of old nonsense.
Nell@PigeonPairandMe recently posted…Summer snapshots
I hate missing out too, but I feel so much better having taken my big break, and now I’m loving just dipping in and out and using it in moderation.
I must admit there is a part of me that breathes a sign of relief when we stay somewhere with rubbish wifi! Its so hard to make the choice so it can be easier when its taken out your hands.
I bet 2 weeks was utter bliss, glad you had a fab hols and that photo is priceless! xx
Hurrah For Gin recently posted…Does Pinterest make you feel like a bad mum?
2 weeks “off” were sheer bliss, especially as I had announced in advance that I was doing it so I didn’t feel that people were expecting me to be available. I’m enjoying being less online now too, although I never thought I’d say that!
Adore this post and always switch everything off on holiday, even when we go away for a few days in the UK.
I actually spent time offline when we returned from Greece recently because I enjoyed it so much. I missed everyone but I loved having a digi detox.
Blogging is my job and being online is a huge part of that but it needs to be moderated and you are so right, it really frees up so much time when you’re not glued to your phone.
I, like you and Kate have returned back and am more selective about how much time I’m on there and making it count when I am so plugging my posts but then letting tweetdeck do the brunt of the PR with a bit a time for socialising as I love the social aspect of twitter and FB but I don’t want to spend my whole life online.
It’s hard finding a balance but I think it’s so important. It will make us all a lot happier!
There’ll be times this isn’t possible but on the whole I feel like I need to moderate myself now I’ve been away and that it’s achievable! Love this post x
Honest Mum recently posted…Tasty Tuesdays-a Taste of Halkidiki
Thank you lovely 🙂 I’m all about the moderation now too, so I’m going to be scheduling more and switching off again wherever I can. Hopefully I’ll manage to keep up with my lovely online friends without losing my life to Twitter and Facebook! Here’s hoping anyway…. x
I always switch off when I’m on holiday and then spend lots of time wondering what everyone’s up to. But it’s great to focus on family & books & just being yourself some of the time and such a welcome change after all that time spent online.
Well done for staying offline for an entire fortnight!
Izzie Anderton recently posted…Birthday Season
In the end it was easier than I thought to switch off and stay switched off – I amazed myself! I thought I might fall into the “what’s everyone doing?” but I really didn’t, I’m attempting moderation now, but we’ll see….
What a great post! I am so with you on all of these things. I have to say that I have spent less time on social media over the last month or so and it has really helped me put some time management in place.
I’m actually finding it a struggle to get back into the online world since my digital detox – I think I enjoyed being switched off more than I thought!
I actually did this last August not our of choice but I just really got sad and the lure of the internet is gone. I am slowly getting back as well but not as much as I am active before. #brillblogposts
I found that as well, the lure is just not what it once was, sometimes I miss it but I am enjoying being curled up with a good book of an evening rather than on my phone.
I really need to do this. I try and keep my phone upstairs charging for set periods in the day to just have pure family time but I’m terrible! Really need to take a proper digital detox, maybe leaving phone at home and going abroad is the only option! Thanks for a fab post 🙂
Kohl Mama recently posted…Milestones That Matter
It was such an amazing experience! It took me a long time to get back into using my phone again and going back online, but sadly I’m slipping back into bad habits again, so maybe it’s time for another detox…..