Have you ever thought about how much time you spend each day scrolling through social media platforms? I have this habit of checking my phone every time I’m not distracted by something else. My home screen is littered with notifications constantly. At any one time, I have 5+ Facebook group chats, Twitter/Instagram notifications, Pinterest and messages, not to mention the Countless Whatsapp conversations on the go. It’s overwhelming and never-ending. I almost feel like responding to everyone in an enthusiastic and timely manner, is like ticking off a to do list that’s getting longer each day. It shouldn’t be like that. No wonder we are all so bloody tired and frazzled!
You’ve probably experienced this at some point when you’re chilling or on a night out with your mates. Everyone’s social and chatty then all of a sudden everyone has a “phone break”, looking down and checking their phone. When one person does it then everyone follows. When you’re not someone who does that then it must feel pretty strange. And I sound so old saying this…. but I remember what it was like before mobile phones. Even before the Nokia 6310, droves of people entranced by that snake game (including me). But before phones, I used to want to draw and paint. These days I could quite happily scroll through absolute meaningless rubbish, while my oil paints sit deserted in the cupboard gathering dust.
I decided I needed to take back some of the time social media has stolen from me and give myself a little Digi-cation.
- I took the first step and removed Facebook and facebook messenger from my phone.
- I kept my phone face down or out of sight
- If I was out my phone stayed in my bag and not on a table.
- Even app update notifications can feel like admin, so I looked through my list of installed apps and uninstalled any I hadn’t used in the last month.
- I set my phone to silent for notifications. I used to have my notifications set to vibrate, I was a slave to that phone. I would pick it up every time it buzzed no matter who I was with, the temptation was too much but I can honestly say it was never anything super important 🙈 I only kept my phone on vibrate for messages and calls.
- It’s ok to leave an event group when the event has been and gone. Yes, you might miss out on pure comedy gold but we all know how chatty WhatsApp groups can get. Just wait until everyone puts the aftermath of photos up then get outta there.
During my digital detox, I had a few FOMO/What do I do now moments and picked up my phone expecting to find a load of distractions to entertain me. I felt pretty stupid when I did this, it really put things into perspective for me and made me realize just how much I rely on that bloody phone for, well, can I even call it entertainment? I feel like the scrolling culture has taken away our ability to just be content with our thoughts and reflect.
What my Digi detox did for me.
A whole lot actually! I started thinking FOR MYSELF and having new ideas. Material stuff didn’t seem so appealing now that I wasn’t being force fed ads that manipulated my way of thinking. Before I wanted that eye pallet because that other person has it, now it wasn’t so appealing.
I started reading again. Reading is something I love, I don’t often make an effort to do it anymore as it’s far easier to mindlessly scroll. Putting the phone out of sight freed up a good hour at bedtime where I could read before bed and really relax my mind.
Leading me to the next benefit, I slept better! Staring at screens before bed can keep you awake. Before we sleep, our brains naturally release melatonin, which allows us to relax and nod off but by staring at a screen, your brain feels like it needs to stay awake.
I got shit DONE. I focused on myself more and less on other people. I could go from A – Z with a task without interruptions and distractions.
I’m feeling pretty good about my digital detox and will definitely make this a regular thing, I just can’t bring myself to reinstall Facebook on my phone again so I’ve made that a permanent thing 🙂
Are you planning a digital detox?