Friday 4 August 2017

What I Learnt From a Digital Detox

So when I went on holiday between Friday 21st and Friday 28th of July and I decided to have a digital detox. A whole week without social media, internet or emails. I wanted to have a break from it all. Don't get me wrong, I adore the internet, social media and blogging, but sometimes it can all get a bit too much. 

I love social media, but sometimes it can really fog up your brain. Having a constant stream of news is very helpful, but it can also be a hindrance. Within seconds you can be aware of the latest news and events happening worldwide. Although helpful, it can be tiring. Our brains struggle to rest in a technology obsessed 24/7 society. 

The first thing I do in the morning is to check my phone, the last thing I do at night is checking my phone. Within that time, my phone is never far from my side. Before long my brain is swimming in notifications and hundreds of emails. Which is why I wanted a break from it all. To give my brain a rest. I thought of no better time than when I'm on holiday in the beautiful Lake District.  

So the first couple of days, it was hard to resist the temptation. Friday was mainly filled with travelling and unpacking, meaning there wasn't much time left for relaxing and browsing the web. However, late evening I did find myself reaching for my phone a couple of times but I resisted. Instead, I read my book. This is something I always complain I don't have enough time to do. The reality is, I do, I'm just too busy exercising my thumbs. 

One of the first things I noticed was that by not staring into a screen for 90% of my day I became more aware of my surroundings. A clear example of this is on Friday evening we listened to the John Williams concert at the BBC proms. During the Harry Potter songs a owl landed outside our window in the garden. This was such a magical moment, one that would have surely been missed if I had my head stuck in my phone. 

Talking of magical moments, by not spending all my time on social media, I got to spend a lot more time with my family. In our normal day to day working life's we don't get to do this very often. So actually having proper conversations and laughing together made a very pleasant change. We actually got to sit outside and play card games in the sun at one point. Things like that just don't happen at home. 

Half way through the week I started having dreams about emails and Twitter. Despite any urges to go on the internet while I was awake, had disappeared. I can't really remember much about the dreams expect I think I had a lot of emails to answer.

A fear of missing out was a strong worry for me at the beginning of the week but I soon realised that the world keeps on spinning, even if I haven't tweeted, posted an Instagram or checked Facebook in a week. In fact by having a break from the likes of Instagram, I had more time to concentrate on taking great shots for my profile, to upload when I got back. 

I had an intense fear throughout the week that I would come back to 0 followers or something would have gone terribly wrong with either my blog or Beautiful Minds but I knew the likelihood of this happening was slim. Even if I did loose followers, it's okay because I put myself first for once in my life and that's what matters.

For once, in a very long time my holiday felt like a holiday. I never ever take time off for myself. I'm always working and even when I'm suppose to on a day off I still find myself checking and responding to business emails. It's a nonstop. However, by taking this much needed social media break, my brain feels refreshed and buzzing to get back to work again. 

By taking this digital detox I witnessed first hand just how much time I waste on social media and how much I can actually fit into a day if I wasn't to stare at a screen for so much of it. We went on trains, boats and mini buses across the Lake District, Yorkshire and Scotland. We visited the highest points, the most dangerous passes and stunning lakes amongst other things. I got to take in all the breathtaking scenery and remember it because I was really there in the moment. 

Also you don't realise how much you charge your phone everyday until you don't hardly touch it and it doesn't need charging for a couple of days. It felt surreal not charging it every few hours because that's what I'm used too. 

I've really enjoyed this experience. It's been eyeopening and made the thought of doing it again, even just for a weekend, a lot less daunting. By the end of the holiday I was looking forward to getting back on social media, catching up with everyone because I truly missed speaking to some of my closest friends every single day. 

At the start of the holiday I didn't think I would be able to go a day without Internet let alone a whole week, but I did and I couldn't be prouder of myself. My mental health really benefited from this digital detox so I will definitely be doing it again. I truly recommend everyone giving it a go. 

Have you ever been on a digital detox before or would you ever consider going on one? Let me know in the comments below 

Thank you for reading, as always X

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