04 Mar 10 Thoughts Everyone Has During a Digital Detox
We often share thought-provoking research around digital addiction, our top tips for unplugging and how switching off can benefit your lifestyle, from your sleep, to your attention span. This time, we thought we’d lighten things up and describe the ten phases you experience during a digital detox – especially when it’s your first time going analogue. While our list is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, you’ll find it’s entirely relatable if you give unplugging a go!
We’re obsessed with our screens which means that digital detox isn’t easy – you’ll soon realise quite how reliant you are on your smartphone. Yet, the later stages will highlight that it’s 100% worth making the time to switch off from screens on a regular basis.
As you start your digital detox
#1 You’ll think digital detox is easy
You’ll probably start by wondering what all the fuss about. Surely, it’s not that difficult to switch off your phone for a while?
#2 You’ll think you’ll be bored
Even if you think you can go cold turkey, you’ll anticipate feeling bored without your connection to the internet. “How will I watch Netflix?” “Does Snapchat count?”
#3 You’ll reach for your phone (multiple times)
“Let me just check my phone… Oh.” You’ll start to realise how often you subconsciously reach for your phone, even when you don’t have a message or hear it chime.
#4 You’ll experience FOMO
Now you’ve settled into your digital detox and a little while has passed, you’ll start to experience FOMO – the fear of missing out. You’ll be anxious that your friends will think you’re rude for not replying instantly or that you won’t be kept ‘in the loop’ with what’s happening on social media and the news.
Later stages of your digital detox
#5 You’ll self-reflect
After removing screens from your life for a few hours, you’ll find yourself with a heap of free time. You’ll reflect on how everyday tasks and chores normally take longer as you check your phone along the way. No one likes doing the ironing, so why are we making it last longer!?
#6 You’ll realise you’re tuned in to people, not devices
Without your phone to distract you, you’ll experience feeling present and enjoy richer conversations. You’ll notice how your attention is 100% focused on the people you spend time with, rather than split between them and the screen in your hand. You’ll remember the importance of eye-contact and how to be a good listener. And you’ll probably feel a little guilty about ‘phubbing’ (phone snubbing) your loved ones in the past.
#7 You’ll get loads done
After twiddling your thumbs for a while, you’ll crack on with the day’s activities, tasks and chores and be impressed at how quickly you work through your list. You’ll even get onto those jobs you’ve been putting off for weeks, like cleaning out your wardrobe, or re-organising the kitchen cupboards. And after all the necessities are over with, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy some self care or get outdoors. Why not light a few candles, jump in the bath and properly unwind? There will be zero chance of dropping your phone in the tub!
#8 You’ll ask yourself “Do I really have to turn my phone back on?”
As your digital detox draws to a close, you’ll realise how much you enjoyed having a break from checking your emails and the pressure to reply to messages almost immediately. (You don’t have to, by the way!) A part of you might wish to escape from the online world for a little longer…
Post digital detox
#9 You’ll find you’ve missed nothing
And once you do switch your phone back on, you’ll soon realise you’ve missed nothing! There has been no apocalypse during the couple of hours you decided to log off and no one is annoyed you took a little longer to get back to them. Cue sigh of relief.
#10 You’ll realise your hiatus from the digital world was, in fact, total bliss!
When you reflect on your offline experience, you’ll realise that a short break from the noise of the online world is restorative. You’ll gain perspective, feel recharged and be buoyed up by how productive you’ve been.
Most of us are guilty of spending too much time online and could do with a gentle nudge to remember #9 and #10 on this list. Find a better balance with your devices and remember how to be productive and feel fulfilled!