Digital Detox: why you need one & how to do it

all about you Oct 01, 2021

My first digital detox was in 2014, a few months after I diagnosed myself as a social media / smartphone addict.

I'd heard my husband and eldest daughter complain that I wasn't fully present. That I was permanently attached to my phone whenever I wasn't working.

I'd pick it up constantly.

I was always scrolling.

The last thing I did at night, the first thing I did in the morning was scroll my drugs of choice - Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

It was a horrible way to live. For me. For my husband. For our kids.

I knew it wasn't healthy but couldn't stop myself.

As I'm an "all or nothing" person I decided to go cold turkey whilst on a family holiday to France in August of 2014.

I switched the WiFi and mobile data off on my phone as I boarded the plane in London. And I didn't switch it back on until I got back home over 2 weeks later.

I did a complete digital detox.

And I learnt so much about myself. About this dirty habit. About the life I wanted, for myself, my marriage and my family.

I'm still an addict, which for someone who runs an online business isn't great ;-) but these days I know how to control it better.

I have ZERO notifications on my phone.

I have no social media on my phone (except LinkedIn which I don't really class as social media), and in fact I no longer use Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Every day at 7pm I switch the internet off on my phone and close the door to my home office where my computer lives.

And when I go on holiday I do a full digital detox, because these days WhatsApp groups are doing their best to lure me back into bad habits.

In August my family and I went away for our first break in a year. We now live in Mauritius and we booked a 2 week break amidst the most glorious nature that this beautiful island has to offer, and I knew I wanted to soak up every minute of it.

So as we bundled into the car I switched the WiFi and mobile data off on my phone and took in the scenery as we crossed the island.

As always my digital detox was heaven.

I didn't know what was happening in the world, and allowed myself not to care.

I knew if there was anything major that 14 year old Léna or Ben would be sure to let me know.

Whilst our holiday didn't exactly go according to plan I still loved my digital detox, and the complete switch off of everything.

I didn't get round to playing many of the family games we'd bought for the holiday. I certainly didn't start sketching again as I had hoped to.

BUT I did the one thing that makes my heart sing.

I read.

And read. And read.

Nothing taxing. Pure escapism fiction.

I got books from the local library and bought secondhand books from the charity shop (which I then donated to the local library after reading).

In our 2 weeks away I read all the books that you can see in the photo, and it was GLORIOUS.

I have already blogged about how reading saved me from my social media addiction, but it's more than that.

It takes me back to a feeling, to a time in my life when I was able to read for pleasure, to lose myself in a good book, and it is the best stress relief for me.

So do YOU need a digital detox?

Does any of the above sound familiar? How much time do you spend on your phone or other devices? Do friends or family members make comments about how you are always on your phone / tablet / computer?

Has reading this blog post made you feel uncomfortable as it's hitting too close to home?

Does the thought of switching off make you feel twitchy? Afraid? Unhappy? Uncomfortable? Anxious?

If you are answering YES to these questions then it is probably time for you to switch off.

And do you want to know one of the BIGGEST and BEST benefits of a digital detox?

Your feelings of overwhelm drastically reduce. And I know that overwhelm is a BIG deal for lots of you because my cheat sheet to overcoming overwhelm is the most downloaded out of all the freebies I offer.

How good would it be not to feel so stressed and overwhelmed all the time?

Pretty bloody good I can tell you!

Now we have established that you could do with switching off, so the next question is...

How do you do a digital detox?

There are two ways depending on what kind of a person you are and what works best for you.

  1. Cold Turkey
  2. Bit by bit

As I am an all or nothing person I have to go cold turkey so I switch everything off and allow myself no exceptions.

I also find it works best over a period of time.

A holiday for example or at least a weekend.

What I do is take the temptation away. I remove apps from my phone and I switch the internet off completely.

That might be too much for you.

In which case go for bit by bit. Here are some things you can do:

  • move certain apps to a later screen on your phone, and put them in a box so they're harder to access
  • remove the biggest time-suck apps from your phone completely
  • get into the habit of switching the internet off on your phone / switching other devices off 1 hour before you go to bed, then slowly make that time longer until you're switching off around dinnertime
  • see how long you can resist before switching your phone / devices on in the morning
  • ban phones and other devices from the bedroom, or if you need it there for emergency calls make sure it's not on your bedside table (mine goes into the wardrobe overnight)
  • book in a "no screens" day at the weekend, plan in advance what you are going to do instead, and let people know if you are worried about being uncontactable
  • gradually build all of these things up and book in fun things in the time you save

What are the benefits of a digital detox?

The key ones for me are:

  1. Longer, more restful sleep
  2. Less stress
  3. Reduced feelings of overwhelm
  4. More time for me (for doing the things I love like reading)
  5. More time for my husband, kids and friends
  6. Generally feeling happier

So what do you think?

Are you ready to switch off?

You can't share your thoughts with me on this on social media as I'm not there, but feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn (just look for my name). I'd love to know if you try this out and how you get on :-)

Look after yourself lovely, life can be so amazing if we let it...

Big love,
Sophie xx



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