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Camille Styles

Life Lessons

Do You Need a Digital Detox?

February 24th, 2016

pretty workspace inspiration

Gluten detox? Check. Skincare detox? Done it. Digital detox? Hmmm… I’m gonna need to get back to you on that one. The other day I was at dinner with a wise friend who also happens to be a nurse, and I confided that I’ve been having some issues with insomnia lately (should that be a post?) We talked about the detrimental effects of screen time on our sleep patterns, and she asked me how long it had been since I’d detoxed from all my devices for at least a couple days. After thinking about it for a few minutes, I realized that the last time I turned off my phone for more than a few hours was on my honeymoon 6 years and 2 babies ago. I couldn’t believe it, and it got me wondering if I’m long overdue for a break. I’ve gotten so used to having instant info at my fingertips at all times that answering pings from incoming emails, scrolling through my Instagram feed, and being constantly on-call are behaviors that have become second nature. Have any of you taken a digital detox, and if so — how was it? Did you go through withdrawals… and was it a positive thing in the end? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments, and in preparation for my own time offline when we go to Miami in a couple weeks, I’ve been logging some advice from the experts. Below are 5 tips I’ll be implementing…

pretty hammock with fringe

  1. Discover what you hope to get out of your digital detox. Is your goal stress-relief, undistracted time with your family/friends, an opportunity to think and reset, improved sleep, or a break from all the hurry of daily life? Determine your priorities, then make plans accordingly. When your day involves hanging out with people you love, cooking a great meal, reading a book, going for a walk, or taking a trip somewhere new, it makes it much less likely that you’re going to be wishing you were scrolling through Instagram.
  2. Do some advance prep. Since the goal is to avoid as much anxiety as possible while on your digital detox, set expectations by letting people know that you’re going to be offline and unavailable. You can also provide a use-only-in-case-of-emergency number, which may help you resist the urge to check “just in case.”
  3. Be ready for withdrawals. I’ve heard that symptoms may include boredom, anxiety, or just a strong urge to look at your phone. Hang in there and resist the temptation; after a few hours, the feelings should subside and you can actually start to enjoy the feeling of not being connected.
  4. Embrace missing out. Instead of giving in to FOMO, why not allow yourself to actually enjoy missing out on the requests and demands of others, especially since when you do plug in again, you most likely won’t have missed out on anything significant at all. Unplugging allows you to set your own schedule and be the author of your own thoughts – which sounds pretty damn awesome to me.
  5. Make friends with boredom. Most of us have become so unaccustomed to ever having a lull in our schedules that we haven’t had a moment of boredom in ages. But did you know that having quiet time — walking down the street and engaging with what’s around us without looking at our phones; eating a meal and savoring the our food without needing any kind of digital distraction — can be one of the greatest opportunity for creative thinking or key epiphanies? Try letting your mind wander and just watch where it takes you.

gorgeous brass bathtub faucet with chanel

I’ve got to admit that the idea of unplugging seems a little scary… and even a tad irresponsible? I mean, my entire career lives squarely in the digital space, and I also feel the need to be on call in case my kids need me, so a part of me feels like it’s just not doable to take a digital detox regularly. But there’s also a part of me that wonders if the fact that it’s so difficult for me to disconnect is also the reason why it’s so crucial that I find a way to do it. We’ll soon see! My 3 1/2 day experiment kicks off in a couple weeks when we hop a flight with a few friends for a weekend trip to Miami. The idea of soaking up the sun, listening to the waves crash, and burying myself in a great read without any iPhone interruptions sounds positively blissful right now — I’ll let you know how it goes post-trip.

*images: park & cubemy paradise, faucet

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19 Comments under :: Do You Need a Digital Detox?
  1. FORM 42 says:

    The first image is actually by a blogger Park & Cube, and doesn’t seem to be credited on the wrist you got it from.

    • Thanks so much — just updated the credit!

    • Shanti says:

      To be perfectly honest, I have always resented the fact that we are expected to be available to all and sundry, whether they be family, friends or business bods, at all times of the day and night. I’m not one of the “grab the phone as soon as the eyes open” mob, and never will be! I love my friends on Facebook, and appreciate that I can stay in touch through this medium, but I think it can take over our lives if we let it! I’ve had the experience of sitting down with the intention of checking into FB for half an hour – and 3 hours later…….yep! it’s a time thief! I sometimes wonder whether the need to be connected all the time is not so much a FOMO, but a deep seated desire to be needed – perhaps we all need to meditate on that and see what comes up, deal with it and get on with our lives as happier more balanced people!

  2. Meliza Joyce says:

    I never thought of doing a digital detox… I almost feel like it’s impossible especially if you know there’s certain people you need to contact who aren’t always at arms length to speak with (aka in another state) but I’m sure this is possible, especially if it’s only for a few days. I’m probably guilty of always being on my phone and reading this post made me rethink about just how often I am. I definitely like how you highlighted to make sure you know what you’re trying to accomplish or get out of the detox, and to assess priorities to plan accordingly. It would definitely help to be as prepared as possible to get the full effect of the detox.

    I really like this idea and am definitely considering it! Great post!

    Xo, Meliza Joyce

  3. La says:

    What about doing a detox on your phone that includes shutting off all alerts, feeds and email accounts and just leave your phone on so that it serves the purpose it was initially designed for….just being a phone. You could use the do not disturb function to avoid texts and only have phone calls from designated people. That way you are still available for child related emergencies but aren’t tempted to look at emails, instagrams, texts etc etc. I do it on the weekends and it’s fantastic, leaves me feeling refreshed and ready for work on Monday morning.

  4. Aimee says:

    I recently came across a new term that I love, JOMO: JOY of missing out. Focusing on your me-time, or quality time with your family/significant other.

    Aimee
    http://www.intherightplaces.com

  5. chic or geek says:

    As someone who reaches for her phone the second I wake up, and stays on it well past lights out at night, I’m deeply in need of a digital detox. Thank you for sharing these tips!

  6. krangara says:

    Good Luck, Camille!!

    I am on a social media detox right now.

    Although I do miss learning from, sharing with, and venting to my ah-mazing friends on Facebook, I don’t miss having my fingers on the ‘Share’ button at all times 😉

    Kit

  7. Annarica says:

    I started a digi-detox in January and have now re-set myself from slave to master status and what a difference it has made. I now check emails, im’s (whatsapp etc) in fact all communications twice a day unless I am expecting something urgent. I also screen calls. This has allowed me to de-stress and free up so much time to read, do hobbies – and I think the best of all, spend time with myself and my thoughts which has released immense creativity again. For me, the greatest lesson was that being always “tuned in and turned on” (well, not quite in the hippie hallucinogenic way of that old saying by Timothy Leary ;)….) was definitely no longer a leisure activity but a “have to do” before I could relax. So, “dropping out” (once again ty Timothy!) is fabulous!

    Oh, but prepare for resistance and possible downright anarchy from family, friends and colleagues!

  8. Pam says:

    I’m old enough to squarely remember life before the digital age…when you went to the library to look something up, when you had to hold a thought in your mind until you saw your friend the next day, and when you sat around the house all day waiting for a long distance call. A few of things I don’t miss but I personally feel like my day gets frittered away with checking media, reading online articles, etc and it never feels like I get much done. I personally think it’s made our society less productive in a lot of ways and it also feels a little icky to me. I’ve done and survived! Go for it!

  9. Page says:

    I don’t text and I only have a flip phone that I pay by the minutes that are used. I see everyone with their head down poring over their phones/texts/alerts/emails/images…etc.etc.etc. and wonder about their lack of REAL connectivity.

    I was with a group of women for a weekend and asked how they felt about their ‘smart’ phones. Over half said they wish they had never gotten into them! So, when I suggested they just get a flip phone for (gasp!) phone calls… they were shocked. They admitted it would be like withdrawal.

    I like the suggestion of one person above who said turn off all but the phone and edit who can call you. Then…. look up, breath and make eye contact, rather than digital contact: it’s so much more rewarding!

  10. Sue says:

    Great ideas, I really hate the fact that we don’t see to be able to even watch a film at home without someone picking up their phone and becoming absorbed with whilst missing funny comments or scenes happening in film. I have been known to hit the pause button and wait until someone notices…sometimes takes awhile. Last May I went on a cruise for two weeks, no Internet & only intermittent phone usage, Bliss didn’t miss anything.

  11. I think this is such a fabulous idea. I’m a freelancer, and I often get asked by my clients if it’s not too much trouble to check on work whilst I’m on holiday but I make a point of flat out refusing. I think it’s so unhealthy to be tied to your phone even when you’re supposed to be getting a break. I definitely haven’t ever gone a full day without it, but I relish in the times when I’m on holiday that I have no internet access, or I leave my phone in my room and just enjoy some pure relaxation. I think the most important thing to realise is that the world will wait, and if it doesn’t, you’ll soon forget whatever it was that you missed out on 🙂

  12. Brillant article! I really enjoyed reading this, and now a new avid reader of your blog! Have bookmarked your site as I love your writing and the articles you share 🙂 This is such a fabulous idea and definitely something I think everyone should go through

  13. toktassarna says:

    My summer cottage has no access to internet or phone what so ever. Have to walk almost two miles before my phone connects. So I do a detox every summer, a quick check when going to the store but that’s like once a week. Reading books, listening to the radio and just sitting on the front porch watching the grass grow and the paint dry 🙂

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