Sometimes, the best way to recharge is to unplug.
-- Chris Butler
At the beginning of this year I decided to do a digital detox. Sounds pretty funny, huh? Here I am, writing this blog weekly, which is clearly online, but talking about the idea of doing a digital detox. The idea seemed much more complex to me. Prior to the Covid quarantine, I did counseling in person and suddenly Covid threw me into doing telehealth counseling. I suddenly found myself either on the phone or on the computer facing people on zoom. There was clearly a lack of human contact, a loss of personal connection, a loss of chemistry, and by the time I got home at night, I no longer had a desire to make phone calls to friends or family. Those I did speak to would ask me about ever conceivable Netflix series and whether I had seen it. For some people, the escape might be to television or the computer. I knew for me, the best idea would be to limit the amount of time I spent on the computer. It was not a perfect science. My job requires me to be on the computer for a certain amount of time per day. I need to check emails. I need to make phone calls. Becoming more conscious about how much time I spend facing the blue screen was certainly eye-opening. I found myself checking Facebook to see how others were doing until right before I went to bed and losing myself in some Netflix. I found that it was clearly impacting my sleep and even my eating habits. The later I stayed up, the more I might snack. I needed to build healthier boundaries into my life. I needed LESS technology in my life. In January I finally made the decision. The funniest part of it all is that I don’t miss Facebook at all. I find that I am checking in with my friends more by phone since I am not seeing their one line status on Facebook. I joined a gym and I am there as often as I can get there and I admit that this beautiful weather is making me want to enjoy getting out even more. Young people often talk about FOMO that “fear of missing out.” I realize for the first time in a very long time, I am not worried about missing out on anything at all. So I walk away from my phone, turn off the TV, shut down the computer as soon as I am finished with work, and have begun to enjoy some of the sounds and the silence around me.
Have you ever considered a digital detox? For a day? A weekend? A whole week? Does thinking about it alone make you cringe?! I’d love to hear your thoughts!