Time for a Digital Detox?

Posted November 22, 2016 | Laura Christianson

The average social media user spends 3.6 hours on social networks every day | BloggingBistro.comMy friend, Kathi Lipp, was in a public restroom stall when the woman in the next stall called out, “Can you not flush? I’m on the phone.”

Kathi responded, “Can you not be on your phone? I need to flush.”

Everywhere we go, people are glued to technology.

The average social media user spends 3.6 hours on social networks every day!

That doesn’t include time spent checking email, watching videos on demand, or chatting with friends while you’re going to the bathroom.

Our digital devices have become vices.

Have you considered taking a break from your devices?

Alex French did. In a column in Travel + Leisure magazine (October 2016), Alex described his digital sabbatical. He attended a weeklong retreat in southern Italy, where guests surrendered their phones, unplugged their devices, and spent long, languorous days doing yoga, meditating, and reconnecting with themselves.

They kicked off each day with a silent group walk through some orchards. Next came two hours of yoga, followed by a large chunk of free time in which to swim, sun, read, work in the garden, go on picnics, or get caught up on sleep.

Fruit basket | BloggingBistro.com

We bought fresh fruit from a local stand during our trip to Hawaii.

Prior to eating a healthy, alcohol-free dinner, guests did 90 minutes of yoga and meditation.

While many of us can’t afford to jet to Italy for a cyber-free week, we can be intentional about our use of digital devices.

My digital detox

During the past couple of months, I’ve “digital detoxed” twice. For two weeks in September, my hubby and I “glamped” down the Oregon coast in our travel trailer (no satellite dish, no WiFi, no cell phone service).

I took long walks on the beach, rode my bike, read novels, and was awed by the gorgeous scenery.

Coquille River Lighthouse | BloggingBistro.com

Coquille River Lighthouse at sunset. (Oregon coast)

Oregon Coast | BloggingBistro.com

A beautiful hiking trail along the Oregon coast.

During November, with the help of frequent flier miles and a generous relative who sold us a week at their timeshare condo, we visited Kauai.

Hanapepe Art Night | BloggingBistro.com

Laura at Hanapepe Art Night on Kauai. We got dinner at the Thai food truck.

Confession: I didn’t totally turn off my devices during this trip; as the owner of a digital marketing agency, that’s difficult to do when clients have projects in the works.

But I did cut waaay back on the time I spent online, and gave myself plenty of space to snorkel, swim, walk, tour the island, and soak up that toasty, 85-degree sunshine.

Kauai sunset | BloggingBistro.com

Sunset from our Kauai condo.

One day at a time…

I’m a firm believer in taking one digital detox day per week. For me, that means shutting off the two devices I spend most of my time with during the work week: my computer and my cell phone.

Oregon Coast bike path sign | BloggingBistro.com

Sign on a bike path at a campground on the Oregon Coast.

The temptation to check email or Instagram or Facebook is still there, but if the devices are shut down, it’s much easier to ignore their siren call.

Ka'anapali Beach Walk on Maui | BloggingBistro.com

Love the spindly trees along the Ka’anapali Beach Walk on Maui.

[tweet_dis]The National Institute of Mental Health links heavy social media use to depression.[/tweet_dis] I believe it! My digital detox days are essential to my sanity. After a detox day, I return to my devices, mentally refreshed and bursting with new ideas.

During the holiday season, when many of us add shopping, crafting, decorating, baking, traveling, and entertaining to our already overflowing schedules, keeping up with blogging and social media posting can be exhausting.

Why not give yourself the gift of a digital detox from now through the end of the year? Whether it’s one day per week, or an extended holiday, turn off the devices you’re most glued to, and see what happens.

Squirrel carving at Trees of Mystery | BloggingBistro.com

We played “tacky tourist” a couple of times, visiting the “Trees of Mystery” in northern California, and the Tillamook Cheese Factory (twice!), where we indulged in lots of cheese samples and a delish waffle cone.

I’d love to hear from you.

How does the idea of a digital detox make you feel? Stressed? Worried? Relieved? Ecstatic?

Do you regularly detox from your digital devices? What works best for you?

Will you give yourself permission to take a vacation from your most-used device? If so, please mention it in the comments. When you commit publicly to breaking a habit or forming a new habit, it’ll help motivate you to follow through.

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7 responses to “Time for a Digital Detox?”

  1. Katherine Jones says:

    Love this piece, starting with the hilarious Kathi Lipp story. (Oh my–you can’t make that stuff up!) I fully endorse the idea of a a digital detox. I used to take a sabbatical every Sabbath day…a habit I’ve become a bit lax about lately…thank you for inspiring me to return to best practices.

    P.S. Love these gorgeous pics too!

  2. Thanks for your encouragement, Katherine. I hope you are able to take a Sabbath rest during the Thanksgiving holiday. Have a good one!

  3. Maree Dee says:

    I try to take a digital break every Sunday. It is amazing how refreshing it can be. I wish I could say I do it 100% but that would not be honest.

  4. Maree, Good for you! I think a 100% success rate is unrealistic (I’ve certainly never attained it), but we should do what we can. Breaks are great for our mental, physical, and spiritual health.

  5. I live in an RV in a lovely campground. We work a lot online and when I can’t stand it anymore I go outside and take a mini-digital detox. It does wonders. When I don’t have the time or resources to take a vacation I go outside-kayaking, biking, jogging, or walking on the beach.

  6. Maribeth, How interesting to live in an RV. I’ve thought about doing that. How fantastic that you can just go outside to take your digital detox.

  7. It is saving my sanity right now my husband is not well(still trying to figure it out) but I can hop in my kayak and talk to God. Please feel free to visit my blog. http://goo.gl/TL3LDz

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