A few months ago I stumbled across an article in a magazine that discussed the importance of a ‘Digital Cleanse' and I was intrigued to test it out. The idea behind this cleanse was to free my mind of stress over replying to emails or social media comments or even how many likes my latest Instagram post got. To take a break from the digital world and step back into the real world - because it feels like I am missing the important things in life.
As a Blogger, it is almost second nature to make sure my phone battery is fully charged and that I remember to put the SD card back into my camera. This is just a precaution, just in case I stumble across something that will be worth snapping. If something was to happen and I didn't manage to capture that moment on camera I would get a little anxious. Why would this happen? Why?
Why did I put so much pressure on myself to capture every bloody moment? I am guessing it is because of the way the world has changed around technology. We can do so much with a few simple taps on a small device that fits snug into the palm of our hands – make a phone call, check the News, do your banking, take a photograph, order your dinner, and even share photos of your dinner. This is now the norm.
So what happens when you decide to take a break from "the norm"? Well, let me tell you, it isn't easy.
Firstly, I decided to set myself up with some rules.
When I started this “digital cleanse” I really struggled with resisting the urge to check my phone constantly. If I needed to leave a room, I had to take my phone with me “just in case” and I would check the screen as I left one room and then when I settled in the next room, I would check it again. So when I needed to leave the room – or table if we were out for dinner – I would just leave it there.
By not checking my emails throughout the evening actually was the easiest thing to do. I didn’t miss out on any opportunities. I didn’t miss any newsletters from my favourite brands because they were still there the next morning. What was frustrating about the whole email scenario was the fact that there were a few PR representatives who would email me on the Friday night and because I made the promise not to reply until the Monday, I would find a few more emails from the same person asking if I got their previous email. No patience from them. At first I would apologise and explain that I don’t reply over the weekend, but after that I stopped apologising because I remembered rule No. 8.
When on date night I would try not to take my phone out to snap the meal and I really succeeded at this. If I didn’t manage to take a photo of my dinner guess what happened? Nothing. The World kept turning.
When watching Netflix at home, I would usually have my phone in one hand and just watch the film in the background. Missing important plot developments and constantly asking E “Wait. What’s happened?” By putting my phone down, and actually spending time with E I started to realise that I was putting my relationship with my social media account before my actual relationship with my husband. That sounds so deep, I know. But it is true. I would be on my phone replying to comments from people I have never met and he would be trying to have a conversation with me and I would just be like “uh-huh. Yeah. One minute.” How. Rude.
So what have I learned from this? Put your phone down and enjoy your life.
Do you have specific ‘rules’ that you try and stick to when it comes to your digital life?
If so, I would love to know.
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