I embarked Pacific Explorer last weekend for a romantic cruise with my husband and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to detox...digitally.
Normally, I'm the person who seeks out Wi-Fi like a hawk because, God forbid, I don't respond to an email immediately or neglect to update one of my many social media accounts. I mean, people wouldn't forgive me...they would be asking for my head on a platter…surely!
This was the perfect opportunity to detox...I would save on cruise ship Wi-Fi (added bonus!) and see if I could remember what it's like to not be "connected" and "available" 24-7. I was disconnecting to reconnect with the world....and I was beyond excited!
The ship is sailing out of Sydney harbour and Nic and I are having a delectable dinner at Dragon Lady. It's also the perfect time to just check my emails and Facebook quickly, because who knows who is waiting for me to get back to them or "like" their post! Oh and I better thank our lift to the terminal again....and I better let mum know we're just about out of reception and to give the puppy a cuddle for me again...oh and I better just shoot that quick email off...
I sound like I am preparing for the end of the world. I can hear the words coming out of my mouth and see my husband's amused face, but I can't seem to stop myself. I clearly need this detox and I might also want to prove to myself (and my husband) that I can do it. Perhaps this is the start of a weekly detox? I wonder if I can do this one day a week? That would be amazing for my wellbeing and sanity...surely!
Aeroplane mode is officially turned on...
We're waiting for the late-night comedy show to start...I'll just check my emails...oh wait...I can't.
The show was supposed to start 5 minutes ago...I'll just check Facebook to keep me occupied...oh wait...I can't.
Well that was fairly easy! I'll just find a plug near the bed to charge my phone in case someone needs me in the middle of the night. I won't have to get up that way...oh wait...they can't contact me!
I'm tired but I can't sleep. I'll just check Facebook and see what's happening in the world...ah ok...I remember...digital detox.
I wonder what has happened in the world while I was asleep? I know I should meditate first, but I’ll just check my Facebook notifications and emails instead. Ah crap…digital detox. I reach for my Kindle and read until Nic wakes up. Bliss. I can do this!
Nic wakes and suggests we go to breakfast. I leave the cabin with no handbag...and no phone...I don't need it after all. I glide down the corridors feeling weightless. I could get used to this!
Nic and I find a comfy window seat and curl up with our Kindles together. The couple that reads together stays together after all.
Nearly a whole day with no reception and I am still alive…and I feel so free…oh and I have nearly finished that book I have been trying to finish for weeks!
Nic and I play a game of Uno over cocktails before dinner…my phone remains in our cabin.
I better charge my phone. It’s barely used any battery though…that’s new! I guess I’ll just turn it off then!
I haven’t taken any photos this weekend…where’s my phone? Right where I left it last night…
Only a few hours until we get back into reception…I wonder if I can just keep my phone on aeroplane mode for all of Monday as well? I’m not quite ready to face reality just yet.
Aeroplane mode officially off. No messages, mostly spam emails and very little Facebook and Instagram notifications! It seems that when you don’t engage, it’s rare for people to engage with you as much on social media. Go figure!
We returned home on Monday morning and I decided I wasn’t ready to face the digital stratosphere just yet…so I continued my digital detox into the afternoon and all was actually well with the world.
As much as I thought I would get bored, frustrated, edgy and suffer major withdrawal symptoms, after the first day I felt the opposite. I felt free, unencumbered and “allowed” to do whatever I wanted without people judging me or “telling” me what to do.
I have decided to take more control of my addiction from here on in. I am going to better manage when I am contactable because, as much as I feel people expect me to, I don’t always have to answer the phone, messages, emails or notifications when it suits others.
Putting this into practice meant that my first week post-digital detox, I was far more productive. I used batching to help as well, but, ultimately, I achieved way more and feel I was also more present during the work week having had some time out.
It showcased the importance of switching off in this ever-connected world and, whilst it still is a challenge for me, I am going to prioritise gifting myself a digital detox once a week. I won’t beat myself up if I fail, but I am going to try my hardest to give myself some freedom to spend my time how I want or need to spend it.
My Biggest Tip
Whilst this may seem supremely obvious, you won't realise how much you reach for your phone to check it until there's not much to check on it. So, arm yourself with some other items of goodness to reach for instead. Stock up on magazines, books, cards...anything that will keep your eyes and hands busy.
Why not give it a go yourself…I guarantee you’ll be grateful!
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