5 Days in Digital Detox – A Survivors Tale

We’ve all made a mental or physical list of New Year’s resolutions we are planning to keep:  lose weight, quit smoking, spend less time at work, spend more time at home – eat less junk, but how many of you have put on those lists; to plan a Digital Detox (or two)?

A Digital What?

I can almost hear the crickets chirping and the tumbleweeds rolling with the mere mention of pulling yourself offline for a set amount of time, but if you think about it – we all need to take a break from things in life to regroup and regain focus, so why should social media be any different?  If you look at the rapid rate of information that floods our brains daily, you may actually stop and think that a mini brain vacation may be something you might want to do on a regular basis.

Back in September, I took a week off personal Social Media.  I still tended to job related posts and blogs; but I seriously limited the time I spent online.  I skimmed posts, and limited research, didn’t Tweet or post on Facebook – and refrained from taking one picture of food. A week later, I came back a feeling relaxed and rested.  I knew, that without a doubt, a major part of my pending burnout was due to my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I also knew, that I could live without social media. This break however, didn’t change the way I worked and related online because within a week, I was back full tilt absorbing almost every bit of information I could get my eyes on.

Why Detox?

Now, I’m not saying stay off line indefinitely (I mean, who would read my blogs?!), but by taking a mini break now and then you can refresh your otherwise over stimulated brain, and give it some down time. This can also give you time to put a focus on your brand, or other tasks your business (or personal life) need tending to.

Living a digital lifestyle can be tough on you personally.  Think about it….

  1. You have access to more opinions from other people, thoughts and ideas you may not believe in; that can potentially anger you.
  2. The rate of information is moving at such a rapid pace it overwhelms and exhausts you.
  3. You may also feel less adequate seeing old high school buddies online as they post pictures of their travels around the world, or share in the joys of their happy family.

It is not uncommon for social media to feed insecurities and raise anxiety levels in many individuals, which can be taxing on your health.

And very importantly – the backlash from all this information or emotion can cause you or your brand to lose your message.  Taking time away from the chatter can help re-invigorate you and re-establish your online message.

How Did I Do It?

Like many of you, I’m “jacked in” from the moment I wake up until right before bed.  I’m on the computer all day at work, and social media is a major part of my daily life.  I have a smart phone, an iPad, and a laptop – all things that are easily accessible to my online addiction.  So I took a couple of steps to ensure I couldn’t cheat during this time. Some of these may sound rash, but I know myself only too well.

  • I deleted all my social media apps on my phone – this stopped me from cheating…..or wanting to cheat.  If it wasn’t there, I didn’t really think about it.
  • Took my iPad and put it out of sight – this was another case of “outta sight, outta mind”. If it’s not staring at you in the face, then you aren’t prompted to use it.
  • Stayed away from the home office – this kept me offline for the most part.  If I had work to do, I’d do it, but other than that…
  • Got some light reads like cookbooks or James Patterson, and whenever I felt a need to surf, I’d pick up a book (just like the old days!)

All in all, I was amazed at:

a) How easily I adapted to the break.
b) Didn’t cheat and actually focused on the day job at hand.
c) How rejuvenated and refreshed I felt after that week off.

My brain was relaxed and clear, and I was focused about what I needed to do online. I also knew what noise to block out, and all it took was five days to gather my thoughts. In fact, it helped me gain so much perspective, I’m ready to do it again!

I highly recommend taking a short break – It will only benefit you, your brand, and your online outlook.

Has anyone ever taken a Digital Detox?  Share your comments on how it went below!

Michelle Murray

Executive Assistant – SHARE Family & Community Services

Born and raised in Northern Ontario, Michelle has spent the last 13 years living in Banff and British Columbia. She has always had a desire to market, promote, and share through music, community, and social awareness.

Michelle spends her days working for SHARE Family & Community Services, a non- profit, independent, and community based organization providing leadership and programs in response to the social needs of the residents of the Tri-Cities (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra), New Westminster and adjacent communities.

Michelle starting blogging back in the “MySpace” days, and she always shot from the hip and wrote from the heart. She thinks of herself as extremely funny, but only her dad and best friend laugh at her jokes. foodie and home cook; Michelle auditioned for MasterChef Canada this summer, and while her dish got rave reviews, she did not make it onto the show. While bummed at not being able to participate in any Mystery Box Challenges on the show, Michelle continues to shop farmers markets and make all her food from scratch.

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