One of our lifestyle contributors, Ciara Doran, writes for us today on how a digital detox has helped her find a new inner peace.
With today being a “day of love”, why not put your own phone away for as long as possible and use the time instead to really connect with those around you, or indeed, on some self-care for yourself?
We hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day.
I mentioned the last time I blogged around 3 weeks ago that I was going to try out a digital detox. A digital detox is when you take time away from your phone and computer screens to take a break from those kinds of digital devices for a while. It helps the mind to rest and gives your soul a break too.
Nowadays, we spend a shocking amount of time glued to our smartphones, tablets, game consoles and computers. It is the way of the world these days and unfortunately it is all consuming. It is an addiction of sorts, when you find yourself entranced and engulfed in your screen whilst scrolling aimlessly.
This is why I decided to give my mind and soul a well needed rest. Don’t get me wrong, I love being on my computer when I write and would never give up blogging as I love it. It is a creative outlet for me and is genuinely therapeutic. I also love having an online community of people who I can connect with. That was one of the main reasons I set up this blog! However, as part of the process I decided it was only right to take a break from being on the computer screen too.
I have to admit, it has been way harder to stay away from my smartphone though! That is a genuine addiction of mine which I continue to battle with daily! I wrote a post about here before if you want to check it out – Phubbing, is this what the world has come to?
Admittedly, my willpower is shockingly bad so I won’t lie, I failed miserably at this digital detox. However! I did genuinely cut down on the time spent online, on social media and endless scrolling. I have noticed that since cutting down on my screen time by two thirds, I am feeling fantastic. I was spending a pitiful 5 hours a day online. Mainly Facebook as I seem to have an obsession with aimless scrolling. So addictive.
My partner even decided to abandon his Facebook as he was bored of it and was wasting time on there. He has managed to stay off it for the 3 weeks entirely, but still uses messenger and he didn’t completely delete it so he knows he can go back on it if he wants. This is something I aspire to but I do not have the guts at present. I think cold turkey is a good way but I am a stage 5 addict so it will take me a while longer! For now, I am just happy to cut down.
Righto, so here is how I am feeling now. I feel fantastic! I have less stress, more productivity in the outside world (more about that later in the post!), more motivation to do stuff, less brain fog and more clarity. I feel as though I am now living in the real world and not the cyber world. Weirdly, that is an eye-opener.
I feel refreshed, revitalised and more interested in the ‘here and now’. I am more present with people. I am paying attention more and the conversations are better. I am getting out and seeing people in person, doing fun stuff with the kids and I feel a new lease of life.
So there you have it! My digital detox has opened up the door to my real life. The one I should be living.
I feel amazing now that I have let myself loose from the claws of social media and the pressures of my little online bubble. I almost feel as though I was a slave to my phone for so long, now I am free!
I choose when I want to use it rather than hypnotically going on Facebook to check notifications, read through the scroll endlessly and going zombie for hours. For me, I was missing out on a lot. I would put off doing stuff cause I got lazy and was happier just being a couch potato reading my phone.
I think the word ‘mind-numbed’ is how I describe myself after I have spent 20 minutes glued to my phone. It is almost a trance-like state once my eyes lock the screen and I am transported to another realm. This involves ignoring what is going on around me, zoning out and losing concentration on anything else. Even if I am watching a great series on Netflix, I have a quick glance at my phone and suddenly I have missed 30 mins and the whole plot.
Deep down, I knew I needed a change and January is one of those landmark times to start a new beginning. I even wrote another post on How to unplug here a while back so I have been meaning to address this problem for quite some time.
All I can say is, give it a try and you will be so surprised. If you spend a lot of time on social media or online at all, record how much time and ask yourself is it too much? I accidentally found out when a new app was rolled out onto my phone and I was astounded. I had no idea I was spending so much time online. Just checking notifications and 15 mins here and there. It all adds up.
In the last 3 weeks I have newfound inner peace. I have way more drive and motivation and so much more positivity and joie de vivre.
As I mentioned earlier I have some exciting news. My partner and I are embarking on a huge new project. We are opening up a bistro restaurant and bar in the South of France! It is a huge opportunity and an amazing prospect. We are so blessed and lucky to own our own business. It needs a good renovation and even has a hotel attached, all in need of some serious TLC. Being an interior designer it is my absolute dream project so I am over the moon. My partner is a chef so we will run it together. This means I will be back to work full time, pretty much but it is our own so its feels perfect. I am feeling so positive and grateful and it is a dream come true.
I just want to mention that whilst I have been doing my digital detox, I have been keeping a gratitude journal. I am a huge believer in practicing gratitude and I genuinely believe it has helped me and continues to bring me joy and positivity daily. Have a read about that here – Why I’m Grateful for Gratitude.
If you haven’t got a gratitude journal you should try it yourself! I just write down around 10 things I am grateful for every day in a notepad when I have time. I can read over it anytime and it helps me remember how much I have to be grateful for and sparks positivity every time.
Do you have a gratitude journal? Let us know in the comments below.
By Ciara Doran.
This post first appeared on Ciara’s blog, Cool Things I Love, and has been re-published here with her permission.