Reporting back on a digital detox – What happened when I went offline for one week?

Digital detoxes were the most popular health trend this festive season. What happened when this Sleep Expert went offline for a week? The results may surprise you.

There is nothing harder than taking your own advice. And so with leave booked I decided to give a digital detox a try. The aim was to be mostly offline from 16 December 2017 until 05 January 2018.

Perhaps this time period was a little extensive as it encompassed both my husband’s and daughter’s birthdays as well as Christmas and New Year celebrations which required, I will admit, going online for weather reports, hotel and restaurant bookings as well as some online shopping for price comparisons.

However, despite my frequent relapses there were some solid offline days that did give me much pleasure and contentment.

  • There was less worrying over the safety of my smart phone as I left it at home rather than taking it with me to the beach.
  • Admittedly, there were also less photos taken – a pity as there were some great memories made – however, I am not sure those memories would have been made if I was in my usual state of continual distraction.
  • On the one occasion that I did give in and check work emails, I was both shocked at the amount (145 new emails) as well as the lack of truly urgent responses. Many were important and required a response but not right now. It felt good to say: “no emails, I choose my holiday. You can actually wait”.
  • It was also great to save up the good news – when I did go onto social media platforms I had loads of good news to digest in a short space of time. There were babies born, engagement posts, dogs in Christmas hats and some amazing holiday adventures happening. And it took 30 minutes to read it all. It did not matter that I found out 2 weeks or 2 days later…

So if you feel you could do with a little more presence and a little less distraction then give a digital detox a go. I suggest deactivating all notifications, accepting one method of communication (such as SMS or Whatsapp only) and leaving your phone at home as much as possible to avoid the inevitable temptation to google just a little.

It will feel strange at first not holding your phone in your hand and looking not at a screen but at the people and spaces all around you. What I found is that rather than worrying about what I was missing out on online, I started to notice what I was missing out on by not being offline. The other outcome? Better sleep thanks to less bright light which meant a happier and healthier holiday maker.

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