From The World of Being Constantly Connected
I took a week off. A whole week. A whole seven days of not opening up my laptop, letting it gather dust for just a few days whilst I let myself recharge. I just burnt-out with blogging and social media and Instagram posts and scheduling and editing and I needed to step away. It was simple really – I think with the New Year I just started to feel overwhelmed, I hadn’t taken a break over Christmas and had continued writing, photographing, scheduling and all sorts so by the time the first of January had rolled around, I needed to escape a little bit. So, after a day of feeling frustrated after not being able to string a sentence together or take a half-decent photograph, I switched off my laptop, closed the lid, walked away and told myself I wouldn’t open it till I was completely, one hundred percent ready.
After Blogmas, I knew I wanted to truly switch off and detox away from social media and the internet. I had spent all day everyday writing, editing, scheduling, researching, link gathering all in preparation for all the blog posts and as I mentioned in lasts week post reflecting on Blogmas, it became a little overwhelming and I was forever tied to my phone. I found myself forgoing other activities and self-care because I was constantly working or worrying about work so I was determined when January rolled around to switch off and have a little detox as even I was getting a little sick of looking at the twitter interface. Just a little bit.
So, here is how I switched off, detoxed and gave myself a little break. Don’t get me wrong, I still opened the Whatsapp and Messenger app every day and still found myself having a quick of all my favourite Instastories but I’m quite proud to say the only day I actually opened my laptop was when I needed to print off my tickets to go the Shard in London, so, all-in-all, a pretty successful break if you ask! Here are the things I did to stay away from the screen and the things I am continuing to do so I don’t feel the need to lob my beloved laptop out of the nearest window.
I’ve Switched Off The Phone
This is definitely the hardest thing for me but probably the most rewarding. My phone is quite literally surgically attached to my hand, you will rarely find me without it, I’m forever scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more so I knew it was definitely time to cut the screen-time down. Simply, if I have got something important to do or I’m in a situation where I do not wish to be distracted, I quite simply turn my phone off making it a little less tempting and a little easier to not go through it. If I’m watching Netflix or a bit of telly in the evenings, I try not to pick up my phone, if I’m going in the bath, I leave my phone in my room and if I’m out and about, I try and keep my phone secure in my bag.
It’s healthy to live in the moment and I have learnt I don’t need to be digitally updated every second of the day. Short-term, this has helped with anxiety and feeling overwhelmed by everything I see on social media and I am hoping long-term I can last longer without scrolling. It may mean I take a little bit longer to get back to text messages and Whatsapp and Instagram comments, but even in the world of instant communication, we can be a little old-fashioned, can’t we?
I’ve Made The Time Away Fun
I am so easily distracted by my phone and laptop that if I want to stay off of it, I need to do something to distract my mind. I’ve been dedicating that time to watching Friends on Netflix (anyone else completely obsessed?!) and whilst it isn’t the most productive use of my time, it works to keep me focused on one thing and not watching stupid videos on Facebook. I’ve also used the time away from the screen to take full advantage of self-care, something you know I am incredibly keen on. During the week, when I start to feel a bit ‘ugh’ and lazy, I like to run myself a Lush-goodie filled bubble bath and dig out all my favourite skin products – my coffee scrub, a fresh-scented bath oil, a hair mask, a body moisturiser, face scrub and mask. I like to dedicate that time to give myself and my body a little relaxing TLC by having a mini pamper night. I’ll do it all – give my hair and skin some nourishment, relax in the bath surrounded by candles, perhaps give myself a manicure and coat my entire body in moisturiser. This helps to make me feel so relaxed, so ready to take on the world and keeps me away from any screens, social media and emails for a few hours. Perfect!
I’ve picked up a book
For me, one of the easiest ways I’ve found to successfully and fully switch off is to submerge myself into another world for few hours. When I was younger, I used to read all the time (mainly Jacqueline Wilson classics but hey, a book is a book, huh?) but then, growing up with MySpace, Bebo, Piczo, MSN and pony forums (yeah… don’t ask) meant that reading took a backseat and something I only really do when on a relaxing sun and sea holiday. As the nights are still incredibly long and I’m still feeling the need to be cosy and relaxed all the time like at Christmas time, I’ve started to force myself to read more and it has honestly become one of my favourite ways of switching-off and distracting myself from feelings of overwhelm and stress, even if just for a little while. What’s best, I don’t even want to go on Twitter and Instagram, I have all the entertainment and inspiration I need within the paragraphs and pages.
I’ve Got a Dedicated Switch Off Time
The past few weeks have taught me that is is important to have a dedicated switch-off time if I truly want to keep away from my phone and screen for just a little bit. From now on I am trying to get into the habit of shutting down my laptop at 6 pm or the latest, 7 pm, giving me a chance to switch-off in the evening and hopefully, learn to stop thinking about work and what’s on Instagram and the latest blogging drama on Twitter.
Do you need to do an online detox? How do you switch-off?
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Thank you for reading!