I recently had a one week vacay in Las Vegas and Nashville celebrating my sister’s 30th birthday.
Sure, the scenery was picturesque, the food was Instagrammable, and I could have spent hours on end tweeting my followers with how much fun I was having – but I didn’t.
Because I was on a digital detox.
The idea of a digital detox first came to me in 2008 when I was 18 and on holiday in Barbados with my family. Since Bebo, MySpace and MSN had come on the scene a few years earlier, I often spent days glued to my computer messaging my friends and researching the latest news (okay, playing Habbo Hotel…)
But for some reason that year, I decided that enough was enough. I was going to completely switch off from the online world for two whole weeks and nobody would get in my way.
What happened, I hear you ask?
Well, I had one of the BEST holidays I’d EVER had. I put my computer and phone down (of the LG flip variety) and I never looked back. Until I returned to England, that is.
It made me realise just how glorious it is to just live your life sometimes. To not worry about how many likes your latest Insta photo has got, or how many people saw your Snapchat story, or whether your current crush has liked your Facebook status.
Have you ever tried it? Because you totally should.
Since that Barbados vacation in 2008, I make sure that I steer clear of social media and avoid looking at my phone for the majority of each holiday.
Granted, it’s almost impossible to switch off from the online world completely in this day and age when you rely on social media as your news source and Google is your best friend for finding out MUST-KNOW info, like what ever happened to the cast of Saved By the Bell and if you should shave all your legs or just from the knee down.
But I’ve learned to limit it to the bare essentials on vacations in recent years. And, my goodness, I always feel SO GOOD for doing so.
After having a digital detox, I feel so refreshed. I feel so peaceful. I feel like I’m ready to take on the world again.
If you’ve never really tried it before, here are some other reasons why it’s so important to join my #DigitalDetox club.
It puts life in perspective.
Sometimes we let social media and our online lives consume us, when we are SO MUCH MORE than the number of Facebook friends we have or whether we’re up to date with the ongoing war between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift on Twitter.
Breaking away from phones, tablets, and computers every once in a while makes you realise just how much time we spend glued to these devices on a daily basis. It isn’t healthy. We should be going outside more and actually living our lives, instead of living them through a screen all the time.
It makes you realise how unnecessary social media is.
In the grand scheme of things, what even is social media?
I’ll tell you what – not real.
Sure, social media can often enhance our lives and there are many benefits to having online communities, but it’s our offline relationships that truly matter.
A lot of social media users (myself included) have been able to connect with people that they wouldn’t ordinarily come across in day-to-day life, which is awesome. But, the truth is, social media is super deceiving.
For example, you could be having the shittiest day known to man, but a filtered, edited photo of your smiling face goes up on Insta and it looks like you’re having the best time in the world.
That’s why it’s important to be mindful of social media, as things aren’t always as they seem.
It improves your mental health and wellbeing.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I’ve compared myself to others on social media. Or the amount of times that I’ve lost a whole afternoon to Candy Crush or some other addictive gaming app.
Because there are so many currently people online, sometimes it makes us feel pressurised to do what everybody else is doing. To download the latest social media app, to participate in the ice bucket challenge, to start using the VSCO photo editing app for Instagram.
It’s exhausting at times. Y’hear me?
Occasionally coming away from all that chaos does wonders for your soul, even if it is only for a week-long break.
It helps you focus on what’s important.
Taking your focus and attention away from the digital world allows you to place it elsewhere, like on your family members or friendships.
(Or having a bloody good holiday!)
Either way, it allows you to regain some clarity on your offline life and your future, which may or may not be as heavily influenced by social media as it once was.
After all, you might decide that once you digital detox, you never go back.
(Not me, I’m too obsessed with YouTubing fail videos and posting funny GIFs on Twitter.)
But you might at least cut the time down that you spend on your phone or laptop or care less about your Instagram follower count, like I have.
At the end of the day, life’s for living. It’s the real life experiences that are worth remembering when you’re old and grey – and not the virtual life that you build for yourself through a black mirror.
Striped Shirt – M&S (similar here)
Ripped Jeans – Levi’s (similar here)
White Converse – ASOS
White Bag – Michael Kors (similar here)
Mirrored Sunglasses – Chic Wish List (similar here)