Mum's the word on digitally detoxing
26th June 2018
At the start of 2018, when everyone else went on a chocolate/booze/carb detox for January, we decided to swerve these more traditional New Year's resolutions, and put ourselves on a digital detox instead.
Our reasons for doing it were quite straightforward - at the end of last year, we felt like we were becoming slaves to our phones; answering emails 24/7, scrolling until the early hours, and jumping to attention every time the phone flashed or bleeped.
Ironically, we monitored screen time for our children, but didn't have any boundaries in place for ourselves! Don't get us wrong, we love social media and smartphone technology, which has allowed us to set up and grow a business around our children's school pick-ups and clubs, but the downside is that we never had any downtime, and never switched the phone off!
Needing some balance back in our lives, we undertook a campaign called #mamasunplugged, and pledged to do the following during the month of January (asking others to come on board too):
- Ban phones from the bedroom
- Put the phones away at 8pm
- Switch-off Sunday - to spend slow, quality time with our families
- Unfollow any social media accounts that made us feel rubbish
Sounds simple, but the truth was anything but! So bad was our digital addiction that the first few nights found us automatically reaching for our phones every ad break or quiet time, and not being able to Google something immediately was frustrating!
However, after a few nights of switching off, we found that the urge to pick up the phone and aimlessly scroll lessened, as we got back into watching boxsets, re-joined Pilates, and even read two books! Our sleep improved (as much as it can with young children), and we're sure that's because we had wind-down time before bed, away from the constant stimulation of apps and white light!
We didn't read or send emails from our bed; in fact, emails had to wait until 9am the next day, and guess what - nothing bad happened. And Switch-off Sunday saw us fall back in love with the Sunday supplements again, going for walks and baking cakes. It sounds corny, but it's true; we gained so much time back and felt great!
We're now seven months into 2018, and did we keep up our digital detox? The answer, sadly, is no. But it's not all bad, as some of the good habits that we embraced in January have stayed. We no longer keep our phones in our bedroom, which has really made a big difference, but as the days have turned into months, we've noticed that those bad habits have slowly crept back into our lives - we're back scrolling again after 8pm, and�Switch-off Sunday hasn't been quite so screen-free for a few months.
It was reading something in the paper last month about Simon Cowell ditching his smartphone for over 10 months - saying that it was so good for his mental health - that got us thinking about our digital detox all over again. Cowell also explained that he felt more focused and aware of the people around him since giving up his device, which is definitely how we felt during the month of January.
So, with this in mind and the summer holidays approaching (we don't want our children's memories to be of us with our faces focused on our phones and not them), who wants to join us? Good luck, and let us know how you get on (but not after 8pm, or on a Sunday!).