|What happened when I took a weekend off of the internet?|
The internet is such a huge part of my life – with the blog, the vlogs and managing my social media I really do have a strong connection with the WIFI world..
This has caused issues before – when I had a huge bout of anxiety not so long ago, I quit everything. I left the internet behind and cast it aside. It wasn’t long before the same itches came back however, as much as sometimes social media can trigger anxiety it soothes it too. I like being in touch with other people in a less demanding space. Online, I can pick and choose when I pick my phone up – face to face I can’t exactly do that. Online, when sometimes someone triggers my anxiety without realising I unfollow/mute them. Offline, I can’t do that. It isn’t the best way to deal with this online either as I genuinely miss some people, and refollow a few days later – probably earning me a reputation as a unfollow-follower. Not ideal.
I realised these unhealthy patterns were starting, and instead of reclusing myself away and hiding I figured when I took the time to visit family in Northumberland I’d have a digital detox. One of my favourite vloggers, xameliax did a video about her own digital detox, and I felt perhaps I could put my own two cents down my blog about it.
While I did have my phone alongside me for photographs, I didn’t check my social media or e-mails until I was (almost) home. Scheduled tweets went out, but that was all. It was probably easier for me as my weekend was jam packed with visits and family time – the only time I really struggled was when we were on the train home and Mike was sleeping. I think I broke the detox an hour into the four hour journey home which wasn’t so bad as I’d kept clear all weekend.
What did I gain from my digital detox?
I gained a lot of time to simply ‘be’. No worries about having to check my phone notifications, not bothering if the little light on my Samsung S6 was flashing.. It felt incredibly liberating. I didn’t feel tethered. I was also able to leave my phone guilt free when we went to dinner, I actually forgot it the second night completely and usually I have a ‘why didn’t I take a photograph of my gorgeous dinner?!‘ moment but.. I didn’t. I shrugged, enjoyed my meal and cocktails, then carried on.
My tweets had only been scheduled for two days. That meant by the time Sunday morning rolled around, I didn’t have any tweets lined up ready to go – you know what happened?
Nobody unfollowed me. Nobody sent out a search party. Nobody berated me for being late with content or not posting. I didn’t have hate messages, I didn’t log in to find my account empty with a tumbleweed.. Life just carried on and when I did get on to check my social media nothing had changed. My irrational worry about leaving it unattended for the weekend was unfounded. I smiled as I scrolled through my timeline while on the East Coast train journey home, Mike snoring away quietly on my shoulder. I actually felt happy with myself. I’d had some secret, none-instagrammed experiences. I’d been on a beach and not tweeted about it while there. I’d had a wonderful steak dinner and not posted about it to Facebook.
It felt good.
While it might not be for everyone, I certainly gained a lot of confidence in my blog and social prescience. My followers didn’t mind me having some time out. They cared about me having a lovely time, not about me updating every few minutes. I think for a weekend a month in the future, I’ll be doing the same thing – spending it offline, and off my phone.