I survived a digital detox. Could you do the same?

The Helens

The Helens

If you were asked to go on a 2 weeks’ digital detox – no access to your mobile phone, ipad, lap top, internet – could you cope?

I couldn’t. Not a chance. The mere thought of being unable to check my messages every 5 minutes (sounds excessive but that’s the reality) sends panic running through my digitally- addicted bones.

And so it will come as some surprise that I recently managed to do just that. Yes – 2 weeks with absolutely no access to the internet. And I survived.

Granted, it wasn’t entirely by choice (long story short – I misplaced my phone in a service station on the way to France). Once the initial panic had subsided and my family had calmed me down (reassuring yet wholly ineffective words of comfort quickly replaced by buckets of red wine and cheese), I began to think clearly.

I have a business partner – so that was work sorted. But how would I survive not knowing what was going on in the world every 5 minutes? How would I know what the weather was doing in Shanghai? How would my friends cope without my witty responses to their extremely important social media posts? How would I know if my house plants were being watered??

I’ll be honest – it took a few days for the panic and anxiety to subside (that’ll be the detox for you) but by day four, I started to experience an unfamiliar degree of calm, both mentally and physically. I could feel myself relax in a way I haven’t felt on holiday for years (well, at least since I’ve been taking my mobile phone with me). I slept better. I communicated more. I played more. The inability to pointlessly ‘check in’ at the touch of a button, meant I was effortlessly able to relax, and focus only on enjoying my holiday.

But let’s not get carried away.

I’ve returned from holiday and have no plans to continue the detox (I’d like my business to keep going and my social life to keep running) but I do feel there’s part of me that’s won a small battle against a silent addiction. I feel more in control and certainly less inclined to constantly – and needlessly – ‘check in’. I’m more focused and consequently more productive. Now, where’s that red wine and cheese?

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