My annual digital unplug (started in 2020): here’s on how I’ve been doing so far.

Saying goodbye to 2019, I felt social media had taken too much of a percentage of my spare time. There are a few things I detest, one of them is having the feeling to have been wasting time. So, for 2020, I decided to go for a social media detox. In Belgium, every February 'Tour Mineral' is launched, a time to refresh our bodies by swearing off alcohol during one month. I opted for ditching social media instead.

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Did I take it slowly? Did I build up the detox? No.. Not exactly. Going cold turkey is more the fit, I would say. The first day of February, I removed all the social media apps of my smarthphone and iPad, and removed all the cookies from my notebook. I wanted no distractions, no temptation. Close friends were notified I would not be using Whatsapp for a while, if they needed mee, they could text of call. I only held on to a few important whatsapp groups but switched off the notifications. I did let them know I would only check once a day, so in case of emergency, they would need to call me up.

Source: Christian Wiediger on unsplash

I have to admit, the first week, it was pretty hard to endure. It was as if my hands craved my smartphone, waiting for that every-hour-scroll. At first, I left my smartphone in another room, like my dressing room or the utility room, a place I did not cross all the time. After a few weeks, I started to keep my phone closer, in the kitchen or on my living room table. The goal I had set before was to be near my smartphone without craving it, without even realising it was there after all.

After approximately 45 days, I came to the point of not noticing my phone anymore. That was my mental finish line.

Source: Valeriia Bugaiova on Unsplash

The build up afterwards took a few days: I re-downloaded the apps I really wanted to get back (and took the opportunity to reset my paswords) and spring-cleaned my way back in. For ex. I unfollowed about 80 per cent of the accounts I followed before and zoomed in on who was following me, I deleted all the Marketing-likes and cleaned up my online profile.

The detox left me feeling more calm, centered and focused. And the main effect: it gave me ‘my time’ back. Suddenly I got more space in my agenda to do fun activities with the children, to paint again or to start new projects.

But…how am I doing now? OK, I guess. I feel like social media is starting to creep up on me again, especially at the in-between moments (right after having lunch, in the five minute gap before we have to leave, while getting ready,…). The past week me, my husband and my 2 toddlers were on leave, and it hit me how often we looked at our screens.  “So next weeks, things are about to change…,” she chuckles.

The first three weeks of August, we are on vacation. The most ideal time to re-insert a digital detox and clear/clean my mind. I’m curious about your tips or experiences when starting a digital detox. So definitely pin them down at the bottom. Have a lovely summer!

Source: Esther Wilhelmsson
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