As part of a month dedicated to self-care, Caitlin recently embarked on a digital detox. Here’s what happened.
I had high hopes for my digital detox, but also tried to set realistic expectations. I work in an online field where I’m forced to be on my laptop and Instagram pretty frequently. I’m also juggling the reality of going back to work after maternity leave, part-time childcare, a 2-month-old baby and a toddler! Like most of us, I felt like I have been glued to my phone and way too invested in social media. After having my daughter in December and spending so much time nursing and letting her sleep on me, I felt like I spent the majority of my day staring at my iPhone and finally decided I needed to make some big changes.
I didn’t set actual rules for my detox, but overall ‘goals’ that I hoped to stick with.
Here’s what they were:
- Take weekends off from social media — limited posting and NO scrolling. Stock up on images and videos and post later if totally necessary.
- Set times during the week to scroll through Instagram (for example morning, lunch break, after dinner) and check email and other social networks.
- Don’t check email on the phone — save it for the laptop.
- Phone gets plugged in at 5 p.m. so you can spend time being present with family.
- Turn off alerts and push notifications on your phone and computer — no more unnecessary distractions.
- Stop taking your phone EVERYWHERE with you — don’t bring it to the bathroom or pull it out at a red light.
- Don’t look at your phone while you’re talking to someone — most importantly, your kids!
- No phones in bed.
And here’s what happened…
I found it pretty easy to disconnect on the weekends. I loved not scrolling my Instagram feed and comparing myself to others. It was really refreshing and I didn’t miss it at all. Instead, I read magazines and blogs while nursing and a book on my Kindle.
I really liked limiting the time I spent scrolling social media networks throughout the day. It makes me feel less guilty about spending ‘work time’ on my phone when I build the time into my day and just allow myself to do it. And as much as I hate it, many of these platforms give me inspiration and allow me to connect with others, which is nice when you work alone from home. I found that I wasn’t really able to stick with a set ‘scroll schedule’ like I had hoped since my days are always different with my daughter’s school, childcare and my schedule, but overall, I’ve been spending far less time on my phone. It was most helpful to physically put my phone in another room when focusing on work and allow myself 10 or 15 minutes at a time to just browse throughout the day.
It’s been really great not checking my email on my phone and has really helped to make me feel more organized! I don’t miss as many emails and don’t feel unnecessary stress throughout the day. It’s difficult not to check my email while I’m sitting down and nursing my baby on a weekday, but having something else to focus on like a book or article to read is helpful.
As for not having my phone in bed, I totally gave up on that goal. I just can’t seem to make that change happen for whatever reason, but I do not scroll Instagram before bed. I found it was making me feel pretty anxious and defeated sometimes and I hate going to bed feeling that way.
Overall, I’m so glad that I prioritized spending less time on social media and more time present with my family and pursuing other interests of my own. I plan to keep it up and work even harder at meeting my goals this spring. My husband and I have started new shows (we are currently watching the “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”), I’ve been listening to podcasts more and keeping up with magazines that I hadn’t read in months (I use the Texture app on my iPad, which I love). I also feel a little better about myself. We all know that a lot of Instagram is smoke and mirrors and in 10 years I really doubt I’ll care how many followers I have, but I’ll certainly remember those tea parties with my daughter.