A weekend spent beneath a freshly changed duvet, with a new-but-old book in hand, was just the ticket before jumping in with both feet to a working 2018. My working 2018. I’d felt a little anxious about the new year, a tax bill to be paid, an unusually quiet period and actually getting to work at my own desk properly again. But a week away and a weekend of quiet pottering has set my week, month and year in good stead.
I’m a big fan of digital detoxes. Last year my phone died a death and I was Sans Phone for two weeks, which as a blogger, millennial and freelancer of the digital age was soul-destroying for a day and then SO-MUCH-FUN after that. I (re)learnt how to entertain myself without mindlessly scrolling through apps, I certainly gave zero shits about my grid looking great and portraying the image of a twenty-something woman who had their work, home and fun hustles in a good place. I chatted to friends on my house phone (sure, it took me about 22 minutes to actually find the damn thing) and I met up with friends on time, knowing that if either of us were late, we’d not be able to communicate that to one another once out of the house. It was all kinds of refreshing.
But then I got a new phone and fell quickly back in the routine of scroll-close-unlock-repeat. What exactly is it about the modern-day obsession of always having to reach for newness, never settling?
Amidst everything under the sun being thrown in our faces at any given moment, why was I choosing to spend my spare time exposed to more adverts, more consumerism and more frivolity in the name of throwaway entertainment? Were these acts bringing me joy or dragging me down in waves of not-enough-ness and comparison?
I mean, sure, that viral video of an elephant having a slide down a muddy slope is adorable but does it beat having a quality conversation with your best friend? And yes, those new ASOS shoes and that deliciously cute bikini on your Facebook ‘ad’ feed are banging but you might, just might, be able to put down a deposit on your first home this year and could you be using that 5-minute-scroll on a 5-minute-call to your Mum or Dad (or other lovable member of your flock)?
So, later in 2017, I decided to actively be less active on social media. Weekends were spent with my boyfriend, dog, friends and family, with me sometimes checking in to share the odd anecdote about my day or to share an Instagram post. I engaged in lengthy conversations with real people and got to indulge in the joy of immediacy. I had so much time to do real things and do them with less distractions. And that’s something I’m bringing in even today.
Weekends where my emails are untouched without a second thought. Weekends filled with reading a book on my travels to the next stop. Weekends where Harvey and I try and wing it to a restaurant without the assistance of Google Maps (honestly hilarious). Weekends where we bring the Instax Mini 8 camera out with us, shoot candidly and review the photos just before bedtime. Weekends where it makes a huge difference to switch ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode on until we’re home from being outdoors and we can catch up on everything then, if desired.
Let me tell you: a weekend digital detox is just the starting point of slowing the pace down and completely embracing a fresh year for all its’ worth.