I Did a Digital Detox—and It Was Nothing Like I Expected

This is what I learned.

I Did a Digital Detox—and It Was Nothing Like I Expected

Now, I will start off by saying this wasn’t planned at all. I forgot my phone in my friends car on my way to catch the train. I had two minutes to decide whether I go back and try to catch her (and potentially miss this train which, would make me wait 15 minutes for the next one) OR just suck it up and go the whole day phone-less. I chose the latter.

So here I am, sitting on the train and for the first time, I didn’t know what to do with my hands or where to look. It took me a few minutes to come to the self-awareness that I felt awkward doing something totally normal: Sitting on a train.

Luckily, I fell asleep and the train ride wasn’t so boring because I slept through most of it. (My train ride is an hour.)

I got to work and had the most productive day. And it occurred to me that the only time I truly gravitate towards the phone while at work was when it was in sight. I had a tendency to pick it up and check my notifications. However, given my poor work/life balance and choices, I barely get any meaningful notifications—I only get those random 30 percent off promo notifications and stepping on the scale to update my weight notifications.

I got through the work day, and then my biggest hurdle presented itself. I had to travel to a different city that night to meet my boyfriend. I had to plan a bus route utilizing a Google Maps print out!! Crazy to think that only 10 to 15 short years prior using a paper map was the norm.

What I Learned

I need to be more in tune with myself. I was truly exhausted and using my phone distracted me from truly understanding what my body needs. If I had my phone, I would not get that hour of extra sleep my body so desperately needed.

It’s fun when you have to rely on your natural instincts and not have everything planned out. Using maps and trying to navigate through a city allowed me to talk to people and engage with the human population, whereas, I would normally just turn into myself and use my Google Maps on my phone to reassure myself that I’m on the right path.

It was such a liberating feeling when I was able to meet my boyfriend without using a phone to guide me there. Where I would normally default to Uber to get me to where I needed to go.

I will do this at least a couple times a month. When I finally got my phone to check my notifications, I didn’t miss out on much.

This put into perspective: Does my phone actually benefit my day to day activities or hinder them? For me, moderation is key. However, this “experiment” might bring out a different result for yourself. I truly encourage you all to try it—if not for a day, then do a half day and go out and explore. You’ll be amazed at how much you depend on technology for the most random things and how unnecessary sometimes those things are. It will also amaze you at how much you still need to learn about yourself.

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Caroline Pereira

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