Digital detox – a social media break
A digital detox is a break from all things digital, or at least the constant pressure from social media. It can be a necessary break that leaves us feeling better. We also get the time do more important things. Not to mention that it can be an interesting reminder that there are more things out there, beyond the digital stuff.
But how do you do it? Can you balance digital detox and a live that seems to required a constant digital presence? Personally, I’m stuck right in the epicenter. I’m a digital marketing freelancer and an underground musician – two things that require active social media outreach. Otherwise there’s no moving forward with my businesses. But sometimes, enough is enough. In August 2020 I went for a full digital detox, something I will definitely do again.
About Stefan Nordström
Digital marketing consultant
7 years of experience
Expertise: SEO, copywriting, newsletters, conversions, digital strategy
How do you do it?
Yeah, step one: how do you actually do it? For me it wasn’t as much all things digital, as it was social media. I felt the growing pressure of the constant social media posting on many fronts. It all just took too much energy and attention. Not to mention how easy it is to turn social media promotion into endless, pointless scrolling.
So I just put my smartphone and laptop in flight mode for 48 hours. That way I could still listen to music, take photos, write and do other productive things. I just wanted to get rid of the notifications and the scrolling. Those were the true energy-thieves and stress-factors. And wow, I was truly right in that assumption.
And it shouldn’t be that tough? After all, I’m saying that I’m there to promote myself – not scroll through pointless content.
My digital detox experience
The weekend reveled a lot, both positive and negative – some of it slightly bizarre and shocking. Firstly, I had to experience true idleness for the first time in years. Secondly, it’s just a whole different life setup without social media. My brain kept saying “what now?”, like it wasn’t OK to chill without activity.
The smartphone really plays tricks on the brain’s award system. We really need to learn idleness again, at least in small portions. And digital detox is perfect for that. This is something that I will try to do at least one weekend per month. It’s a great way to recharge.
Less direct stress
The first obvious thing to me was the need to be “on” all the time. It faded fast. The notifications were gone. So was the need to say things and post things on social platforms. This is a way larger stress factor than I thought. I believe it’s very important – especially for content creators like me – to be rid of now and then. It’s a great way to return with fresh energy and inspiration.
Less to do-related stress
Many of us have seemingly endless to do-lists. Content creators have blog posts, YouTube-videos, Instagram pictures and other things that just have to be done. It’s a constant and growing flow. Usually, the task only grows greater as your following increases.
I think getting away from the to do-list completely for a while is the perfect way to recharge. At least I came with a whole new sense of energy.
Digital detox shows you that you DO have time
It feels like we don’t have time for anything anymore. That’s just not true. And I discovered it as soon as I removed social media and smartphone from the equation. It takes up so much time and energy. Sometimes it should be spent on reality instead.
Fact is: I didn’t have that much to do. But social media is good at making it seem so. And if we’re that busy, I bet it’ll be easier to be effective without Facebook.
Speaking of reality, digital detox is a great way to become more present. Social media and other stress-factors make us absent. Personally, I find that it’s very easy to fall into future plans and incoming challenges. That makes me forget the now. Which is a much more important place.
The mere 48 hours I spent social media free made a huge difference in that regard. I felt a lot more present. It’s simple, really: I had more time and energy to spend on the present.
Digital detox inspiration even extends to the digital
The ironic part of my digital detox experiment was the idea generation. No pressure to act means that my brain started wandering. And not in a bad way. In a very good way. I started coming up with all kinds of content ideas. Way more ideas than if I would’ve been online. I had to put them down for later in my phone’s notepad. Sometimes, walking away from production mode is the absolute best thing to feel inspired again.
Time and energy for people
Social media is a big energy thief, especially the endless scrolling for information. At least for me, this steals the energy we could spend on other people. My internet-free weekend definitely increased my urge to meet people and have actual conversations, rather than endless Facebook messaging.
Space for other activities
The strange, unfamiliar sense of actual idleness didn’t only inspire my digital activities, it made me want to more things. Real things. Suddenly, there was much more room for workout sessions, recording music and wilderness excursions – as well as reload time! I might be turning into a broken record, but this really shows what some time flight mode can do for you.
Digital detox is an interesting test
Positive effects aside, I thought the weekend was a very interesting experiment. Many modern habits and routines has made inactivity something so unfamiliar. It leads me to think that social media makes us broken in many ways. If 48 hours allowed me to change and feel this much, what would a full week do?
And I wish I had the opportunity to shut it all off. But fact is that my careers in digital marketing and music require constant activity and self-promotion. No matter the demands, I’ll definitely be spending more weekends in flight mode to get that digital detox my brain desperately needs.
From digital detox to digital marketing
Time to jump from one digital thing to another. As I mentioned, I’m a digital marketing professional: a freelance consultant specialized on content. And in the end, this website is a vehicle to promote myself.
So, if you need help with digital marketing, reach out to me by adding me on LinkedIn or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I can help out with copywriting, SEO, newsletters, social media and many other things.