I did a 7‑day digital detox retreat. Here is what happened
- I learned that doing other things than scrolling the phone makes me feel much better (Less anxiety, more happiness)
- I created a better connection with myself, understood my emotions
- I gained clarity of mind
- I strengthen my feeling of meaning and sense of direction
- I gained more time
- I experienced more radiance, gratitude and self acceptance
- I experienced restorative power of nature
- I tuned into my body, noticing what signals it sends
- I understood that I can create a sense of security, courage, peace, and self-worth without external resources
How does digital detox look like?
I’ve been running my business online, therefore laptop, mobile phone and social media channels are my everyday tools, allowing me to complete my daily work assignments.
Company owner going for a holiday without a laptop.
Yes, it is possible.
I know that there are different forms of digital detoxing, going trekking to Himalayas, locking up in a monastery with monks, being in a woods doing shamanic dancing, sitting in a rural part of Southern Europe doing yoga or drinking wine.
The world is full of choices.
The important thing is to understand who you are and choose what is possible and accessible for you at the moment.
What is a digital detox?
Breaking up with technology, or setting boundaries around using it has to work for us, therefore I encourage a technique of baby steps. In my case it was a week of conscious mobile phone usage.
A week of conscious mobile phone usage. How to set rules and boundaries?
I did not take laptop, I took a phone only.
What is important is creating a conscious way of using technology. I had my phone because It was required for travelling. My boarding pass was there, the passenger locator form was there and I received a QR code from Greek government there, which was required to enter the country.
I had my meditations stored on my phone and I was happily using it for that purpose. The phone was a way of communicating with my family as during that time one of my family members was hospitalised, so I wanted to be in touch with them.
I also used the camera to take few photos and videos and the the gps when I wondered off on the jet ski and got a bit lost in between the lovely alike-looking little islands of the Myrtoan Sea.
What is important, each time I reached out for the phone, I knew exactly why I was reaching for it and what I needed it for. I did not take my phone every 20 minutes to take a selfie or to take pictures of the landscape.
I did not bring my phone to the bathroom (some people do it), or to the table. When I was having conversations with my holiday companions I did not use phone, I was focusing on them and the conversation, giving them my full attention.
How to build healthy relationship with technology?
Some other rules of digital detox include:
- not bringing phone to your bedroom
- uninstalling social media apps from you phone
- monitoring screen time and setting timers on the online usage of certain apps
- deleting all social media apps from your phone; checking these only from a desktop computer.
- leaving your phone in your pocket or keep it out of sight for meetings/get-togethers/conversations/meals involving other people.
- keeping your phone out of sight during your commute.
This clarity and focus comes from de-cluttering, removing the constant notifications, obsessive e‑mail checking and stopping mindless social media scrolling.
Mobile phones, just like other internet devices are engines of addiction, taking our cognitive recourses and attention, bringing so much information, that it results in a big overwhelm.
If we don’t set boundaries, the Internet devices will take control over our life. It is exactly the same when you have a dog, or a boyfriend, or anyone else in your life, with whom you are forming a close relation. You need rules and boundaries in order to function in a healthy way. Otherwise you might be taken advantage of and suffer.
You need to be in charge, have a solid sense of self-worth and confidence and in order to face your internal demons, such as negative thoughts and fears.
Constant busyness and internet addictive behaviours distract us from looking inwards and facing who we are, what we fear, what we lack etc.
What to do instead of checking your phone?
In order to counterbalance the illusion of busyness or screen relationships an internal practice is required.
A lot of people use social media to connect with their followers, spending hours a day on posting stories, tweets, feed etc. and then observing reactions and replying, which takes quite a bit of our time and fills the void of loneliness or satisfies other needs such as need for security, recognition etc.
What you need is start working on your inner feed.
Yoga, meditation and mindfulness exercises are there to help.
There are plenty of different kinds of meditation, you can sit, lie-down or walk. You can combine it with breathing techniques and yoga or you can choose other form of physical activity.
My advice would be, do what works for you and be open to new methods to expand your horizons and practice.
Stepping away from digital devices will make you realise that you suddenly have a lot of time, and the time goes slower. Decide what you want to spend this time on, reading books, drawing. Allow this time to be filled with activities that restore your spirit and increase the genuine quality of your life. Use it for self-reflection, connecting with your self and other in a meaningful ways.
To experience full benefits I recommend a guided digital detox practice. If you are interested in obtaining tools that enhance your effectiveness and help you in conducting your digital detox you need to check my online program Radiant Mood & Relaxed Body.