Digital Detox

Just before sitting down I fought the urge to pick up my phone and find something to distract me. Messages from people I haven’t spoken to in ages, a new reddit post, a new youtube video, playing one of the very few games I have, or in the worst case the news.

My phone is so incredibly useful and when my phone bricked itself a few weeks back I realised how reliant I am. And for the most part I don’t mind: texting close friends, family, girlfriend, etc. all really good; mobile banking, emails, alarms, calendar, etc. not fun but necessary. I just do not like being sucked into it and I feel, personally it’s having an effect.

I’ve started working, and that’s fine I’m bobbing along alright. I have less fexible time (the number of times I just want to get up from my desk and take a 1hr walk, go climbing, read a book) and so feel I have less time, especially in the evenings. But it is filled, so much, by staring at my phone looking for the next hit of “joy”. At work I gravitate towards it when I want a break, a time to think. In the evenings, in the mornings, I look to it for comfort.

It provides false comfort

I have an itch now to reach for my phone when I hear a notification ding, when I’m stuck on a programming task, when I don’t want to do a chore or worse the hobbies I really enjoy. Because it provides short term satisfication whilst my life (I feel) gets filled with screen time or angst.

Stopping using my phone will not magically solve my problems. I will still be stressed about masters funding, I will still be anxious about chores and tasks, I will still be terrified of how little time to work on hobbies I have. BUT, I will actually start working towards these and I will be able to slowly unpick what is causing me acute stress and anxiety (maybe I need some help with it but maybe I just need a bit more me time ~and sleep~).

Also big note: I fairly regularly have counselling, so though this is for my mental health the big scary thoughts I feel I’m using digital media to run away from are slowly being processed. I kind of want to do this so I can properly confront and note down these thoughts.

The plan

One week, as little digital media/content as possible. Obvious things like reddit, youtube (I’d already switched to invidious but this hasn’t helped), news, etc. will definitely go.* But even stuff like wikipedia and random searches will go.

I will keep messaging people on all the platforms I usually reach them. I may blog, who knows. I will still use email, calendar, banking, etc.

I just want to default to a book, the guitar, a tin whistle, a small programming task, my matchbox sculpture, knitting, crocheting, a boardgame, a walk, a cycle, calling someone, climbing, writing, dancing (mainly practicing calling), gardening/plant care, baths, painting my nails, jesus the list just keeps going and I have so many thoughts, ideas, projects in every single one of these.

Is this a good idea? I don’t know, quitting cold turkey is not always the best thing. But it’s just for 7 days.

After the plan

Well another blog update :eyes:. Maybe I continue, maybe I realise what I found was beneficial from the pieces of media. Either way, I’m just kind of curious. Like it’s science, is my consumption of digital media excerbating (if not causing) some of my problems?

* Note on this one artist gets saved: “foxes in love”. Absolutely adorable comic strip and I absolutely must save all their comics onto my gallery, well a specific folder on my gallery