Can we all just admit right off the bat that a detox of ANY kind is tough. Giving up the things that you think you “need” isn’t easy, and giving up screens, even for adults who have knowledge and understanding, it’s tough!
With all the knowledge and understanding I have about the benefits of a digital detox (see posts HERE and HERE), during a super stressful period of life it’s often good to heed the advice and take a break from social media and television. Giving your head, and heart, room to breathe. Not constantly keeping it active with other people’s news and opinions, but calming down to a manageable pace mentally, and using that space to take stock.
This is what my hubby and I agreed to do, at his suggestion, from Monday this week. Here’s what we did.
- No Netflix/Showmax
- No social media
- No YouTube
- No WhatsApp after 18:00
How did it go? Well, read the diary to see the reality behind a digital detox.
Day 1 digital detox.
Day one was a Monday, good idea, bad idea. Two sick kids at home and not a plan B in sight. I think I only checked my social media channels four times throughout the day, and it was at times when felt I needed to escape mentally from having the kids ask me for the millionth time for something to eat, or after they’d rearranged my cushions around the house in a huge pile for the seventeenth time.
We bought some games and cards to play in the evenings, and have played Disney’s Lion Guard Surprise Slides about five times already.
Day 2 digital detox.
Better or worse than day 1, it had it’s moments. I played a few games of patience (for those who don’t know it’s a one man card game), I tidied up my desk and did some pottering in the garden.
It was a super stressful work day so I didn’t really have time for social media or anything else other than my computer, telephone and stomping around in my gym gear unable to get to the gym because hubby and I are still sharing a car.
I watered the lawn (with our tank water) and we ordered take out in, or ordered in, whatever you call it, and called it a night at 19h00 with the kids at bed time.
Yes, it was a super stressful day. But not from the detox side. I was only TOO happy to be away from WhatsApp and social media.
Day 3 digital detox
Lets just say the TV side of things is going really well, and as a family we have managed to cut out at least 3 hours of T.V. per day, yes you read that right, PER DAY!
I have allocated an hour on the weekend to watch my series episode (Chesapeake Shore on Netflix) I have whittled my T.V./Series watching down over the years cause I’m super fussy.
My boys have to “share watch” their favourites on Showmax, so alternate between Blaze and Paw Patrol and then after two rounds, the T.V. goes off and they must entertain themselves, or play a game or play outside. This has been hard to implement with a very volatile two year old (is their any other kind?) and he usually throws a 20minute tantrum every time. I will say that his understanding is growing and his tantrums are getting less (time wise), but it’s still a bit of a negotiation and re-assuring.
Day 4 Digital Detox
So load shedding started again, and so we are all forced back onto Eskom’s schedule for work and T.V. and laundry and anything else that requires electricity in large quantities.
Our business has taken off with load shedding, we sell inverter kits and solar installations, and this has meant a return to social media on the business side to keep an eye on messages and people wanting feedback on pricing etc. But we continue with the rest of the detox. The aim is to establish a new family routine, spend more time together as a family and fill our minds with intelligent, life sustaining information. So if it’s not educational or uplifting you, it’s turned off.
What did I learn from the second digital detox?
Even though the time frame is not yet finished, I have found a few things to be true.
- A screen can never replace a real relationship. Be present with those that you are with. Put the phone away, far away, and engage with the people in the same room as you.
- For a family to build relationship, they need to spend quality time together. That’s not read “perfect time”, it’s read “quality time”, so even if you’re board game and half the time you’re fighting, that’s called relationship building and it’s important for family members to “get to know each other”, even when you live in the same house.
- There is something very relaxing about being “offline” and seemingly oblivious to the voice of the world “out there”, live is more peaceful, less rushed and has much more value.
So even though we started this detox to have “less time on our screen” it’s developing into a much more complex understanding of what our family needs to bond, be on each other’s side, and function as a healthy unit. I’m really glad we committed to it, and we will finish, perhaps not with flying colours, but with a growth in our hearts and a connection of our family that we never had before.
*if you found this blog post helpful in ANY way, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear if it helped you!