Forget the Juice Cleanse; Try a Digital Detox

Lots of people have New Year’s resolutions related to food detoxes, but it may be worth considering a time-out from technology, as well.

Ok, so maybe you’ve done the lemon-ginger-cayenne pepper cleanse, the green juice diet, the raw food routine, and any other depriving detoxes at the beginning of the year. But in our ever-present tech society, doing a digital detox might be the much-needed break we need.

We wake up to the alarms on our phones, check e-mail or Instagram before having our first sip of water, glue our eyes to our devices while walking and whip out our phone before our fork when sitting down to dinner. I, like many, am guilty of all four!

At the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference this year, food photographer Dennis Prescott said people often ask him: “when do you just decide to take the moment as it is and enjoy it, as opposed to constantly feeling to need to shoot and share?” He told us that he’s learned to maintain a balance and acknowledges how critical it is not to be “on” all the time. For example, he never shoots at restaurants, leaving those meals to enjoy the time device-free.

Like Dennis, I fully appreciate the role of technology in our lives (I mean, I’m a blogger), but I think we might even learn to appreciate it more – as well as learn to be more present – by taking some reprieves.

I thought about this idea again when my brother, for his birthday last year, went phone and computer-free for the day, choosing to take his special day to enjoy things he loved to do: work on his car and do some home improvements. For many, going their birthday of all days without tech (what about all the Facebook birthday messages!?) is not their first choice. But I thought that’s what made his decision even more refreshing – a day to celebrate you should be about doing things you love, being present, and avoiding interruptions in the form of frequent dings and red lights.

Many folks wait until a vacation to ditch their devices in favour of basking in the sun and reading a good book. A wonderful idea, but why wait to indulge in this modern freedom for a faraway holiday? Try working it into your schedule – whatever that means for you – now. It could be an hour one evening, all day this Sunday, or for a whole weekend. Maybe it means just signing out of your favourite social network to get something done, reading a book or looking out the window on your bus commute home, or picking up the phone to call a friend instead of texting him or her.

Pay attention to how you feel, think about, and what you get done during that time. Tell me – have you ever done this? What did it let you learn about yourself and your tech habits?

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5 thoughts on “Forget the Juice Cleanse; Try a Digital Detox

  1. I took 18 days off work over Christmas and during this time I deleted all of the social media and email apps from my phone (with the exception of Instagram as I share a daily photo of my daughter with friends and family on a private account) and it felt great. In fact when I returned to work in January I only added the email back and I haven’t missed any of the others!

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    1. Oh! And I don’t turn my phone on in the morning until after my husband leaves to drop my daughter off at daycare. I have a real alarm clock in my bedroom but the baby alarm clock usually works pretty well. 🙂

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      1. That sounds like such a nice reprieve from the constant barrage of alerts! Neat that it showed you you could live without certain apps, as well. I’ve removed receiving certain notifications from a bunch of apps which has really helped me to only open them when I have the time to – I don’t feel as controlled by it!

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  2. Although it is now the year 2017, I still am proud to say that I do not own any kind of cell phone, iPhone, Blackberry, etc. I do, however, have a laptop which I usually only go onto on my days off. I work 12-hour shifts, so do not really want to get on a computer after working that length of time. This satisfies me and I just catch up on my days off!

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    1. Wow! That’s not something you hear too often these days and great to hear that’s what works for you 🙂 Everyone has to have their own balance and I think it’s just something important to be mindful of, which you obviously are!

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