Written by Liv Evans, the social & content manager at Bare Biology.
A holiday is a great time to have a digital detox. You can switch off your phone without the guilt and unplug. The big question is, can a social media manager really take a digital detox? Well, back in August I reluctantly turned my phone off and went to Somerset for a week. It turned out to be one of the best things I’ve done. Here’s what I learnt during my break from the digital world and why you should consider switching off from time to time…
Less scrolling, more time
We’re a generation of serial scrollers. Wake up, scroll. Commute to work, scroll. Waiting for dinner to cook, scroll. It’s become second nature, something to fill the odd 20 minutes here and there. Putting my phone away meant that in the time I would have spent scrolling, I did something else. I finished a book, I practiced yoga, I went for walks and I found new hobbies that made me really happy. It felt like putting my phone away had added hours to my day and a spring to my step. Instead of killing time, I was using it.
Less multi tasking, more living
You start to appreciate the small things, things that you wouldn’t have noticed before. A smile from a stranger becomes a conversation. A car ride becomes time to take in the views. A thought becomes an idea. It made me realise how many lovely moments and opportunities I’d been missing out on while staring into a screen.
I’m guilty of FOMO, also known as fear of missing out. There are so many aspects of social media that I love - which is why it’s my job - but it can be tricky not to compare yourself to others.
Less noise, more silence
I realised how much I had used my phone to hide behind during awkward moments, like waiting in a queue, or in a lift, or sitting in the back of the car. You’re suddenly faced with silence, your thoughts, or, God forbid, you might even have to engage in some human interaction! It was interesting to me how uncomfortable I felt being silent and the urge to grab my phone to ‘look busy’ was overwhelming. I challenged myself to get comfortable with silence and to even embrace it. These moments became time to reflect or just to simply do nothing. I even started to enjoy my own company! I suggest carrying a journal with you. It’s a great way to jot down any ideas or thoughts that might surface.
Less comparison, more happiness
I’m guilty of FOMO, also known as fear of missing out. There are so many aspects of social media that I love - which is why it’s my job - but it can be tricky not to compare yourself to others. I’m not afraid to admit that sometimes I get sucked into the vortex of perfectly placed avocado on toast and pictures of sunsets and wondering if I should be doing the same. Taking a step back from social media reminds you to appreciate real moments for what they are... and you realise you don’t have to document everything. You can just enjoy your day without wondering if you should be doing something ‘Instagram worthy’.
Fewer filters, more real moments
Moments are temporary and you only live them once, so it’s no surprise we try and capture those memories to look back on. I don’t see a problem with taking photos, in fact, I love it! The problem is, it doesn’t stop with that one photo. We take a few to find the best angle, we add filters, we spend time writing a caption and anticipate the likes and comments that might follow. Before we know it, the moment we wanted to capture has been and gone and we haven’t truly lived it. We’ve captured a digital version that will never do the real moment justice.
I went old school and bought myself a disposable camera. The film had a total of 20 shots. I told myself it was 20 opportunities to capture my holiday. This meant there was a limit. I couldn’t snap every moment because I’d run out of photos. I had to be picky. I got excited about photography again and, because I was present, I saw lots of creative opportunity around me.
The beauty of a disposable camera is you can’t look back at what you’ve taken. You can’t go back and edit it. You can’t tirelessly critique your appearance and you can’t retake the photo. You’re capturing real, unfiltered life.
If you’re like me and you like to capture moments, give it a go. The most exciting part was going to pick up the photos!
The biggest lesson I learnt during this week is that social media is what you make it. It can be a catalyst for self doubt, comparison and distraction or it can be a creative tool to connect, inform and inspire. In a generation of scrolling zombies, it’s important to remember that the digital world will never replace the feeling of real experiences and human interaction. Live for the moments, not for the likes.