For years, I’ve been recommending that my clients take daily breaks from online activities– often for as long as three hours a day if they can swing it.
And indeed, daily breaks from the phone have been a practice of mine for as long as I can remember. I know and understand the benefits.
Until last week, however, I’d never done a full-on digital detox– meaning no social media whatsoever– of any serious and/or challenging length.
(And trust me, when you run a digital business (or two), it’s awfully hard to imagine unplugging from what often feels like your professional and financial lifeline by doing this. Fear is often a good justifier/excuse for not doing what you know needs to be done.)
Last week, however, I hit a breaking point.
A coach I’ve been working with– because even the best coaches need coaches themselves; this is the first one I’ve worked with for my own betterment in a while– saw that I was near a breaking point in terms of how hard I’d been pushing myself, the stress I was under, and the almost unbearable effects it was having on my physical and mental well-being.
(Not that my health care and personal wellness professionals hadn’t been pointing to the same thing for months. They had. I just didn’t listen).
By mid-last week, I was feeling truly awful in a number of very significant ways.
And so my coach ordered me, in no uncertain terms, on to a 48 hour digital detox.
“But what about x deadline, y newsletter, all this usual stuff I do all by myself, every week, with no help? Those things have to fire to social media, and if I don’t do them, I’ll be letting everyone down.”
“Nothing that you are doing,” she said to me, “can’t wait a few days.”
And so, at the instruction of my coach, in addition to 48 hours of digital detox, I also offloaded anything work-related, digital or not, that didn’t feel easeful or like an invitation, for the next three plus days.
Perhaps if I hadn’t been feeling so terrible, I would have ignored these instructions, as I had ignored others so many times before. But this time, I did not.
And let me tell you, after 48 full-on hours off digital, and three-plus full days not working, the things I learned were profound.