Enjoy Time Offline
So this Easter weekend I’m going to try something new, I’m going to disconnect from the online world. From Friday through until Monday I will go without posting on Facebook or Twitter, I won’t share photos on Instagram, there’ll be no pinning of images on Pinterest and surfing the net just will not happen.
I’ve had chunks of days where my time online has been severely limited but I’ve usually been able to pop into social media at some point in a day. And I’ll have spent a fair amount of brain space wondering how and when I’ll be able to get online.
I’ve never been keen on the idea of a digital detox. It feels rather negative, with an implication that the online world is a bad thing that is addictive and you need to go cold turkey to break its hold on you. I agree that many of us are habitualised to check social media, it’s so easy to do as we carry around mini computers in our pockets. But the internet itself is not a bad thing, it just is. How we use and interact with it is down to us. I advocate conscious, intentional use of the internet, going online for reasons other than because we can’t think of anything else to do, and being aware of how our time spent online makes us feel. By being mindful of how much time we spend with our eyes on a screen we can notice if our relationships, work or peace of mind are suffering and step away from the devices to gain a little more balance in our lives.
So the four-day Easter weekend isn’t a detox. I’m not punishing myself for my internet-use and I’m not breaking an addiction. I’m simply choosing to engage more fully with my life offline and give all of my attention to it rather than sharing it with the online world. I expect to miss Instagram the most as it has a strong community feeling and I love seeing photos from my favourite Instagrammers. But otherwise I’m looking forward to exploring how this time offline feels. I have a few plans to do some gardening, go for long dog walks, take a trip to the coast, have Sunday lunch in a lovely pub and read for hours but I’m also just going to let the weekend flow. Without work (I’m taking the full four days off that too) or social media to fill gaps I’m interested to see what my attention is drawn to.
And there’s a little band of social media buddies who are joining in with this plan. Cristina Colli, Natasha Denness of Candy Pop (this is her idea), Amanda Start of The Online Stylist and Kathryn Sharman of Kat Got the Cream are all going to be offline for the Easter weekend too. In true social media style we have the hashtag #EnjoyTimeOffline to use on our return to share piccies of what we got up to over the weekend, and in the future, when we switch out of online mode.
So, now I throw this open to you, lovely people. How do you enjoy time offline and have you any plans to consciously put down your screen and be more present in your life this Easter weekend? Perhaps you feel your online/offline balance is a little off kilter and you’d like to address it? Or maybe you already have boundaries set with your screen use that you feel work for you?
If you want to share how you enjoy time offline, how you plan to address your relationship with the online world or how you’re striking the balance now, I would love to see how you’re getting on. You can tag your pics on Instagram with #EnjoyTimeOffline and I’m @gabrielletreanor if you want to find me there too. Whatever you get up to I hope you find pockets of joy throughout the weekend.