A Digital Detox:
Switching off all mobiles, smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers for a certain length of time. This enables you to spend screen-free time doing whatever you enjoy. A digital detox is also a chance to recharge and rest. A digital detox should ideally be around 24 hours as a minimum.
When I first downloaded WhatsApp Messenger, I wanted to keep in touch with my international and national family members. I remember what a buzz it was to have a group conversation with family members across the world.
However I’ve recently found that it’s a huge time usurper!
Being a mother (read manager of the household), I’ve often thought how little time I have for myself. I try to cut out a weekly slot for my writing, which I sometimes can’t keep, and people are still surprised that I make time for my writing. Yes it is surprising. In this digital world, a moment of stillness is a rare moment. Yet:
Since cutting out certain things from my life including WhatsApp I feel I’ve become aware of the fact that being in touch with everyone, all of the time, doesn’t necessarily work for me.
Let me explain. There’s a point in an Enid Blyton book where Quentin, George’s father, fed up of the phone ringing all day exclaims (something like) ‘We’re at the mercy of this phone!’. Nowadays, I feel we all are! I was driving the other day and missed a call. When I stopped the car, I managed to call back straight away.
I was then asked why I didn’t pick up the phone, ‘I was driving’ I said.
‘Well, have you not got Bluetooth? That way you could pick up your calls!’
‘I don’t want to pick up my calls whilst I’m driving! I can just about manage the kids and driving at the same time, God knows what would happen if I throw a phone call in there too!’
There was agreement and laughter. But it really made me think.
Is it just me? Or do you also feel it’s totally unreasonable that someone should either answer a call, reply to a message or have to justify why they haven’t done so? It’s madness!
Unless you tell everyone you’re offline for a few days. THEN it’s total freedom, a blissfully liberating feeling. Well, that’s once you’ve got the withdrawal symptoms out of the way! This took about 7 days for me. Yes, 7 days of my fingers itching to check my messages whenever I handled my phone- that’s whenever I checked the time, messaged (using normal messenger) on journeys etc. I allowed myself to use SeekersHub and YouTube for Quran etc, I also checked my email every few days, after I realised I might miss school messages etc. But apart from that I was offline and I was very surprised that it took me that long to be completely comfortable with it.
After that, however I cannot explain to you how light I felt.
I found five things:
1. Mindfulness: I became more mindful with the time I had in between doing my jobs for the day.
2. More time: I found I had pockets of time to actually get things done that I hadn’t been able to squeeze in before.
I don’t know about you, but I assumed a few minutes here and there didn’t take up much time, but such is this digital device that once it’s in your hands, it has a way of getting you to click, click, click and before you know it, time has passed!
3. I need to go back to WhatsApp serving me. There is a lot of ease if used sparingly; checking messages when I’m in a rush or trying to do something else really doesn’t help!
4. Excellent for my nafs (ego): My thoughts/ comments are not as important as I thought!
Sometimes, I read something and then feel I need to add something to the discussion. My reply will sometimes be written to every message that I have a thought about! (I realise everyone isn’t like this! Lucky you!). Not only is this time consuming, during my detox I came to the conclusion that the WhatsApp world will go round without my thoughts/ comments / opinions about every point in discussion!
5. I generally felt happier. I was able to live in the moment. Not automatically checking my messages every time I checked the time or something freed me to be more present in the moment and enjoy the here and now.
I’m very happy to report that my writing on detoxing did encourage quite a few others to do the same, or a similar thing towards the end of Ramadan, if this was you WELL DONE! I hope you benefited and will consider doing it again in the future when you need to find yourself again.
As a conclusion, I would say that I am now more mindful of the time I use on the internet. I am trying to limit WhatsApp to twice a day, but already find my fingers checking automatically and am aware it will only take a few days for me to get back to where I was with it. I need your duas (prayers) please! I don’t want this to happen!
So, do let me know your thoughts on this? Have you ever tried a digital detox? How did you find it?
That’s it from me. Until next time. Take care of yourselves!
Peace and love,
PS To help me on my journey to enoughism I will write down 3 things I am grateful for at the end of each post. These are:
1. The ease of accessibility in uncountable Quran recitations/ talks/ sacred knowledge etc.
They’re doing such a fantastic job, spreading knowledge of our deen, Islam, for free. There is sooo much material on that website that there is no excuse to not learn something new everyday! May we do just that!
3. Eid! Eid Mubarak to all. May all our good works be accepted and may we live to see another Ramadan.
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