So, well, um … if you haven’t heard, there’s quite a bit of buzz going around about our privacy (and not just the privacy of American’s, but that of the world).
It’s a slight bit unsettling, y’know?
Not just a little off-handedly, I suggested on the Crunchy Betty Facebook page that we should all take three days AWAY from our phones, computers, televisions, gaming consoles, and anything that could collect data on us, perhaps a little out of protest, but a lot out of reconnecting with everything we could be enjoying and appreciating instead.
The response was fantastic, but more than that, a deep, burning, integral human need became apparent.
We don’t know how to live without our digital devices anymore.
Not just, like, for forever. But just for three solitary days.
When the comments of “I could never survive!” came rolling in, I couldn’t help but envision a gaggle of dark-suited, vulture-like X-Files-Smoking-Man-esque men hunched around a table, their long, crooked fingers in an upside-down V over their mouths, crooning, “Yes, yes. That’s it, little ones. We have you where we want you.”
And what began as a half-joking social statement became what we’re going to accomplish on the blog over the next two weeks.
If I cannot convince you to take three days away from your digital communications and televisions by the end of it (and the beginning of our social statement turned personal challenge), then … well, I don’t know. I’ll eat crow. (There’s one on my roof right now, in fact.)
(By the way, if you own a blog and want to grab that graphic to share the idea with your readers, you are more than welcome to it. Down the page you’ll find a blog button and a FB photo to share, as well.)
What Are The 3 Days of Silence and Why Would I Want to Do This?
Do you remember the time before this? The time before constant updates, email notifications, Facebook pokes, Instagram hearts, telling everyone exactly what you’re doing at all times? Do you remember waiting by the door for the postman to bring a letter? Or spending an entire evening with the family without someone’s nose glued to a screen? Do you remember opening a real, live book with crisp pages and a new book scent and immersing yourself, laughing and crying, in the written word for hours? Do you remember any of that, without bells and beeps interrupting you? Taking you out of your moment?
The 3 Days of Silence are a tool to reconnect you with this world. The world that is right around you right now no holds barred. They’re a way to remind yourself that your digital devices are your tools and you are not their slaves.
If you want to use the 3 Days of Silence as a social statement about the NSA spying racket, you are more than welcome to do so. That will not be our focus here on the blog, though.
You see, I am a “make lemonade out of lemons” kinda gal. And what, to me, first appeared to be an outrage and something to get burning angry over (and I’m not saying you can’t – your beliefs and feelings are justified) quickly turned into an opportunity to explore – internally – just why this is so bothersome in my personal life.
We – all of us – are easier to scare, quicker to fear, and more personally powerless when we’re completely disconnected from ourselves because we’re chained to the digital world.
The 3 Days of Silence are about not just “showing the man,” but showing the person inside of us that we’re capable of living life without digital distractions if and when we so choose.
So What Does This All Entail?
The 3 Days of Silence is totally up to you, what you do, how you choose to spend it. You don’t even have to complete 3 days, if you don’t want, although I would recommend it as much as possible. The first day, you’re probably going to be thinking about what you’re missing, more than just being in the place you’re at. You’ll want the last two to fully experience your digital detox without the distracting thoughts of “I should just check my email … just once” and then 3 hours later you’re looking at pictures of monster trucks painted like ducks and you don’t even remember how it happened.
Here are three sample options:
- 3 Days of Silence: This is the way it’s meant to be. In this option, you will disconnect everything. You’ll tell your friends and family you’re disconnecting for three days, and you’ll make all plans ahead of time. Calls permitted: Only in an emergency. Otherwise, your phone is off and the battery is out. No internet, no computer, no television, no video games.
- 3 Days of Silence Lite: This is for those of you who are certain there will be some sort of emergency that will necessitate the use of your phone. In this case, you’re allowed to check your phone three times a day (and ONLY check, no mucking around) and keep it near you (but not ON you) if you think there will be a problem.
- 3 Days of Silence Hardcore: In this option, your 3 Days of Silence are REALLY silence. You won’t speak for 3 days. Not a word. Nothing. There is GREAT insight to be gained from taking a 3-day vow of silence, but we don’t all have to go that far … yet.
I – and my family – will be participating in the original 3 Days of Silence.
*If you have prior plans during the 3 Days of Silence that will necessitate not participating (say, you’re going to a conference about the internet where you all play video games while talking on your phones), you can choose your OWN personal 3 Days of Silence when the time is right for you. Those of you who do not have prior plans similar to the one above … well … hmmm … sounds like you don’t have an excuse. :p
Talking About the 3 Days of Silence Over the Next Two Weeks
So, from today until June 22, the first day of the 3 Days of Silence, here on Crunchy Betty, we will explore ways to fill your 3 Days of Silence.
- How to spend quality time with yourself (including some spa recipes)
- Delicious, healthy dinners to make
- Activities with the family
- Just exactly HOW you can take the things you learn during your 3 Days of Silence and apply them to your life once you turn the devices back on
- Exploring ways to spend a night out (with yourself or your significant other)
- And … at the bottom of this post, there is a comment box. I want you to fill all those comments with ideas that YOU have or things you’ve been wanting to try, learn about, and do that you think 3 days without digital communication will help you accomplish.
Remember, if you have a blog and want to challenge your readers to do this, as well, the graphic at the top is all yours (but feel free to make your own, too!). Here, as well, is a 150×150 blog button if you want to add it to your blog. Just grab the code under the graphic below and paste it into your widgets area (if you’re on WordPress) or wherever you put your buttons otherwise.
And for everyone – if you would like to share on Facebook, here is a graphic that’s the perfect size to Facebook or pin on Pinterest (just right click, download, and upload if you’re Facebooking, and link this post, or your own post if you’re blogging it):
You can also just share and talk about the page using any of the handy “like on Facebook” graphics at the top and bottom of this post.
ALSO? HASHTAG #3DOS if you’re going to tweet about preparing for it. I will retweet several of your #3DOS tweets throughout the next 2 weeks and hopefully we can build some communal excitement. Scintillating.
What Do You Want to Do During Your Three Days of Silence?
PLEASE – Leave a comment if you are thinking about participating (so I know how many people I’m talking to), even in the slightest. Even if you think you might just want to do it on your own time in a few weeks.
- What is something you’d like to try your hand at, during your days of digital detox?
- Do you already have some ideas about foods you’d like to cook … or books you’ve been meaning to read? Share which ones!
- Are there any questions you’d like to see answered, before we dive into a world without digital access for 3 whole days (whew – sooo long, isn’t it? heh)
Lastly, if you’re planning on – or even thinking about – participating, I highly recommend you sign up for the Crunchy Betty email list. You’ll receive the posts as SOON as they’re published to Crunchy Betty, so you won’t forget to prepare, or you won’t be tempted to just … you know … forget about it.
Are you on board? Waffling? Completely against the idea?
The 3 Days of Silence needs to be The 300 Days of Silence, at least. We lost yourself in this social media egoistic stuff.
Regardless of the possibility that you think you may very well need to do it time permitting in a couple of weeks.
I totally agree that we don’t know how to live without our digital devices anymore. I’m not sure I could go for 3 days without my phone or tablet, without checking my Facebook or Instagram account…
3 days of silence sounds like a real challenge! I’m going to give it a try.
Great one.. 🙂
I’m very interested in this post. If we can make ourselves 3 days of silence we are really great!!!
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Even if you think you might just want to do it on your own time in a few weeks.
I’m in and excited about it! Yay!
I just came across your 3 days of silence post. Excellent! I noticed the date is for June 2013. How did it work out? Have you been promoting it every year? Are you promoting it this year?
I deactivated my FB almost 2 years ago and have never been sorry, in fact, I have much more time to pursue things I want to DO like drawing and writing (on paper, LOL) and gardening.
Keep plugging the 3 days of silence I bet it will take off world wide eventually. I remember the resurgence of the health food movement in the early 70s and how people said it was just a fad. Now we need to change our digital diet as well.
Crunch on Crunchy Betty!
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January 2012 I took a month off from electronics. It took me TWO WEEKS to quit cheating and having withdrawals. And I discovered busy-ness takes away from life and FB can SUCK THE LIFE right out of your day. You take things for granted that are supposed to be savoured – it was horrid at first then awesome at the end. I need to *gulp* do it again!!!
I think this is a terrific idea. We will be on a vacation to a cabin that week it would be cool to unplug for part of it.
I don’t think my family will get on board, but at least I could try it 🙂 crunchybetty you are hilarious I really enjoy your writing style.
As a college student, majoring in CIS, and working in tech support, this will definitely be quite a challenge. Although I can’t completely do a digital detox, I’ll do my best. Sad to say, but I feel like my phone/tv/laptop have taken over my life. Whether it’s Netflix, facebook, twitter, or online shopping, i’m literally ALWAYS on my phone. Hate to admit it, but I am a slave to technology. Good luck to anyone doing this detox!
On board! However, I missed the train. So maybe I wasn’t on board. Meh. But that’s ok, I can do it in the next few days! I did a day of “lite” digital silence once, and I loved it. I will be actually putting a pen to paper in my spare moments which is something I always mean to do then put off so I can play Candy Crush. (How that game is ruining my life.)
Well this is a stupid idea, anyway. If you don’t want to be on the internet, then don’t be on the internet. No need to start a kerfuffle for attention.
Count me in. It will be difficult at first, but worth it in the long run. I think the hardest thing in our household will be the TV. I’ll see if I can get the HUBBY on board. I think this calls for a good game of Monopoly!
Count me in. It’ll be difficult at first, but worth it in the long run. I think the TV thing actually will be the most difficult. Hopefully I will be able to get the HUBBY on board. I think this calls for a good game of Monopoly.
I like social media and don’t feel the need to remember what it was like “before” 🙂
Now I get to be connected to distant relatives, make friends all over the world, have access to so much information I could read things that interest me for the rest of my life and not be done, new music, brand new ideas, recipes, parenting help etc
I can understand why some people would find a temporary fast beneficial but it’s not for me! Technology isn’t the problem, though how you use it can be.
I’m 80% sure I’m in.
We just moved 2 hours away from our families, so email and texting has been important this last year, but I know if I let everyone know what’s up they’ll avoid texts and calls made out of boredom. I WILL leave the cell on, though, in case of emergency (husband travels for work, parents 2 hours away) with the wi-fi/data/notifications all turned off and volume down to 30%.
We have been making our way through an episode of Star Trek every night after dinner via Netflix/XBox, but I’ll just start reading Game of Thrones now that the season finale has passed.
Blog updates will sit happily in my reader waiting for me to come back, same with Pinterest, and I forget about Facebook for days on end anyway. Maybe after this I will delete that account completely?
I agree re: being away from your spouse for several days and it being constructive to go without speaking during that time. My husband goes hunting several times a year; sometimes just 2 days, sometimes 8 days, and I rarely talk to him during those. Sometimes we’ll share a brief text to let eachother know we’re both still alive, but that’s it; we save the stories and real updates for when he’s back. I much prefer to look into my husband’s eyes when he tells me about the amazing sunset or the giant bull elk that bugled back to him through the fog at 6am.
I saw someone mention digital cameras: as I see it, they don’t count as being any more “tech” than a film camera. Your photos still just sit there in your camera until you plug it into your computer. Even with auto-uploading wi-fi memory cards, you can view and edit and share them later.
Does anyone else struggle with wanting to be away from internet/computer while reducing/eliminating use of paper? I used to keep a file folder of magazine clippings of inspirational photos for clothing, home decore, gardening, etc. I also keps a HUGE file of clipped recipes. To save money, space, and paper, I cancelled all magazines and created Pinterest boards instead. Now I keep all my recipes solely in Evernote, which I am loving immensely. I do sometimes miss flipping through actual pages, though.
I suppose recipes will have to be a cheat for during my break. I won’t print them out beforehand as that is wasteful of paper. Maybe I’ll get enough junk mail to write on the backs of.
I hope there will be a follow-up post/comments about what everyone realized or missed during their break from technology.
I love this idea! I have never been a big fan of todays obssession with social media, but I still find myself getting sucked into it. Just yesterday, after I pulled myself away from the computer, I thought to myself, that computer puts me in a bad mood! My husband tells me I live in the dark ages, but I happen to like it there. 3 days of silence sounds like Heaven to me! Getting my kids and Hubby to join in should be interesting. I think I will spend those days baking with my girls, taking a trip to the bookstore with all the kids, take some walks on the beach and journal some. I used to journal almost everday, but have gotten away from it. I am excited to participate!
honestly people will make any excuse to justify what they want to do. if we really stop and think, don’t you remember what life was like BEFORE this storm of social media BS ran through our lives? kids were outside playing, parents were actually parenting rather than providing electronic-distractions… life was so much better. we weren’t totally obsessed with celebrities to the point of needing to know every single detail of their lives… we would knock on a friend’s door to see if they were home… we sent letters, beautiful handwritten letters… we weren’t so THIRSTY for instagram/facebook likes… THE INTERNET IS NOT REAL LIFE. IT’S NOT. IT’S REALLY NOT. it used to be used as a resource to find things we couldn’t normally find. now it’s a way for the government to track our every move IF WE DISCLOSE OUR WHOLE LIVES ONLINE. we don’t have to do that. or over text messages either. remember when private conversations were held in a quiet room rather than a text? yeah, i do, too. and i want life to go back to normal. SO YES, i will disconnect. i already ditched facebook last year due to feeling like it was a judge-book and how could the government not steal all that good, personal info we put into it?
I couldn’t agree more! The internet is an artificial world and I think we’ve gotten so caught up in it that we don’t even realize it anymore. Scary!
I’m looking forward to the 3 days of silence!
I’m angry about all the spying also….but the thought of 3DOS makes me break out in a nervous sweat 🙂 But I’m going to try!!! don’t think I can convince the hubs to give up tv…and the 4 yo with no Dora? it’s gonna be rough!
Oh, I unintentionally skipped the request to share what I plan to do during my unplugged time.
I plan to do the original 3 days of silence June 21-23 (one day early). I don’t have any plans to force my family to follow along, but I might mention it and see what they think.
I hope to spend the time with my 12 year old daughter and focus on learning more about what is changing for her at this ‘exciting’ time in her life. Well, I will do this all summer, anyway, actually. When she was younger, I purposely avoided the computer and electronics when she was awake and present (not at school) and we did everything together. Weekends and evenings were family time, exclusively. I wonder how that slowly slid away….
I think my goal is more far-reaching than the 3 days of electronic silence. I’ve been mulling over some of this stuff for a few weeks now. I’m beyond the ‘detox’ stage. I am happy to do it again and again and learn more and more from it, but really I am at the how do I reach a balance with technology and being a wife, mom, and business owner stage… Technology is awesome! Everything else in my life is also great! However, I am wearing myself out and something has to give……..
So, as divine intervention would have it, I listened to a Hay House Summit talk with Cheryl Richardson and Reid Tracy earlier. Cheryl went over a couple points of “extreme self care”: 1) “Let me disappoint you.” and 2) “Let me sleep on it.” Those alone may help me with my last sentence above (wearing myself out). Ask and ye shall receive guidance!!!! 🙂
She also went on to discuss a couple other pertinent topics to me, which are helping ease my tension that have nothing to do with technology and balancing time. LOL (Figuring out a career change and formal education for young and ‘full-fledged adults’…just to not leave anyone hanging. The Hay House Summit is free, but today is the last day to listen to the MANY talks unless you purchase a package.)
This summer is the first time in six years my daughter will be out of school for more than a few weeks (switched from year-round to traditional calendar with middle school). I am mulling over a daily ‘unplugged’ timeframe for us both!
As for the 6/22-24, I just checked my calendar and will need to adjust my days a tad. I start a computer class on Monday, 6/24, at 8:30 am! LOL I also have a webinar that evening (first in a seven week series). However, Friday 6/21 has no such restrictions, so I’ll just start a day early! 🙂
Actually, though, my family and I are headed out of town on Father’s Day and returning on our wedding anniversary (3 full days). We’re going to an island by boat and won’t be bringing our computers and we watch very little TV as is (none in the summer, anyway). We’ll be spending a lot of time together without technology…no Wii (what our TV is mostly used for! LOL) and no other electronic games or computers.
The caveat is our phones/iPod. Only one piece of hand-carried luggage is allowed per person, so we’re packing very light and using the cameras built-in to our phones/iPod. We’re just bringing clothes/shoes for three days/nights, toiletries, phone/camera, and a real book (each). Plus a family game of some kind (Whoonu or Yahtzee or ??) and deck of cards. Even if we didn’t use our camera phones, though, we only have digital cameras. We’ve never been to this little town and definitely want to take pictures, but it’s not like we’re going to be taking pictures nonstop. The town is literally one square mile! LOL I won’t be checking email and I don’t share my mobile number with very many people. Texts are easy for me to handle quickly with a simple, “We’re on vacation. I’ll chat when we get home.” Facebook. Hmmm… I promised my mom I would post pictures for her and my grandfather to see my daughter (and me and hubby)…
In any case, I have been practicing connecting with myself and the earth (sans technology) in little doses for awhile now. I set specific work hours (computer-intensive) and close my laptop for short spurts frequently. The phone was only a problem recently for a huge volunteer project I embarked on Sep 2012 – May 2013. I felt chained to the darn thing! I fell asleep with it on my nightstand, for goodness sake, and I couldn’t even go for a walk without someone needing me! Now that it is completed, the phone has reverted back to occasional use – though it did take a couple weeks!
My biggest challenge is how to set a moderate schedule and stick with it for the summer. I am a wife and mom FIRST. I also have clients and family and friends, etc. I have plenty of ideas on what to do with my non-technology time. I need help CREATING that time…….on a regular basis….
I love this idea!! I don’t know how in the world I will be able to do it, but I am sure going to try. I have been thinking a lot about how much time I spend connected to electronics and disconnected from my daughter. I am very excited for this challenge!!
My wife shared this with me today, and I thought this was a great idea. So great that once we discussed it we decided to make this a weekly habit.
Omg. What are people going 2 do when the time comes when we will have 2 live like people did a long time ago. It won’t be good. I can live without all that. I can survive off the land. Have before with no electricity no running water in the house and went to hunt for food. Actually not been but a few years ago. So honestly this is why I do come to this site sometimes to learn even more stuff about natural things. U r great. This is a good idea. People need to figure out what they r gonna do when times get really bad. We haven’t seen rough yet but id say we will. And I’m glad I know my family can survive. (Some wise advice-buy guns and ammo. We will need it. Esp before they take all our rights away.)
Patti I *love* Mackinaw Island! Have a wonderful time!
I sit and stare at (compile data on, etc) a computer all workweek long, and my chiropractor gets most of the benefit from it. I am really excited about taking three days off. Last time I unplugged was on a trip to a teensy weensy little town way up in the mountains of Colorado where cell signals simply don’t happen – I think that was 2006. I’m overdue.
I may use this time to plan my next NaNoWriMo novel :-0 I’ve never really “planned” one before. I’ve always meant to, but there was never enough time because there are just so darn many cat videos to watch.
Love the concept and totally endorse it. I will have my days of silence on the 17th & 18th after working a long stretch. My partner is not on board with the idea so I can’t realistically do the 3 day stretch on the 22nd. Nothing better than being at home in the garden with my flowers and reading a book before bed instead of TV. I sit in front of a computer and answer the phone most every day so the last thing I want when I am home is to do that!
I am going to Mackinaw Island Michigan for 3 wonderful nights over my birthday. Not only will I be detoxing from internet etc… there are no cars on the island and things are ‘slower-paced’. I can’t wait!
I was thinking about this kind of thing the other day-Great idea! I’ll be doing it this weekend as my hubby is away for business and takes the laptop with him. He can call the landline at night so we can chat before bed, my cell can stay in a drawer and the TV? I don’t give a flying fig about it at the best of times anyway. I have books ready, CD’s made, tea, wine and spa stuff organized and am looking forward to a chance to breathe and think without all the other voices I hear all the time from the internet. This way I can decide if I really want to make a go of my blog, open a ebay store and things like that as well as just enjoy the quiet. Looking forward to walk with my dogs too.
I like the idea but I just stated watching Games of Thrones. I’m only on Season 1 and have to get caught up. =)
This is a very interesting thought and I’m considering it. My main hobby is knitting and I like to think that 100’s of years ago, my ancestors were knitting things the same way I knit now….with two sticks and some string. (granted, my sticks and string are probably a little more fancy, but nonetheless, I don’t NEED electricity to knit)
We recently shut our cable tv off and don’t get good antenna reception so we have 5 channels. It was weird at first, not flipping through channels or having anything to watch but also a relief not to have pizza, politics, insurance and beauty commercials spewed at me. Being off-line will probably feel similar. Now if only I can get the 10 roving phone calls to stop calling everyday!
We haven’t had cable in about 12 years and when the big digital switch happened, we lost access to most network channels. We have a Roku for Netflix and Hulu and I love it! My kids don’t even know what a commercial is. That’s an awesome unintended side effect!
We switched off our TV account on the 28/2/14 and now only occasionally look at a downloaded movie! We watch perhaps 2 a month …
I can honestly say we do not miss it, although I just loved Master Chef Australia …
My husband and I talk and interact more, and nothing would induce me to go back to mindlessly watching boring programs and endlessly repeated adverts!
As for the Great Switch Off for 3 days – when I switch off my computer after work on Friday afternoon, it stays off until Monday morning work begins again (we work from home) so I will wait for a long weekend and then go for the Switch Off!
Does anyone remember the days when cell phones came in suitcases? I remember thinking “why would anyone want to be accessible ALL THE TIME?!?!” I held out on getting a cell phone for a long time, but got sucked in by free long distance!! Same with the internet. I am just now starting to communicate on line. I mean sure, I had to use email professionally, and the personal stuff quickly followed, but this blogging and commenting, this is quite new for me. I do take periodic technology breaks, which are crucial to my peace of mind. It is a constant source of amazement to me how many people don’t understand the need. More amusing are the people who are appalled by the idea and take it as a personal insult. I think perhaps they need to unplug more than I do!!
So, I am totally in for 3 Days of Silence Lite. My family does tend to get twitchy if I don’t answer their calls in a timely manner. And there is no way they are going to get behind this, so I am not even going to try to convince them. Maybe they will just be moved to join in on their own when they see what a great weekend I am having!
I think I will plan to spend the time at the pool and by the grill. Enjoy an old fashioned summer weekend. Finally finish reading Cradle to Cradle, by McDonough and Braumgart, which is just so inspiring. Maybe I will even get a new copy of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, and reread that. I never received it back after the last loan, and it has been awhile since I’ve enjoyed that beautiful prose and message. This type of weekend seems to call for it. I might even host a Sunday brunch before hitting the pool, but I know that this will increase my phone time throughout the weekend. I’ll have to think that through.
Ironically, joining the twitter conversation leading up to the event might be the thing that finally convinces me to start a twitter account. Hmmm. I’ll have to think that through as well.
Anyway, this is another great idea!! Thanks for listening.
I admit, I’ve been thinking I need to step back from the computer anyway, thanks to my aformentioned obsession with messages. Maybe I could do the lite version or something modified, so that I have an exception for weekend phone calls to my family, most of whom don’t live here. With some pre-planning, I could probably do it without neglecting any of my obligations.
i love you!
i have been finding so so so much to do- lots of infusing (comfrey, fir tips, rose petals in honey) and weeding and planting and watering and milking goats (i’m going to make yogurt( today maybe). it’s funny how i feel even beyond silence from phone and computer (which is not that hard) i’m looking for a little more quiet in my life, from my lists in my head, today it’s got me up…
i love summer but sometimes it’s very important for me to take my kiddo to the lake or go on a really quiet walk in the woods… even without electronics my home often feels so busy.
thanks for being here, everybody, and for your real things in your real lives!
I’ve done this a few times, and I will say that in my experience, 3 days is NOT enough time to detox from the internet! In my experience (and in the experience of friends who have tried to go sans communication) it takes 7 DAYS to readjust and really feel to full effects. Which really isn’t that long, when you think about it. After years and years of conditioned device-checking and electronic screen monitoring, you can go back to baseline in just 7 days.
When my husband and I moved to a new house a couple of years ago, there was nothing set up when we arrived. No internet, no TV, no land lines, and no cell reception. FOR TWO WEEKS. I live in a very rural area and thus was completely cut off from all forms of communication. I won’t lie to you, I wept for the internet. I wanted to look up something – ANYTHING – and even kept my desktop screen glowing for comfort during those initial dark days. I was shocked at my own reaction, to my quite literal addiction to the vast stores of unlimited and instant information, entertainment, “connection” and distraction that is the internet. I felt moody and even anxious, despite having moved to a bucolic lake cottage with the beauty of nature surrounding me. It was ridiculous.
Then something amazing happened. After one week – NO LESS – without the internet, phones, and TV, I felt AMAZING. Suddenly the entire world opened up to me, and I felt calm and grounded and present and very, very alive. I was completely over the internet. When our house went online a week later, I felt no need to check my email, or my facebook feed, or even various internet facts (I had started using actual folded maps and reference books again, and it was lovely). And when I did finally go online, I was bored after 10 minutes. Incredible and life-changing, right?
Well, yes and no. As I suspected, I very easily slipped back into a more normal internet routine, but I wasn’t happy about it. So after awhile, I got rid of my cell phone. Then I quit Facebook. These were huge steps, and very freeing, but obviously there is SO much more to the internet than just Facebook! I still find it difficult to regulate my time online, but I am getting better at it. The biggest change for me has been to really monitor how the internet makes me FEEL. It’s so easy to get caught up in junk stories (celebrity news sites, Facebook feeds, memes, etc), “how-did-I-get-here” link-hopping, and general information-overloading. It’s like eating too much junk food; you end up with a pile of empty wrappers at your feet, feeling depressed and tired, wondering how that just happened.
And just like with junk food, we know better. And just like with junk food, it’s OK to indulge a little bit every now and then, as long as it’s not too much and too often. But the internet is alllllll about too much and too often. So my solution is this: MONITOR YOUR EMOTIONS while on the internet. If you are suddenly feeling bad in your body or mind, GET OFF THE COMPUTER! Don’t switch to a new site, or try a new link, just get off (and go outside). And take some real time off every now and then. Three days is great, but longer is better. Do it until you have no desire for the internet anymore, and you’ll never forget the experience. I crave that calm, ALIVE, device-free mental space much more than I crave the internet these days, and it really helps to keep things in check 🙂
that’s awesome, mb 🙂 I totally agree about the emotions thing…
This is just what I’ve been looking for! My almost husband and I are moving cross country to VTJune 21st, then marrying there July 6th, so unfortunately we will need our cell/ email up until he wedding, but what a perfect way to start our new life in our new country house by disconnecting from our computers! Thanks for the wonferful idea
This idea doesn’t even appeal to me. 1) Many of my very good friends are people I only know online, and I don’t want to be disconnected from them. Friendship is important to me, and it’s still human reaction even when you’re doing it online. 2) I’m an author, and my business depends on staying out there and being visible. 3) I have a day job where I HAVE to be online. 4) Texting with friends is another way I stay in touch. I can’t always visit in person, so there’s the human interaction thing again.
I CAN unplug long enough to read or write. I’m not completely addicted to technology. I can go outside without my phone and enjoy my flowers and my dogs. I promise, I’m not a TOTAL techno geek. 🙂
I still think this could be a good idea for a lot of people, especially those with children at home that could use the extra attention. (Mine have all flown the nest.) It’s just not for me. And that’s what makes life interesting…we’re all different.
When I think back to when I first started really getting involved online, I’m so grateful for this ability to connect! I was a new mom, home all day with an infant and no car. I was SO LONELY. I met a group of moms online and now, 8 years later, they are still some of my closest friends. We support each other just like any close community will do, even though most of us have never met in person. They’ve seen me through SO MUCH. I also remember first finding my cousins on MySpace years ago. We hadn’t talked in years but we reconnected online and now we meet up a few times a year and stay connected online.
Cutting off doesn’t appeal to me at all. I guess I can understand why some would need to do it. Like anything, it requires balance and if you feel like you are out of balance, you should change something.
I think it’s a great idea,unfortunately I have a big 40th birthday cook-out on the 22nd. But I will do it on another 3 days!
This sounds like it is right up my alley, unfortunately…. I make a living by selling my wares on-line ( two stores.. ebay and etsy). And, although I’d have no issue with it, my customers seem to get themselves into a tizzy if I do not answer emails within hours!
It is amazing to see how, when I began selling on line 13 years ago, people were happy if you answered their emails within a few days, they seemed to realize that the internet was a tool or an amusement, but now, I frequently awaken to a customer who has sent email after email, all at ungodly hours of the night, each escalating in horror, that I had not yet responded! They seem to take it as a personal afront that I should not respond to their queries IMMEDIATELY!
Although I do my busienss on0-line, like having a retail store, I “close” at a certain time, I do not have my email forwarded to my phone ( I did consider it, but it is just not worth giving up one’s privacy and ability to relax!)and do not check it constantly, and I do not respond over the weekend, holidays or at night to ANYONE (business wise, of course).
The only phone call that I stop all to take is my husbands or family!
I sit and knit at night and read books, real ones, as well as “e” ones, and I sometimes ask that we turn off the TV and put music on instead, so we an relax a bit. And when I am on line, I refuse to play any kind of game, I am there to work, or get information about something that I am interested in, not do mindless things. I’d rather be outside or gardening, and my dog is not decore, she is my buddy and I enjoy spending real-life time with her.
I am convinced that you can integrate the internet and your chosen forms of electronic gadgetry into your life, but in moderation… like you would cake! ( Can oyu imagine if we ate cake as often as we spent on line, tweeting, messaging, texting, etc? Balance, moderation, just good old fashioned common sense! :0)
I’ll be taking 23 days of silence when I go hike the John Muir trail . I can’t wait.
I am on board for Lite version, because I will have to be at my day job for one of those days and I can’t (unfortunately) avoid emails, phone calls, or the internet whilst I’m there. But for the other two days, this is perfect. We have a friend visiting us from Belgium (his first trip to the UK) and we can fill those two days with exploration of our home city, which will let us see things we don’t usually bother with ourselves! Around that, I think I’ll be treating myself to trying out lots of homemade beauty stuff. I recently invested in tons of dried herbs and flowers and am looking for things to do with them all.
I’m actually pretty excited at the idea of being “disconnected” already!
I so want to be in and do it! But my husband is concerned about it, he uses the phone every day to talk to his family in MO (we live in AK). I would debate doing this sooner, as the 22nd is a Saturday-Monday and I work Sat and Sun, so I truly have no idea what my husband would do without the computer during those hours. Today we disconnected some and walked Exit Glacier with a picnic, but I posted pics on Facebook when we got home and found this post! I hope to see many ideas from other readers, and hopefully they won’t all be physical “go hike” stuff as my hubby is in a wheelchair and I told him of course a power chair doesn’t count as electronic in this unplugging! If I had endless time to myself I would be reading many many more books and doing more cross stitch needlepoint, but then dinner would never be made! (There was another deploration, how will we get recipes? its not like I don’t have a shelf full of cookbooks!) Does the readership/Betty think going to the one room cinema or a bar to play pinball count too much as electronic entertainment? Lets get some frugal ideas going! (maybe others like the suggestion of card games, though we got worn out on them during hotel stays)
My husband and I just did this for 8 days while camping, hiking, and looking for spring wildflowers in the UP/Pictured Rocks region of Michigan where we had no signal and we let our cell phone batteries die. I also routinely have a Shabbat every Saturday where I refuse to touch the computer, and nothing could be better than ignoring this noise. The only downfall is that we have to wade through a bunch of BS in our email when we come home, which really sucks. However, at the end of the day, we really didn’t miss anything important. To put it into perspective, my job is online/telecommuting, and all of my husband’s clients are on Facebook or use email or his website to request images. Prior to leaving on a trip we say our goodbyes, and we are back again when promised so nobody has any surprises. Our clients and family understand, and amazingly nobody dies and we do not miss a thing.
For those people commenting above about not being in contact with your spouse for X amount of days… well, that makes the idea of traveling far more romantic. Having a day-to-day play-by-play of each days’ events sucks the life out of each other’s time alone. By being in constant contact, nobody has the room to deal with situations on their own and learn and grow from that. And by constantly being in contact, you are burdening your spouse and yourself with clutter that only detracts from your time alone. Nothing is gained by this sharing of the mundane. Whether you are the traveler or you are the one left behind, you both need to become comfortable in the new mental space that comes with being apart and grow from it. When you are reunited in person, that is the time to talk about your experience after you have had time to edit out the crap from your story.
I’m in. Actually I already have that weekend “unplugged” because I’m going camping for the solstice!
I’m probably in. I need to look at my calendar, to see what’s going on those 3 days. I know it will be difficult, but doable. As I’m sitting here, rolling this around in my mind, I’m realizing one issue I might have is no access to music. Currently, my only source of music is my computer. That part of it could be very challenging for me.
I’m in for the lite version as I really need my cell phone on at all times – I won’t be using it for other than answering calls though and hoping that no one will actually call LOL
I’m working on June 22nd (and again on June 25th) so I won’t have 3 days for total digital silence, working at our family business with a computer cash register, but that’s its only function so no surfing or anything like that.
I’m not sure what I’ll be doing the other two days but spending time with my fiancé, our families, probably doing some bird watching, taking a trip somewhere, reading and probably some jewelrymaking sounds like a nice way to spend those days.
Thanks for coming up with the idea and sharing it with the rest of us.
Love your posts <3
Yay, Ann-Charlotte! I look forward to *not* talking to you for three whole days! (Hehe.)
Seriously, though, SO glad you’re on board. I think you’ll find, over the next two weeks, a solid excitement for spending this time “unplugged.” I love, love, love the connected and information age, but sometimes we could use a disconnect in order to remember who we are – without all *this*.
Seriously, I can´t understand that. Why going extreme and being online all the time, then offline for whatever time? I don´t get it. But I´m not a fan of extreme. Keeping balance appeals much more to me than making much noise about nothing.
I don´t wanna sound so harsh, just my opinion. And I love your blog very much. It has given me a ot of helpful advices. Thank you for that!
Greetings from sunny Germany!
I’m totally in love with balance, too. But, y’know, sometimes a detox is in order. I wouldn’t advocate going to an extreme all the time (just like you wouldn’t do a detox every month), but spending dedicated time reconnecting – without distractions – doesn’t seem terribly extreme to me. I suppose it depends on your definition of what balance is when you’re on the lookout for opportunities to bring yourself (inside, without outside thoughts and distractions) into personal balance. 😉
I am in!! My mom and I are going on a trip to see family back East, so it’ll be the perfect time! It’ll suck not talking to my husband for 3 days, but it’ll make that long conversation when I get home Tuesday that much more exciting! I think it will be wonderful to disconnect (and reconnect) during my visit with family I haven’t seen in almost a decade.
Oooh. Isn’t it true that the time we spend “all the way” apart just strengthens the time we’re together? I think about all the times I’ve left to go visit my sister, and occasionally instead of just cherishing my time “without Skip,” so I can have fun stories to tell him, I’ll just be like, “Why isn’t he answering his phone? Good grief.”
Ahhh, the romance of yesteryear, when you had to wait in delicious anticipation to talk to your love.
Jennifer Kirkby Tatro
I am on board and do still have strong feelings about that fabulous feeling when you get lost in a book. Sometimes I don’t start a book because I know I have work to do and it is easier or less engaging to check the Internet, than to wholeheartedly get involved in a story. What does that mean?
We will be on vacation those three days in June, and most often we do not check our email, which our families know. But meeting up with friends, this may be hard, without texting. So we may have to do it on the days when we are not staying with our friends in Paris.
I like the idea of three days, because we may go a day, but three is a good way to begin to feel the true memory of what it used to feel like. I hope to enjoy the simple things more and obsess about that vintage thing I wish for on etsy (and whether it sold) less. That, in a nutshell, is what I have let myself become when my boyfriend is away. I have filled my extra time with less depth, more busy work. Because I am working too hard at work, I need an escape, but a quick one, and the Internet can be that if you let it.
Thank you for sharing your interest and passion. I am excited to see what thoughts we allow ourselves to continue, when we have all this time to not be distracting ourselves. I already have three books in my suitcase because I can’t wait for the plane ride so that I can get lost in a book and cry in front of random strangers because the plot is just so gripping. Oh, that makes me think, “what words do we use more in sarcasm about things on the Internet, that we may truly use during the three days?” Gripping, enthralling, relaxing… I may have to keep going as the three days unfold. Let’s do it!
Oooh. Paris! So jealous. I can’t think of a better place to “digitally detox,” even if it’s just for dedicated fits and spurts.
I love your thought about “gripping, thralling, relaxing.” The internet is such an instantaneous thing, unrefined as a whole, and while that’s beautiful, you often see a mish-mash of momentary thoughts – not carefully honed stories that are gripping. Books are my favorite.
Enjoy your vacation!
What a great idea! Unfortunately, my entire livelihood relies on digital communication and interaction, so I simply cannot spend 3 consecutive days AWOL from all things digital. BUT… I DO remember the days before “this” and I miss them terribly! So one of my business decisions for 2013 was to completely “unplug” every Sunday and spend the day with my family, outdoors, reading actual books and print magazines that I enjoy, crafting or creating something new in the kitchen, home improvement projects and gardening- all of the things that I simply love doing without the darned digital leashes! My husband has been supportive and joined me in unplugging on Sundays and our daughter enjoys it a great deal too! So, although it isn’t practical for me to unplug for 3 consecutive days, I look forward to hearing your suggestions and ideas that I might be able to incorporate into my Sundays unplugged 🙂
Ahh, y’know, I thought the same thing, “How on earth can I be a blogger and run an Etsy store and take three days off?” Yesterday, though, I was at the post office waiting in line and instead of enjoying myself, just taking in what was going on, I found myself thinking, “Better check email and facebook while I wait.”
Soo … that was enough for me to decide that a “detox” was just what the internal doctor ordered.
I look forward to hearing my suggestions, too! Heh. SO glad you’re hanging out for the ideas. Mwah!
I’m going to do this, Ms. Crunch. I’m on board. Yes, my computer makes my financial living among other things but you know what? The sky won’t fall if I disconnect for 3 days. I won’t actually DIE!
The fact that I felt a twinge when it was suggested tells me this is probably a very healthy move (and we’ll see how challenging). When I was in my twenties I had to talk with the public to make a living. On Sundays I’d try to NOT talk for the whole day. It was very difficult (for me) but rejuvenating and a good recoup for the upcoming week. It was a day when I was able to just not have to speak, things slowed down & I could hear my own rhythms falling into place. It was only a day & I wasn’t able to always complete it but it was something. This was in the 1970’s. Now I’m 65 and that’s a long time since I’ve even thought about no speaking. Disconnecting from electronics sounds great (I feel the knee jerk reaction why I can’t do it, however) and hope that my excuses won’t outweigh the benefits. Here’s to our health and your great idea!