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Signs it's time to book a digital detox

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

Take a tech-free trip

For the past few years, digital-detox vacations have been getting more and more popular, but do you need one? We're sharing some telltale signs that indicate you might want to think about booking one - from being unable to go two minutes without sneaking a peek at your phone to interacting with people online more than you do in real life.

Woman on smartphone in bed

1

You text and talk at the same time

There’s nothing wrong with multitasking, but you might need to take a tech break if you’re constantly talking and texting at the same time. As much as you think you might be listening to the other person, you can’t fully focus on what they’re saying if you’re also composing a text to someone else. Being unable to focus on one person and one conversation without looking at or using your phone means it’s time to detach — ideally on a deserted beach somewhere.

2

Your phone goes to bed with you
and greets you in the a.m.

Our phones act as many things, and one of them is often an alarm clock. If that’s the case, you’ll have your phone by your bed, but when you nod off scrolling through Instagrams and panic when you can’t feel your phone first thing in the morning while still half asleep, you might be getting too dependent on technology. Go to bed at night and wake up to the sound of crashing waves — not by groping around in the dark for your phone. A digital detox (where there won’t be WiFi in the rooms) can show you that you don’t need your phone with you at bedtime or when you wake up.

3

You feel naked without your phone

Have you ever accidentally left the house without your phone, realized it halfway to work and then panicked? We know you need your phone, especially on the job, but it’s that deep sense of no-phone panic that makes you a prime candidate for a digital detox. As much as you feel like your phone or tablet is a must-have in all situations, a digital-detox vacation can remind you of how much more there is to life than updating your Facebook status or seeing how many “likes” your most recent Instagram post has received in the last hour. When you can’t get online, you’re forced to experience the world in real time — and it’s worth the lack of WiFi.

4

Your phone or iPad goes everywhere with you

What would you say if someone requested that you come to dinner without your phone? If your first instinct would be to sneak in your favorite device despite the warning, you could benefit from a digital detox, where there may be minimal or no WiFi or cell service available. It’s nice to have a phone in case you need to call for a ride, check on an important e-mail or inform your spouse or child you’re going to be late, but having your phone with you doesn’t mean you need to use it. Being somewhere where you can’t use it can teach you just how superfluous our technology can be, especially when there are sunsets to watch, massages to get, mountains to climb or new towns to explore.

5

Your online friends get more time
with you than your real-life ones

Tweeting back and forth with someone you’ve never met IRL (in real life) or commenting on Facebook photos doesn’t count as real social interaction. So if screen-only interactions make up a large portion of your weekly social time, you might need to relearn how satisfying those IRL conversations can be. A digital-detox vacation, whether with a significant other or a friend, will show you how great it can feel to talk to people face to face, rather than through a screen. Social media is ideal for quick messages and keeping up to date with far-away family and friends, but it should never replace real-time, in-person relationships.

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