Digital Detox

By Trina Haynes

The dictionary definition of Digital Detox is: “a period of time during which a person refrains from using electronic devices such as smartphones or computers, regarded as an opportunity to reduce stress or focus on social interaction in the physical world.”

Taking a break from all the digital in our life for 24-72 hours is a practice everyone should adopt. I’m not going to lecture you about “making a real connection with people” versus an online connection. And no, I don’t want you to you to “smash the machines.” The goal is to feel refreshed when you plug back in.

In order to do this and reap all the benefits, you have to abstain from all forms of screen-time. No smartphone, TV, computer, tablet, smart-watch… you get the picture. That also means no Strava, MapMyRide or any other tracking app. Bike computers and cameras are okay so that after your detox you can let the world know what you did (we all know it didn’t happen unless you post about it online).

You will likely go through smartphone withdrawals. There is something called The Phantom Vibration Syndrome which makes you think your phone is vibrating or ringing when it’s not.

Is it worth it? From my own experience, yes. Technology is constantly fighting for our attention, the buzzing of a text or a Facebook “like” that releases dopamine high to keep us locked in. When we remove that distraction, we can think and focus without interruption. Studies show that a digi-detox can also improve memory and help you sleep better.

The best remedy for technology overload is nature. Another reason to go ride your bike! Woohoo!

Plan a weekend camping and mountain biking, or an overnight bikepacking adventure with friends. However, I recently experienced that the challenge of being around people during a personal digi-detox is that almost everyone else will be on their phones. Bring reading materials, plus a pen and paper for idea-jotting. Or go the distance and make a group decision that there is no technology, except one emergency phone that is off. Then sit back and enjoy.

Do you ever engage in digital detox periods? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments!

  • Roo Harris

    I have never owned a cell phone, period! Never will! I constantly enjoy what goes on around me without the cell distractions that the majority appear to be addicted to.

    Living in Paradise on the north coast of California is the best distraction there is. And, it baffles me how the tourists come to this lush beauty giving more attention to their cell phone display than what is around them. There are 150 miles of single and double track to get lost on away from the daily digital distractions . Our tall redwoods do a great job of blocking cell signals which only exasperates the digital tourists. Am I a cell phone retro-grouch? You bet!