We all know that technology is addicting and can wreak havoc on our mental health—which is why I try to practice digital minimalism. Digital minimalism doesn’t mean going completely off the grid (something that seems impossible in today’s world—especially if you’re an AU student). For me, digital minimalism meant taking a hard look at how I spend my time connected to a device and eliminating the things that didn’t add value to my life. It also meant being honest about how much technology my kids were exposed to, and the negative impact that excessive TV, tablets, or video games had on their behaviour.
The first thing to go was social media. All of it. I deleted my Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat accounts. I’ll be honest, I already didn’t post often on social media, but I could waste hours scrolling TikTok or Instagram when I should have been studying. Not to mention that constantly looking at the highlight-reel of other people’s lives often left me feeling inadequate—my body, my family, my life didn’t look anything like my For You page on TikTok. At first I was worried about staying in contact with my friends and family, but I have realized that the people I really want to stay in contact with will put in the effort to text, call, or meet up in person. I also decided to cut out other “digital noise” such as time-wasting apps like Reddit, committing to checking my email only twice a day, and only reading the news in the morning while I have my coffee.
That being said, I still like to listen to podcasts while driving or getting ready, and I keep my Youtube app as my guilty pleasure. I don’t watch much TV, but sometimes it’s nice to burn-out watching make-up tutorials after a long day. My kids get an about an hour (give or take) of TV per day, and tablets and handheld game consoles were given away. Of course, I still use the internet frequently for school related purposes, as does my daughter. I online shop for most of my clothes and pay all my bills online. I believe digital minimalism is about finding the balance that works for you: what parts of technology help you be your most productive, happy self?
It’s been about two years since I began practicing digital minimalism, and I have never been happier. I don’t feel the need to compare my life to others (at least, not as much as before—I’m still human!). I am certainly more productive than I used to be, and, most importantly, I’m significantly more present. I much prefer experiencing my life and watching my children experience theirs in the moment rather than through a camera lens. I’ve learned what it means to be mindful; how to sit outside in the sunlight without a screen in my face, simply appreciating the sights and sounds around me. I’ve even rediscovered my love of reading.
Taking a step back from technology has brought so much joy into my life. Why not give it a try and see for yourself?