Digital detox: The importance of ‘going offline’ and reconnecting with myself

Mar 05, 2023
Source: Getty

I have just been transported back to a time in my life (1995) by a long weekend in country NSW with no wi-fi and sporadic mobile phone reception.  

Not only no technology but on our first night a massive thunderstorm knocked out the electricity.

All we had were candles, a beautiful starry night, and each other’s company.  

The following day our power was fully restored, but no technology to speak of, and instead, we enjoyed listening to bird songs and feeding the friendly goats and alpacas in the neighbouring fields. Reading books, walking, and swimming in the pool to escape the heat. And actually talking to each other.

We reconnected, laughed a lot, and ate a lot.  And no one was sitting constantly scrolling through their smartphones.  

In today’s fast-paced world, digital devices have become an integral part of our daily lives, making it challenging to get away from the constant barrage of information and notifications. 

However, taking a break for a few days without these distractions can do wonders for our mental health and physical well-being. 

Here are a few reasons why it is worth considering a digital detox. 

Reduce Stress and Anxiety 

Many studies have shown that excessive use of technology can increase our stress and anxiety levels.  A digital break from constant stimulation allows us to focus on the present moment and reduce those levels. 

Improve Sleep Quality 

Blue light emitted from electronic devices can disrupt our circadian rhythm making it difficult to fall asleep.  If you keep this out of your bedroom, you are more likely to wake up feeling refreshed and energised. 

Enhance Relationships  

We found spending time with each other without the distraction of technology was deepening our relationships and fostering a stronger connection.  This can lead to a feeling of emotional well-being. We had a lot of fun together…

Promote Mindfulness 

Mindfulness is all about the practice of being present and fully engaged in the current moment. This is much easier to achieve without a smartphone constantly in your hand and ultimately helps promote thoughtfulness and reduces stress. 

Boost Creativity 

It gives you time to look around, and think more creatively and it can spark imagination and make us think beyond our daily routine.  

In our case, it gave us a chance to spend time in nature which stimulates our senses in a way that technology cannot.  


It also gave us a chance to have ‘unplugged’ playtime.  Whether that was opening a board game, drawing, or simply daydreaming. All these things provide an opportunity to experience the world around us with all our senses and can inspire innovative and creative ideas. 

Do It Yourself Detox

If you want to try to have a digital detox at the home start by having realistic goals i.e., perhaps a few hours a day or one full day each week.  

During the time normally spent on your technology, plan activities to do instead.  

Perhaps reading, exercising, walking, and spending time in nature. Baking, crafting, carpentry or meeting up with friends and family. Anything that keeps you absorbed in activities you enjoy.

Make it a regular thing and notice the benefits to your mental health when not constantly checking messages or notifications. 

But if you do slip up and check your phone or computer, don’t beat yourself up.  A digital detox is about making small changes and being kind to yourself. 

Generation Gap

We certainly found on our digital break it was much easier on our generation than the youngsters and perhaps that is something we can help them with.   

Societal levels of anxiety and stress seemed much less in my youth, due possibly to a slower pace of life without the constant 24-hour news cycle.   

It is hard to tell how much being constantly connected to a news source and demands on our time has increased anxiety. But it makes sense that in the same way, people look forward to a few weeks off work or family demands each year, that a little time off tech will have the same relaxing benefits. 

Our holiday cottages owners actively decided not to include wi-fi in their properties to truly allow guests to wind down and enjoy their break.  

And I expect there will be a few more specialist tech de-tox holidays popping up over the years to come.

Back in the busy landscape of metropolitan Sydney, life quickly returned to “normal”. Children reply to questions while scrolling or even typing on their devices unless reminded not to. 

Could I live without technology or even want to? 

No, not at all but for those three days in country NSW it was absolute bliss. 

And it did inspire me to have certain times each week outside of working hours to be completely detached from my tech.

And knowing the benefits for my mental health, do it without guilt and with enthusiasm. 

Not exactly unavailable but not constantly available either.  

It has been a breath of fresh air putting technology aside for a few hours each day, not unlike our soul-restoring break in the countryside.  

And one I would recommend giving a try for yourself if you have sometimes found yourself checking your phone just once too often!


Keen to share your thoughts with other 60-pluses? You can sign up as a contributor and submit your stories to Starts at 60. While you’re at it, why not join the Starts at 60 Bloggers Club to talk to other writers in the Starts at 60 community and learn more about how to write for Starts at 60.

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up