Ever con­sid­ered a break from the lit­tle on­line world in your phone? Find out how tak­ing time away from so­cial me­dia can help grow your cre­ativ­ity

Mollie Makes - - Contents - Words: LOTTIE STOREY Illustration: ABBEY WITHING­TON

Why we all need to take a dig­i­tal detox

So­cial me­dia makes us feel con­nected. It’s where we go to vent, to get in­spired and to find like-minded cre­atives. You’re never alone with all those in­ter­net friends pop­ping up on the screen all the time, al­ways there. For some, that’s in­cred­i­bly re­as­sur­ing. The flip­side? So­cial me­dia is a hun­gry beast and it’s hard – some­times al­most im­pos­si­ble – to stop feed­ing it, let alone take a break from it.

“So­cial me­dia apps are like junk food,” be­lieves Cather­ine Price, au­thor of How to Break Up With Your Phone. “They’re fun to in­dulge in once in a while, but it’s easy to cross the line from fun to feel­ing gross.” And, just like junk food, it’s im­por­tant to no­tice how you gen­uinely feel af­ter the ini­tial buzz of us­ing so­cial apps. “Do they en­er­gise you? When you fin­ish, do you feel good? Where’s your per­sonal line from feel­ing good to feel­ing gross?” asks Cather­ine.

Some­one who no­ticed ex­actly this is Blog­tac­u­lar di­rec­tor, Kat Molesworth (­tac­u­ “Hav­ing joined Instagram when it came out, by 2017 I was post­ing daily with­out fail. Grad­u­ally I be­gan to no­tice that my emo­tions were tan­gled up in the re­ac­tions my pho­tos elicited within the app. Add to that the un­easy mix of FOMO and com­par­i­son, I knew it wasn’t healthy for me any longer.” What Kat de­scribes is fa­mil­iar to many of us, and is mainly due to the dopamine hit our brains get when the likes and fol­lows roll in (or don’t). But while we can’t a!ect the im­pact so­cial me­dia apps have on our neu­rol­ogy, we can look at how we choose to use them.


If it feels im­pos­si­ble to cut that con­nec­tion and take a break, then surely there’s a com­pelling ar­gu­ment for switching o! com­pletely. But what if the on­line world for­gets about us if we’re gone for too long? “I cut back how of­ten I posted, and stopped look­ing at the app daily,” shares Kat. “While it was a wrench at first be­cause many of my on­line friend­ships ex­isted on In­sta, as time wore on I was en­joy­ing work­ing on my im­ages for my­self once more. Re­moved from the con­stant cy­cle of scrolling and com­par­ing, I was more re­laxed and present.” What Kat no­ticed is pretty key. Yes, the po­ten­tial is there for us to lose fol­low­ers while we’re away, but the ben­e­fits far out­weigh any costs.

Kym Grimshaw is a pho­tog­ra­pher, stylist and blog­ger ( www.on­the­p­ “I was forced to un­plug for a week on a round trip of the Scot­tish High­lands (no sig­nal!) and that’s when I first no­ticed the di!er­ence,” she ex­plains. “I felt present, more en­gaged in con­ver­sa­tion – like my senses were height­ened. A whole lot calmer, too. When I’m on hol­i­day now I go com­pletely cold turkey, delete all the o!end­ing apps o! my phone, re­move all temp­ta­tion! It doesn’t just serve me well at the time but I come back with more cre­ative en­ergy and new ideas to put out.”

Cather­ine agrees. “Your phone is not a source of plea­sure that you’re deny­ing your­self. It’s an ob­sta­cle that is get­ting in the way of what you ac­tu­ally want to ac­com­plish. In other words, by us­ing your phone less, you’re giv­ing your­self more time to do what you care about.” And if what you care about is be­ing cre­ative, then just think how much in­spi­ra­tion is cur­rently ebbing away while you’re scrolling.


An­other reg­u­lar dig­i­tal detoxer is Natasha Den­ness, a cre­ative life and busi­ness coach ( www.can­dy­pop. For Natasha, “spend­ing time o"ine en­ables me to de­velop ideas and to check I’m work­ing to­wards my goals, free from the dis­trac­tion of other peo­ple’s jour­neys. It also helps me to re­store the bal­ance, which en­cour­ages me to use the in­ter­net in a more in­ten­tional way on my re­turn.”

And it’s those small ev­ery day mo­ments that make up our lives. Amer­i­can nov­el­ist James Sal­ter wrote: “Life is weather. Life is meals. Lunches on a blue checked cloth on which salt has spilled. The smell of to­bacco. Brie, yel­low ap­ples, wood-han­dled knives.” No­tice them, com­mit them to mem­ory – just try do­ing it with your eyes, not your de­vice. You’ll be sur­prised at how much more you be­gin to see, and what ideas will bub­ble to the sur­face when you have a lit­tle more headspace to let them flow.

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