Coronavirus. Making the most of the quarantine.

Coronavirus – Lockdown time = detox time

My friend Flo from Chicago has kindly shared with me one of her strategy to cope with the quarantine, and to make the most of this time to start a device and media detox…

When Covid-19 spread was declared as a pandemy by WHO 3 weeks ago, I was still in denial. It took time to sink in. And then it did. For 2 weeks, I called and reached out to all my friends, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM, emails, LinkedIn, you name it : I used all the communication tools available to stay connected. I had videocalls with my brothers on WhatsApp and FB Messenger ; BlueJeans video calls with my friends back in the UAE, the only free app still operating under the radar there, and Bottim video calls with others, the official provider from the government. I had Zoom and Google Meets videomeetings with the teachers of my kids. I had Skype video calls with their French teacher. I had Totok videocalls with my colleagues & clients. I downloaded HouseParty to have a drink with my besties last Sunday. I followed the links to the online drawing course and placed the kids in front of the screen, feeling good about it: they learn and are quiet at the same time, yeay. I filmed myself to send videos to friends back in France. I watched all the memes, all the funny videos, that I shared with other groups. I did a yoga class via an online course. I was everywhere, connected all the time, afraid to miss out on any opportunity to see all of the people I love, anxious to do it right so that the kids don’t miss their teachers and fellow students. I was in a digital bubble.

After 2 weeks of over-digital connection with everyone, I felt over-whelmed by calls, social media, news, video chats, memes, gifs, and so on. So much time spent in front of my screens. I went into digital detox last week-end  initially for 2 days. It’s been 6 days now and I feel so much better, more focused on my kids to spend quality time with them, drawing, painting, sitting at their desk and talking to them.

I didn’t do that much change for my detox, but I removed Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram from my phone. Now I know that I was really addicted to them, connecting tens of times per day to refresh my feed, chatting with influencers, friends, sharing stories.

I have also decided not to join each and every single one of my kids’ teachers’ meetings. If they miss out on a few homework, they will survive. We do plenty of other stuff.

This is a learning experience and I feel I am cheating. I never really left the social media anyway, not really : I kept WhatsApp, how could I live without? I still read my emails, I still read my 5 or 6 newspapers daily. I still chat everyday with my friends, with my mum, my cousins, my bros. I still send text messages to my friends here in the US.

But I enjoy the mini-break. I breathe. I rediscover how to be bored, how to just do nothing and not to browse automatically at a newsfeed just because I have a bit of free time. I want to push myself more though. I have downloaded 4 or 5 newspapers apps since Covid-19 entered our lives because I wanted to know everything about it, both in Europe and in the US. I could probably remove a few. And do I really need to play 4 Scrabble matches at once on WordFeud?

My next challenge is to spend 1 entire day without looking at my phone. Not to read my WhatsApp messages as soon as I wake up sounds surreal to me, because yes, until now, this is still what I do. That will be a tough one.

No phone at all? I think I can do this. You in with me?


Copyright © 2020 by Nadege Bourdin Fayard

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