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Digital detox: Isabelle Racicot celebrates spring break 2017

15/03/2017 Isabelle Racicot

Following many years of failed attempts, I finally did it: No emails and no social media platforms were accessed during my latest Spring Break vacation! No need to let my followers know where I am or who I am with, Instagram can wait to see my #lategrams upon my return, and there’s definitely ne need to check my Twitter feed. In fact, I didn’t even feel the need to know what was going on back at home or to know the latest controversy Donald Trump was heading. No, when I left my house for my family vacation, I gave myself the right to do absolutely nothing this trip, but to take advantage of time with my husband and kids without feeling bad, and without sharing it with the entire world.

It’s the same thing I tell myself every time I leave for Spring Break. I promise myself to not work, to not check emails, and to completely let go, but it never goes according to plan. After two or three days, I always end up caving and waking up one morning to check and make sure there’s nothing “too urgent” waiting for me. The technology relapse is then usually followed by a moment where I need to convince myself that checking isn’t that big of a deal, that I’m still enjoying my vacation and that my kids didn’t even notice because they’re still sleeping.

If I’m perfectly honest, even when I’m on vacation I feel like I have to respond to urgent questions and even more so since I launched my own business.

The sad reality is that I’m not the only one from the looks of my fellow vacationers looking at their emails while they sip a strawberry daiquiri under the palm trees at Royalton Sainte Lucie. It’s a widespread mental illness!

But this vacation, without any particular effort, I managed to not open my laptop, let alone look at emails or social media. I had the best seven nights of sleep I’ve had all year! Do you think there’s a correlation? I took advantage of every second in Sainte Lucie, to visit the island, swim, play with my family, laugh and to enjoy nature.

Hard Reality

When I opened the 84 emails that were waiting for me upon my return, I realized at what point we are greatly solicited everyday. Living in the era or wifi and the internet is like giving the world 24/7 access to yourself. What’s more, people expect to hear back from you within 48 hours and we’ve allowed ourselves to accept follow-up emails like “Hi, I still haven’t heard back from you…”. What’s even more surprising is receiving emails like “I know you’re on vacation, but I’m assuming you’re going to look at your emails, so can you write back to me because I’m at work...”. NO! We need to collectively put an end to this. When we’re on vacation, we’re on vacation, that is that! The world won’t stop spinning, the stock market won’t crash and your colleague can replace you while you’re away. We also need to respect those who are on vacation, so let’s help them by not sending them emails.

Disconnecting from technology has done so much good for me. I’m going back to work with enthusiasm, energy and the feeling of having actually took a vacation! I’m back rested and motivated.

For now on, it’s non-negotiable for me: On vacation, I won’t be bringing my laptop!