Venetia La Manna knows how to switch off. As much as her life as a fair fashion campaigner, podcaster and digital content creator involves being online, Venetia is passionate about unplugging and taking tech breaks as much as she possibly can. Here, she comes with her tips for squeezing your screen time and reconnecting with the real world.
What are your tips for anyone who wants to start a regular digital detox?
Start by swapping your phone for an old school alarm clock to wake you up in the morning. That way, the first thing you do won’t be scrolling on your phone. And then if you can, try to turn your phone off at least an hour before you go to sleep.
Could you talk us through an ideal or usual digital detox weekend?
My working weeks are quite busy, so I fill my offline weekends with lots of cooking, reading, relaxing and exercising. By Friday I’m usually feeling a bit frazzled thanks to our old friend digital fatigue. So, if I can, I’ll take the afternoon off to see friends. On Friday nights, my husband and I love to order-in and watch Gogglebox. We are true creatures of habit.
I tend to start Saturday with a workout followed by a lazy breakfast of homemade coffee and waffles with all the toppings. At this point I really start to relax and recharge my batteries. I love an early night, so my ideal Saturday evening would be spent making sushi at home, watching a film and reading a book. In case you hadn’t already guessed, I am WILDLY fun.
My perfect Sunday starts with a walk on Hampstead Heath followed by a trip to the farmers’ market to pick up produce for the week. Sunday is also laundry day, so while I do the washing I’m usually pottering around my flat. This is also my favourite time to look at my diary for the week ahead and plan my schedule. Occasionally, I’ll do a little work or admin, perhaps my taxes (so fun) or researching for my podcast (genuinely fun). I enjoy this time because I can be really focussed on the task in hand as I know I’m not going to be disturbed by emails or social media. Later in the day, I love to visit a local café for some cake, pop into my local charity shops and cook something slow and nourishing like risotto for dinner.
How do you take that offline weekend feeling into the week when work requires being online so much?
I try to do as many activities as I can without my phone. So leaving my phone at home if I go for a walk, or even just minor things like sitting on the loo without scrolling – don’t pretend you don’t do it!
Do you journal? If so, what do you tend to focus on?
I try to make time for journaling every day. I have a “one line a day” five year diary which I write in every night before bed and I also have a wellness journal from Papier which I love, where I note down how I sleep, my intentions for the day, the kind of self-care I’m going to do that day and lots of ramblings about my mental health during that time.
What’s the best thing you’ve gained from your digital detox weekends?
Headspace, mental clarity and perspective. Social media can be really draining and I find by setting good habits with it at weekends, I also have better boundaries with it during the weeks. The internet is an unavoidable part of most of our lives now, so I try really hard to ensure that I’m using it, rather than it’s using me. I have to make sure I spend time away from it in order to rest and also remind myself that the world is bigger than pixels!
What item of stationery could you not live without?
Are you a doodler or a neat notetaker?
Both but never on the same day!
Lined, plain or dotted notebooks?
Pen or pencil?
Plans in your diary or reflections in your journal?
Writing plans in my diary.
List ticking or creative thinking?
Friday night or Sunday morning?
Sunday morning, I’m usually still a bit wired on Friday nights.
Morning lie in or afternoon nap?
Strong coffee or smooth hot chocolate?
A strong coffee, with silky smooth oat milk!