How to Have a Virtual Vacation

Occasionally I am fiercely antisocial. I don’t know if I use up all of my positivity and enthusiasm allocation for a time period, or I just get too tired / stressed to interact with people outside work, or I just get drained by some people, but when all and/or any of these things occur I shut down. Communication ceases and, not to be too Greta Garbo about it, I want to be alone

You know how there was that study into why cats love boxes so much and it turns out it's because they like a little space of their own to chill out in? That's me. I'm a stressed cat. I need my box to hang out in every once in a while.


When I feel like this I put myself into a state which I like to call a virtual vacation. This means I cease a lot of my communication with the outside world (aside from essentials, like mother and best friend). I don’t respond to emails. Texts will get a one-word reply. Generally, I’m not interested in anyone but me. Selfish? Yes. But sometimes we need to be selfish; time is precious and we split our time between so many things and people that in the modern world selfishness is occasionally necessary and important. I’m re-categorising selfishness in this case; maybe is should be called self-inflicted solitary, or mandatory antisocialism; something which terms it to mean it’s your decision, made on your terms and up to you when you choose to lift the communications ban. 

Ever feel like you need one of these? Well, you’ve come to the right person for guidance – I am a pro at this. Here’s my guide on how to give yourself a virtual vacation. 

VV’s can be happening for a number of reasons; you might want to drop off the radar from the outside world for a bit and just focus on life at home, you might want to have a social-media presence hiatus (without the dreadful flouncing posts on Facebook ‘I’m deleting tomorrow, so if you want to stay in touch, let me know’ , which inevitably leads to a thousand ‘R U OKAY HUN?’ comments upon such a status), you might want to ease off the amount of reliability you have on your phone (‘my battery is on 10% and I’m not near my charger … how will I LIVE??’) or you might just be tired and need a break from people (this is usually my reason). The thing is, it’s YOUR decision and people have to respect that. The internet does not own you, your friends can’t badger you into responding to them and boundaries have to be made so that you can still enjoy your life around everything that’s happening in your virtual world. TIME OUT. 

And I promise you, wholeheartedly, the internet will still be there when you decide to come back. So just give yourself a break when you need it. Here's some top tips on how to virtually switch off.

Notifications Off

I barely have any notifications on my phone and I like it this way. I have a couple of my favourite social apps on Badges, but that's it and nothing gets onto my locked screen aside from phone calls and texts. If the screen is black, the world of social media cannot disturb me. I did this once when I needed a break and have not put the notifications back on since. Blissful.

Use Your Tech For What You Need

My phone is my connection to the outside world, my iPad is less so. I use it for video calls, but that's it. It's a back-up tv, a blog reader and a Kindle. If I'm in bed reading a book on my iPad, chances are I do not want to be disturbed. 

Flight Mode

This mode is a gift! I tend to keep my phone next to my bed overnight (clock and emergencies) but I have it switched to flight mode so I cannot be disturbed. Putting it on that mode conserves battery power (and if you charge your devices in flight mode they will charge in half the time, useful for a quick charge if you're on the way out).

Use Email Searches 

Go to your email client. Search 'unsubscribe'. Look through the list of emails that come up and click 'unsubscribe' on the large majority of them (as if they have that word in the text,  they are mailers). You are welcome. 


Alert People

Okay, maybe not with a flouncy Facebook post, but I tell people when I'm vanishing for a bit. During these periods I will still be in communication with the important ones, so they don't need to know. Others, send them a polite message. Then stop responding.

I think in the modern world, with internet access on everything we own, it’s important to just disconnect and be quiet every now and then. Remember who we were before we had a Twitter feed to update and Facebook check-ins to do? It’s very easy to forget to live our lives in real-life these days (you wouldn’t believe how many times a week I utter the words ‘I could get a blog post out of this’ or ‘I’m just snapping a few photos for an article’) so a virtual vacation reminds me to step back, switch my phone off and just breathe. 

Life is for living, after all, and not just through an Instagram filter.

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