Addiction News

Digital detox with embroidery on National Embroidery Day

One of the best ways to stick to a digital detox is to replace time online with an analogue activity. This National Embroidery Day, we know just the one!

Digital detox with embroidery on National Embroidery Day

Post-lockdown we at Time To Log Off are encouraging you to put your screens down and engage in some real-world activities. Through our #SummerUnplugged challenge we want to get you out of your doom-scroll-hole and back in the physical world via some digital detox. One of the best ways to stick to your new lifestyle is through finding analogue alternatives to screentime such as – embroidery! So, on National Embroidery Day, 30th July, we’re celebrating all the ways that needlework can help you on the journey to digital wellbeing.

The Royal School of Needlework

We’ve been big fans of the home of beautiful embroidery, The Royal School of Needlework, at Time To Log off since we first recommended one of their courses in a Christmas gift list. The RSN has been promoting the unique benefits of embroidery since 1872 – well before digital devices created a need for embroidery to help a digital detox! They are based at the historic Hampton Court Palace in the UK, and host a myriad of different courses and programmes to teach everyone from beginners through to advanced embroiderers new skills. They even have a degree programme: a BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery Degree validated by the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) which enables many keen needleworkers to stretch their wings and work for big names such as Alexander McQueen. They famously worked on the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress! 30th July is not only National Embroidery Day but also World Friendship Day, very fitting considering the many friendships made through the RSN embroidery studio this year as courses were taken online in the pandemic, and made available to people all across the globe.

Digital detox with embroidery on National Embroidery Day
A degree student embroidering under the watchful eye of a tutor

Idle hands?

The average adult spends 8 hours online every day. We pick up and touch our phone around 2,617 times a day. Since lockdown, we’re spending 70-80% more time on our phones according to Australia’s National Broadband Network. If we want to improve our digital wellbeing, we all need to set aside time for some digital detox. For many of us, the habit of reaching for our phone has become so instinctive we don’t even realise we’re doing it. One of the best ways to fight against this habit is to keep our hands busy. We’re fans of embroidery as a fantastic analogue activity for this. It’s not repetitive and, no matter how good at it you are, you always need to be using both hands – leaving no room for a quick Twitter scroll!

Digital detox with embroidery on National Embroidery Day
The work of a day class student

Busy brain?

Our brain processes are suffering with all the time we’re spending on screens. Our concentration is deteriorating, our creativity waning and our mental health declining. Embroidery is a perfect anecdote for all of this. After WW1, the Royal School of Needlework women actually visited soldiers in hospital and taught them needlepoint. It gave disabled vets a way to earn a living, and also helped relieve their post traumatic stress. Some of those soldiers went on to create an altarpiece for St Paul’s Cathedral in London, under the instruction of the RSN. If embroidery was powerful enough for WW1 vets to recuperate with, we’re thinking there must be a lot it can do for us today.

Digital detox with embroidery on National Embroidery Day
Day class students enjoying the community embroidery can create

Make something lasting

One aspect of embroidery we particularly like, is that in doing it you create something tangible. So often today our daily life is full of nebulous ideas and activities, that can’t be touched or displayed. But, with embroidery each stitch you make is visible, beautiful and physical. Your work can’t be lost or taken away from you, you must stay in the moment with it. On National Embroidery Day, why not investigate embroidery as an analogue activity to give you a break from your phone this summer? You may just find a new hobby you love.

Digital detox with embroidery on National Embroidery Day

For more discussion of the intersection between needlework and digital detox listen to our ‘It’s Complicated‘ podcast episode with Badass Cross Stitch.

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It's Time to Log Off

By It's Time to Log Off

Time To Log Off was founded in 2014 by digital entrepreneur, tech ethicist, and author Tanya Goodin. Tanya was inspired to set-up Time To Log Off after over 20 years working exclusively in the online world. She is an award-winning digital entrepreneur: twice a finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year award, and for the Blackberry Outstanding Women in Technology award.