+ could you do a digital detox?
(tips and bennies at the bottom)
How many times have you truly been able to unplug and enjoy the everyday life without having the need to check your phone, refresh your facebook, or see how many likes your last picture had on instagram? It's a terrifying reality that we have all become so connected to our phones and computers; we meet possible dates, we coach clients, we watch tv, find work out videos, recipes, and so much more all from a screen maybe 13 inches wide with 78 keys to press and a trackpad to press our thumbs into or from a touchable surface that fits in the palm of our hand. Whattt?!! It's rantable (not a word but I'm making it one), really. How many times do we stress over how long it will take someone to respond with the time, date, and place when we could call them up on the phone and find out in seconds? And how many times have we sent that same message to someone living in the same space? It's okay. It's not our fault that life has become this way. BUT, it is our fault if we let it continue to dictate our lives.
Last week when my computer broke, I had to hand it over to those more qualified for a couple of days. To be honest, it was a relief. Finally, I had a reason why I couldn't complete more hours of study time or log on and market myself and my business. I didn't have the resource to edit photos, comment on blogs, or heaven forbid, online shop. I had my phone, but my fingers are long -- hellooooo hand cramping. No thank you. So instead, I hung out with my mom, had extra cups of coffee, read more books, did some yoga, took the dogs for a walk, made a yummy salad, finished a recipe, took photos when the sun was just right. It was a command from mercury (it was/is(?) still in retrograde, ya know), but man was it the best order I needed in my life. It was like letting go of a breath I hadn't been aware I was holding.
And then two days later, the internet went down and I couldn't do anything remotely online related for two and a half days. Not only did I do all of the above, but I actually sat around the table with some interesting people and talked about as much as we could think of over the course of five hours. Time that would have been spent watching Netflix, scrolling through pinterest, emailing and staring at a screen that's making us blind to the rest of the world. Boy, oh boy, was it something.
Now it's all back: my computer works, the internet is motoring along, and nothing is quite out of whack (knock on wood). What will I do with my weeks experience of unplanned stops to my everyday life? I'm truly going to embrace what I've learned and make a habit of this digital detox. Maybe once a week, maybe once every two weeks I plan to unplug. Really unplug. From the internet, from the digital world, from everything that makes me stare at a screen and not at the beautiful facets of life all around me. Maybe that means all I will do is take in the words on a page and hold a hot cup of coffee in my hands, but to me, that is enough. What's the worst thing that could happen?
5 Ways to Digitally Detox
1. Time On, Time Off Young Grasshopper
If you burn the midnight oil too long, eventually your light goes out. So if the idea of a shut-everything-off-don't-touch-it-forever kind of detox is intimidating, start small. Work 30-50 minutes and then take a 10-15 minute break that includes stretching, breathing, walking outside, or anything else that gets you away from the blue screen.
2. There's an App for That
Really. You can find an app that keeps certain other apps from working during specific times or blocks of the day. This is helpful if you need to do a social media cleanse rather than a total digital cleanse, but can still be great in the weaning off phase.
3. Thou Shall Not Have Temptation
If seeing a computer, tablet, or phone makes your nerves buzz and your mind say, 'baby, come here', hide it. No kidding, tuck those gadgets out of sight. Hide them away. Eventually, when you realize the amazingness that comes from being unplugged, you'll be able to leave them out and say, give me five more minutes with this book. What?! A book you say? Yes. Ink on pages never looked so sweet.
4. Tell the Rest of the World
Just like going on a diet, trying a new exercise program, or scoring the best tickets to an event, we share. We overshare. The best way to stay motivated is to know that others are informed. So tell the world! Let them know what you are doing. Encourage them to do the same. Being held accountable for not using your computer or tablet or phone does not make you weak in the eyes of the busy. It makes you enviable. Imagine all you can gain, and share that with the world.
5. That Being Said ... The Benefits
Okay, not a way to detox, but certainly one you've been waiting to read. Here's what you could gain when you unplug (some do not apply to all. that is okay. there is more than enough to go around).
- falling back in love with your significant other // you start to talk to their face again instead of to a phone while you tell them about your day. queue the feels.
- losing weight // being conscious about your intake of food and not on a screen sends the full signals to our brain at the appropriate rate (which is often a lot quicker than we think). Also, you might find you using your time to breathe or move around, both linked strongly to weight loss.
- people want to be around you // showing others the respect of listening actively to how they are doing and feeling equals those same people wanting to come back for more
- seeing the small things and taking pleasure in them // how many times on instagram or facebook are there pictures of a sunset you wish you had seen? Look outside! You have those! The things you have FOMO for are in your backyard or available to you if you stop staring down and start looking up
- awareness of the world around you // read the newspaper instead of the online paper. Notice how lovely it is to feel the paper beneath your fingers and to really read instead of scanning the headlines. You'll have far more topics to choose from when talking with random people or your loved ones if you know what happened throughout the world.
- acknowledgment // you know how it's so easy to take for granted all that is before us? After doing this detox, you realize the magnificence that is technology and how we need to use these tools for good and not just venting or ranting or having our say. Spread peace and acknowledge how amazing it is we have access to this greatness.
- so many more // everyone does this differently, and thus, there are so many benefits specific to the individual. I could tell you more, but that would just be keeping you staring at this screen for more time than necessary.
Try it with me.
How will you unplug? What did you find about this detox that you liked? That you didn't like? Let me know below in the comments or on facebook!
okay. really. close the computer, turn off the tablet or phone, and start living. there's a whole world out there. make mud houses, do some yoga, take a deep breath. it'll be worth it.