In today’s world, we are all so used to being constantly connected, that most of us are almost never without our phones. I know that I am personally guilty of spending way too much time on my gadgets. Being distracted by every notification means that I’m not always as present as I could be with friends, family and work – this is honestly where I should be using my skills from my Mindfulness qualification!
However, it’s not just about unplugging devices, it’s about rediscovering what happens when you plug back into life. Disconnecting devices, allows you to reconnect with yourself, your family, your community, nature and even the world. Digital detoxing is simply a break from technology and using that time to nurture yourself and just have fun.
I encourage you all to take out time daily for digital detox; go offline for a few hours to a day (or if you’re brave – the whole weekend) and make the most of it.
Here are some of my top tips on how I think having a digital detox can benefit you:
Being Present in the Moment
This is the biggest one for me. With the amount of time people are spending on their phones and devices, it seems that everyone is almost slightly distracted at all times. I get told off by my daughter most of the time – sometimes she’ll say something really silly that she knows will shock me only to check if I am listening by seeing how I react. So…Switch off your gadgets and you might find that you notice and appreciate the everyday things around you so much more. It’s all about Mindfulness!
Reduce Unnecessary Stress
There are benefits of being so connected. Don’t get me wrong, I love how connected the online world is. But having minute by minute updates can actually become really stressful. Feeling like you have to reply to that email right away or those chat groups that are constantly making your phone go off can build up stress.
Constant pop up notifications on your phone can also be really distracting when you are trying to concentrate on a task at hand. Lunch with friends, reading a book, or focusing on a project; can all be easier without interruptions from your phone and you may find you get things done faster. I use an app called ‘Tide’ to help me keep focused and not side-tracked while I am working.
Sleep Better at Night
Even if you can’t go offline for a whole day, it’s definitely worth staying away from your devices a few hours before bedtime, to really get some quality zzz’s. Studies have shown that the blue light, which comes from our phones and other electronic devices, affects the levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin which throws off your body’s biological clock. This makes it harder for you to wind down and fall asleep.
Disconnect to Reconnect
Disconnect from your device and spend that time reconnecting with your family and friends. Spending some quality time with those you love, reconnecting with your surroundings or having some quality downtime to yourself can all really help to re-energise you. Reconnect with things that make you happy and nurture those important relationships.
Remember: You have more time than you think
No matter how busy you feel, chances are you have more time than you think. Life has a tendency to expand to fit how much time we have available for it – that’s why that curious phenomenon exists where, no matter how busy you are, as soon as the new season of House of Cards or Orange Is the New Black drops, you miraculously find time to watch the entire season in just a few days. You have the time – you probably just spend it on other things.
Make it a habit
Forming new habits is my favourite way to level up to become more productive automatically. When you read each day at the same time and place, you ritualise the practice and over time you’ll automatically level up to enjoy your day that much more.
So… Get out there and LIVE. Let your feet run bare in the sand, feel the fresh air kiss your face, take long deep breaths and remind yourself that there’s so much more to life than what we show online.
The truth is that sometimes we need to disconnect from life to reconnect with what’s really important. I learned to do that through embracing and prioritising my need for solitude. Going for long walks, exploring my hometown, listening to an audiobook / reading a book on my Kindle, cooking a nourishing meal or just shutting off my phone and taking time for myself to be with…ME!
Believe me when I say this; it wasn’t always like that. Too often we needlessly distract ourselves with anything and everything: food, shopping, television, social networks – basically anything to keep us from being fully present in the current moment.
The bottom line is that every one of us is an addict, and what we are addicted to is avoiding ourselves. Acknowledging this addiction is the first step to healing it.
So this weekend DISCONNECT TO RECONNECT and let’s open our minds to the empowering nature of being alone. Solitude can be seen as freeing, as an opportunity for exploration and growth – an opportunity to get to know and love yourself more and deeply.