*When was the last time you went 48 hours without responding to email, checking Facebook, answering your phone, or being over-stimulated by external media?
*Have you given yourself the space and time you need to reflect, decompress or relax?
*Are you feeling burned out, tired, addicted to your social media, or simply need a new perspective on life?
*Do you find yourself reaching for your phone or device in any moment of down-time?
*Do you interrupt conversations or lose track of time to meaningless online activity?
*Do you sleep, eat and use the bathroom with your phone?
*Do you need space to reassess an important business move, give your mind time to rest, or just want a break from the tethered life?
*Is your personal health declining or interpersonal relationships suffering from the imbalance in attention you give to your screens or work?
I went to a workshop with the talented Amy Lieberman, integrative health life coach (www.amylieberman.com). She spoke about going on a digital detox diet, (disconnect to reconnect). Turning off the pings and dings on your devices to reduce stress.
“Research shows that many of us feel so tied down by technology that we can’t let a single message or email slip by without responding to it immediately, or feeling a sense of anxiety. The cultural pressures to constantly check messages and to stay up to speed on the latest blogs or news media often lead to a feeling of being overwhelmed and frustrated without time to breathe. Unplugging for just one day can give some users mental and physical withdraw symptoms” (digital detox.org)
My fiance takes his phone everywhere. When we watch a movie he puts his phone, the remote and his glasses in his crotch while we watch the movie, just in case he will need them. I admit we like to stop and chat in movies, and google facts about actors in the movie, like how old they are now, who are they married to, what other movies they have done.
He used to bring his phone to bed when we were dating, and when the notification would go off, he would sit bolt upright in bed. He has two phones, a work phone and a personal phone and carry them both everywhere, pulling them both out simultaniously like a gunslinger doing a quickdraw. He even takes his phone with him to the bathroom so he can play backgammon to facilitate his movements.
What would digital detox look like at our house? First I would love to lie in bed and not hear pings in the living room on three possible phone. I would love all notifications turned off by 8pm. In fact vibrate would be a great setting. Who says when someone texts that we have to respond immediately?
I would like no phones in the bedroom period. I fantasize having one room in the house with no digital devices, tv or phones. Perhaps books and a meditation altar.
Recently I have decided to take digital detox breaks, for me this means going out without my phone, or switching it off. Tonight we went for happy hour, when my fiance went to the bathroom I reached to check my phone, and then I realised that I had consciously left it at home. After a quick pang of anxiety– I looked out the window and noticed the purple crocus and tips of daffodils peeking through the alpine soil and took a deep breath.
*If you are ruled by your devices, or have fear of missing out (FOMO) try small steps to digitally detox, work with a coach or go on a digital detox retreat offered by digitaldetox.org.