In today’s busy world, we tend to look at screens more than we do people’s faces and communicate with typed messages rather than spoken words. Although this does have its benefits; we are more efficient, connected and engaged than we ever have been before, there can be times where it becomes overwhelming. It can be stressful to be available all the time, and more than that, having the expectation to be available thrust on us. We are losing touch with ourselves and those who are closest to us. We wanted to take this time to share a few tips on how to do a quick and easy digital detox. You don’t need to sign up for a ten-day retreat in the Himalayas where you lock your phone up in a box nor do you need to throw your iPad into the ocean. All you need to do is be a little more mindful and consciously make some changes to help improve the quality of your life.
Most of us have a reasonably long daily commute which can range from 15 to 90 minutes depending on the day and traffic. During this time, many of us make calls, send emails and check our phones whereas all of us definitely check our phones. The biggest excuse people give for not taking time to meditate is that they don’t have enough time. Did you know that to reap the vast benefits of meditation which range from stress-relief to neuron regeneration in the brain, you do not need more than a few minutes a day? Next time you’re on your way to work (as long as you aren’t the one driving) download a guided meditation app like Headspace or Calm or even YouTube “10-minute guided meditation” to disconnect and soothe your mind.
When you know that your phone could go off at any moment, you don’t allow yourself to be fully present in the moment. It is definitely difficult to switch off for hours at a time when you have pressing work commitments to think about but we need to think about the long-term effects this has on us. We lose out on important moments with friends and family and can also become difficult people to hang out with. For example, if you’re having a romantic dinner with your partner and every 15-minutes need to step away to take a call, she is immediately going to lose interest and potentially get angry at you for neglecting her. If possible, take out at least one hour a day to do something meaningful, whether this is having dinner with a friend, going to the gym, reading a book or listening to music where you give that activity 100% of your undivided attention. Put your phone on silent and out of sight and only check it when you’ve completed this task.
Being so well-connected has replaced lots of real life interactions. For example, we no longer talk on the phone, we message; we don’t get dinner, we order in; we don’t hail cabs, we get an Uber. This lack of connection can be isolating and make one feel distant and disconnected. It is funny that we are now calling very mundane, every day experiences like cooking dinner with your child, important and necessary for our well-being. Try to do something you don’t normally do and do this with someone important to you. This could be going to the gym with your partner or taking your friend out for a coffee. No matter what you choose, just make sure that you take that time to get out of the house or office and actually feel like you’re part of a larger society. These small things help give us a sense of meaning and being.