There is a reason why I am posting this later than I meant to. I took a digital detox. “What, are you crazy?” you might wonder. With four blogs in the A to Z Challenge, I was laughing my head off to discover that in two days, I had done eight posts plus my regular client work and I felt tired. Luckily, there was a weekend after the alphabet “B” but nevertheless, Life offline took precedence over everything else.
I just had to do a digital detox
So it is no coincidence that I chose this for D, because I think everyone needs one at periodic intervals.
Sometimes, we just have to disconnect to reconnect
Technology practically rules our life today, and we have to manage it mindfully
Here are some things that are working for me:
- I take breaks consciously
- I do not feel obliged to respond to emails as soon as they show up in my mailbox – in fact I cleaned out my mailbox, purging all the clutter sitting there. I use a different email to subscribe to newsletters.
- I avoid multi-tasking and try to do one thing at a time to keep me focused
- I step away from my desk or wherever I sit during the day. Sitting is the new smoking – the less you sit, the longer you will live.
- I silence my phone. I have set different ringtones for three of my most frequent callers so I know who is calling.
- I shake up my routine and do things differently. This is as simple as taking a different route to places I regularly go to, waking up 15 minutes earlier, sleeping earlier, and so on to manage my time productively
- I simplify my to-do list and prioritize over the must-do things for the day
- I unplug every once in a while. I spend less screen time. The overload of devices we live with these days can be so overwhelming – phones, tablets, TV, computer. I don’t want to be held captive by technology. Of course, our electricity providers are a great help by simply doling out long power outages. I focus on conversations and laughter with family, friends and neighbors. I read a book. I take walks. And when I get back to work, it feels good.
- I do not eat at my desk. Yes, I used to be guilty of this. But one day, spilling coffee on the keyboard was my wakeup call. I was disgusted with myself. I now use my lunch breaks at a mindful mini-break from the day’s busyness. I eat mindfully, enjoying my food, noticing its texture, color and taste. When I return to work, I feel refreshed.
When I get back to technology, I try and do it with awareness – my posture, my breathing. Did you know there’s something called email apnea? We involuntarily suspend our breathing when we handle email. This irregularity makes the body acidic as we retain carbon dioxide and builds up stress in the body.
Tune in to your breath and you’ll be surprised at what you will find. When I first started breathwalking, I was surprised to realize that even though I walked regularly, my breathing was not really modulated. Correcting this helped me feel much better.
Do this now:
- When you’re going through a busy day, just pause for a moment and consciously breathe.
- Take three deep breaths in –out, in-out, in-out.
- Try and extend your breath. This communicates with your parasympathetic nervous system, which fights stress and calms you down, helping you think clearly and feel relaxed.
Take a good look at how you use technology and consider how you can make things easier for you and stress less. Don’t answer the phone when you’re enjoying a meal. Don’t work and watch TV at the same time. Our brain just can’t handle it forever. Try paying full attention to what you are doing – in fact, single-task!
Do you need a digital detox?
Here’s a fun infographic from livestrong.com to help you decide. What’s your score?