25 Jun Clear your head with the Digital Detox Diet
We’re celebrating the UK’s National Unplugging Day at the Riverside Yurt at Riverside in the Hampshire Countryside, a beautiful Yurt overlooking lavender fields and Vines as featured in the Sunday Times – a perfect place to unplug!
It’s the perfect opportunity for families and individuals to ditch their gadgets, devices and phones for the day and go off-line together and go back to our roots.
The truth is, we are spending more time than ever on our digital devices, from two to four hours daily in fact. And with the flood of incoming texts, emails, Whatsup messages, calls, and notifications, it’s probably quite rare that your screen stays unlit for more than a minute.
While technology has in some areas made an improvement to our lives, recent research points to the fact that our digital addiction is real, and here to stay.
“New notifications trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that drives us to seek rewards, so you keep coming back for more.”
And what’s more this vicious cycle is taking a toll on our wellbeing, and relationships. Surveys have reported an association between technology and depression, anxiety, and decreased marital satisfaction. I now practice turning ALL media off during meal times.
I am just as guilty as you. I have often caught myself aimlessly scrolling, or feeling anxiety about responding to people’s emails. I remember a few years back, laying on the sofa one evening, iPad on my lap, iPhone within grabbing reach, Whatsapp busily chirping, one eye on YouTube, half an eye on my Twitter feed and other half eye in Mens Health! I mean, really?
I wasn’t really in the present at all. And this was a long way from multi-tasking. This was being so distracted by social media, being so ‘connected’ that I wasn’t really connected at all – not to anything!
Zoom out now and then and take a fresh view!
Detaching yourself from your phone and truly unplugging can seriously improve your life. And you can do it without worrying about what you’re missing.
I’ve just returned from my bi-quarterly Digital Detox. I started this a quite a few years back, (sometime after the sofa incident) and it’s the best strategy that I use to gain perspective on everyday life, and manage stress and whatever is keeping the business going.
Here’s the Digital Detox Diet:
I do a weekly, bi-monthly and annual digital Detox. I get it right around 90% of the time, but the result is always the same. All of a sudden the flurry calls, tweets, emails and social media jousts recedes into the background noise. I can zoom out again in an instant and distinguish fact from fiction, should from could, urgent from important. Real nourishment returns, and I am starting to think things through.
The Weekly Detox
I do the Digital Detox on a Sunday. No phone for the day. Your mind will thank you. Leave your phone in another room on charge – you can still hear it if it rings!
The Bi-Quaterly Detox
Every 6 to 7 weeks I go away for a long weekend where possible and do a mini-version of my annual digital Detox. The phone goes off for 2 or 3 days. Period.
The Annual Detox
This one starts out REALLY hard!, but it could save your life. My partner and I go away for 3 – 4 weeks usually around August. It’s normally to a quiet place where there is no urban footprint. Ocean, countryside, long walks – you get the idea. The rules are simple: The ipads and laptops stay at home. The phones however are too useful not to bring for Photos and Google Maps, but c’est ca.
The phone stays in the motorcycle pannier for the first two days and is only used for getting places and taking photos. The first day is horrendous. It feels like what it is — heroin withdrawal! Every few minutes of the first 12 hours, I check my pockets. I get angry. I get depressed. I NEED A HIT!
But I resist. Day two is easier. By Day three it’s over. I start sleeping better. Life is getting clearer, and I gradually reconnect.
Making it easier
- Start with the Sunday Digital Detox. You can make it through one day.
- For the Bi-quaterly and two week Detox, delete your work email app, all calendars, all social media apps. When you get back home it’s 20 minutes to add the apps back and you’re good to go.
Try the Digital Detox today and support #NationalUnpluggingDay. You will soon realise that planned perspective taking is essential.
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