Digital Detox: Not My Way, the Easy Way
Well, time to really practice what I preach.
I take breaks from my phone throughout the day, leaving it in my purse or in a different room, just to remind myself that it's not actually a shiny appendage or extension of my brain. The knowing that I can "google" anything instantly to satisfy my childlike-curiosity's hunger becomes almost irresistible (Is that a house wren or a purple wren? Can an alligator REALLY eat an entire deer? What was the origin of my mother's mother's mother's surname?)
Then, the cell-cycle begins: I realize I have a routine with my phone in a couple of ways. First, my rotation through apps and email. Every morning. Throughout the day. That's the second routine: I check it after I wake up, after I eat breakfast, when my son goes down for a nap, and so on. You get the idea.
Putting my phone well out of reach for several hours throughout the day gives me a quick sense of freedom and enhances the amount and quality of my time.
I don't want my son growing up thinking that it's normal for everyone to be attached to a tiny, glowing box. And I especially don't want him to think that it's normal for people to avoid eye contact and conversation, existing in a distracted and realistically disconnected way. He deserves compassionate, connection human interaction, just like I had as a child.
I don't want him to be even more attached to the damn devices than the rest of us - because his generation is barreling toward that conclusion if WE aren't careful. This is part of the inspiration for the children in nature movement.
For several years now, I've believed that annual digital detox for everyone in the U.S. could be one of the healthiest steps we can take in our modern-day lives. You know... plus eating healthier food more mindfully, getting active, taking time to be in nature, give ourselves sacred silence and self-care... I could go on.
But if we put the devices away for an hour or three a day, just think of all things you could do - or not do - in that time.
Hey, in two hours, you could exercise outdoors, stopping at the end for some time to be silent and observe the world around you, take your time showering and pampering yourself, and still have time to make a healthy, organic, pleasantly prepared meal. What a luxury!
And don't get me started on sleep.
I used to have my phone on the nightstand because I used it as an alarm. Not only is my son my alarm clock now, but I was so frustrated that I was staying up an hour (or two) later because my phone beckoned me to read, click, read further, scan, and not stop until I couldn't keep my eyes open.
Frankly, I'd much rather read a book.
So, I moved the phone to the bathroom, a long way away from my bed and reach, so that I wouldn't be tempted to touch it. I also bought a much more gentle-sounding alarm for the days that my son is sleeping in (ha!). The progressive "ding" of a chime awakens me slowly and sweetly, which is a much better way to start the day.
The reason I'm bringing this up now is that my phone took a dip today.
I had a quick moment that my ambling, tooth-filled, tile-floor exploring toddler was completely engrossed with a pile of books (yea!), so I ran to the bathroom. Just a quick stop, but this was my chance.
My phone peered down from it's precarious and forgotten perch in my back pocket and decided it needed to cool off.
In it went, with a string of curses from me, a quick snatch, and more color vocabulary. I forgot why I even went in there as I hastily handed my phone to my hubby, who began the expert air drying techniques he knows.
The phone is now hibernating in a bag of rice with the best of wishes and intentions enveloping it. And I get to have a true, albeit tiny, taste of digital detox away from the addictive little device. My laptop doesn't hold the same kind of pull, which is a good thing. Television does nothing for me besides occasional entertainment, but I prefer that's not even on every night.
But my phone...
This was either Universe's way of telling me that stretching the life of the phone so far beyond it's acceptable date of upgrade-ability wasn't working OR it was saying that I needed to shut it off, be still, be mindful, pay attention, and just put it away for me. Maybe it was both.
Either way, I already feel a refreshing sense of freedom and disconnect from a world that doesn't even exist outside of those devices.
I don't know about you, but I'm going to get a great night's sleep, wake up refreshed, know that I don't need to see it all for my own stubborn sense of instant gratification, and will take my family outside somewhere on a beautiful Friday.
What will you do?
See you outside!
Photo Credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/66751034@N00/224798403/">Plemon Studios</a> via <a href="http://compfight.com">Compfight</a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/help/general/#147">cc</a>