I am writing this post realizing that we are in our 11th month of a Pandemic and entering the 2nd month of our second lockdown in Toronto, Ontario. Now as much as we want to tread through these times with a sense of normalcy, we can't ever feel safe or "normal" without acknowledging the context of our current lives.
We have become completely codependent with our technology from a place of scarcity.
Here's What I'm Feeling
Pre-pandemic I did a pretty decent job of creating boundaries with my phone and my devices. I would sink into my morning and evening rituals and didn't feel much desire to check my phone or social media.
These days, 99% of the socializing I am doing is through some kind of device, including social media apps... and it is exhausting. I admit, not only have I felt like the need to feel digitally connected, but I have also experienced moments of anxiety through these interactions.
Technology can overstimulating and heighten our adrenal stress, thus keeping us in a state of reactivity. It's time to come down to earth.
How To Create Balance
The burnout of these times is real and we need to treat ourselves with the grace and patience we need. Although the word "detox" sounds alluring and immediate, we can't really detox from technology if we don't first understand where the imbalances are.
Acknowledging the imbalances in our life can help us recalibrate and return to our Truest selves.
Some questions to ask:
What do I need that I haven't had access to? What is preventing me from accessing these things?
What have I been over-indulging in? Where is there potential excess in my life? (negatively impacting habits, comfort coping mechanisms, indulging in processed foods, etc)
How do I feel when I am on my phone/ computer? Why?
Remember that the most meaningful questions might not have the easiest answers.
How to Do a Digital Detox
There is no one-size fits all approach to re-establishing your inner balance, but here are some tried and testing things that I will be doing alongside you, if you decide to detox this month. If you are working online during these times, feel free to take some of these suggestions and adjust them to your personal life.
Set app limits on your phone or alarms for when you must log-off. This includes fully logging off of social media, mail, and messaging.
Create a firm schedule with your digital tasks. Do you expect important emails to come in? Create a vacation responder and include your response time in your email signature. I am telling folx that email is the best way to reach me but taking 1-3 days to reply is normal. If it is an emergency they can call me (but very few things are a true emergency).
Communicate, communicate, communicate! As mentioned in the previous point, you should communicate what your capacity is and where you digital boundaries are. Additionally, if you are deciding on a strict detox, consider telling your loved ones what you're planning on doing and how to best reach you, so you feel supported not tempted. There is no reason to cut people off during a digital detox. Healthy socialization is vital soul-food. If you feel you need distance yourself from those you love, you might want to consider what else may need healing, asides from your digital life.
Set a practical timeframe. Start with a week and go from there. Expect that the first 3 days could feel difficult and you might feel yourself picking up your phone out of habit, but be kind and PATIENT with yourself along the way.
Reinforce and reward your good habits. Went a whole day without logging onto social media? Put your phone in a drawer and spent your weekend reading a book or painting? Reward yourself. Treat yourself to a chocolate or fancy coffee... or even a simple "thank you." Do what feels good.
For the Soul
Some things to integrate into your detox period:
Say NO to the things that you need to justify or you feel you need encouragement to do. Just because you have time to do something doesn't make everything an automatic "yes", practice discernment before giving others access to your energy.
Start with the small simple pleasures that make you feel better. Taking an extra long hot shower, sinking into stretches before getting out of bed, listening to your favourite album start to finish.
Give yourself permission to go slow... like reeeeeally slow.
Recognize when something deeply bothers you, sit with that feeling, and make a resolution. In our fast-paced world we might jump from task to task, or brush off things that upset us without pausing for a solution. See what you can change and go about changing it.
Use affirmations or words to shift your focus, "Today I am purposeful with my time." or "Today my energy will lead me to what I truly need." And my favourite, "Everything I need is within me, I take what I need and release what does not serve my highest interest and growth."