Bright orange, vibrant red, and shimmering yellow leaves of fall. Powerful, lapping waves of Lake Superior. Tall bluffs. Muddy hiking trails. Ample sunshine. Full hearts.
This is the North Shore of Minnesota in autumn. Would you believe I spent three days there if you didn’t see any photographic or social media evidence? Hmm….
I spent three days ‘up north,’ as we say around these parts, without my phone or computer. And no, I’m not crazy 🙂 It was glorious.
I don’t have to remind you how much time you spend online. Searching, scrolling, squinting. There’s always something to discover, someone to connect with, and endless topics to educate yourself on. But on the not-so-pretty side of things, there’s always someone’s life to compare to yours that leaves you feeling empty and envious. And sometimes do you wonder why you’re still scrolling through websites and random social media profiles after four hours? I do. Like anything, there’s a light and a dark side to the Internet.
In my case, as a marketing and digital media specialist, I spend a loooooot of time on the Google machine. Like any job, it wears you out if you don’t make breaks a priority — especially when you could be working all. the. time. And I was not making breaks (true, get-away-from-the-computer breaks) a priority and my work-life balance was suffering.
A few weeks before my vacation to celebrate my 8th wedding anniversary (yay!), I heard some whispers that I should not bring my phone. Really? I thought. Could I do it? Would I have the sweats and shakes? I had some real doubts if I could or should do it. My ego kept pestering me to find excuses to bring my phone, but alas, I listened to the guidance of my soul.
News flash: it was way easier and more enjoyable than I could have imagined!
We headed up to northern Minnesota and I made sure to bring a few great books to read and a coloring book to keep me occupied. It was funny because I thought I would lean on them a lot in the car, but I didn’t. I simply enjoyed the ride, scenery, and conversation with my husband. It was refreshing not to have my device in tow, because I would habitually pick it up and scroll through the randomness.
After this experience, I want to make this a habit. Once a month, I am going to have my husband “hide” my phone and if anyone wants to get a hold of me, they can through my hubby (as we did on the trip). In fact, my detox weekend is coming up *this* weekend and I think I’ll also do it right after Thanksgiving 🙂
Here are a few quick things I learned and ideas that may help you if you are thinking of doing a digital detox…
If you are feeling disengaged, irritable, stressed, or unhappy, try a digital detox
Yes, I really believe a break from technology can help you reconnect to and reground your emotions. It’s like a supplement, sometimes we are deficient in a nutrient and we need something to help us feel better for a short period of time. In our wild world these days, it is super easy to become deficient in genuine connection. Now this is not only with others, but with ourselves.
By taking away something that takes us away from our true feelings and emotions, we are able to recharge our connection to soul.
When was the last time you enjoyed something without feeling the need to share it?
Sometimes we have to keep our happiness close to our own hearts. Hey…I totally get wanting to share and spread joy to others. I offer this advice often to my clients — BUT! — sometimes certain magic needs to be experienced with you (and a few select loved ones) intimately.
Experience the world around you with all five senses. Live simply for a few days. Appreciate the world around you with just your eyes and heart. This will help your body and your spirit to reground itself.
Trust that life continues to be beautiful and amazing without the approval of others
This is a toughie for a lot of people. Myself included. You can feel, well, high when the likes keep piling up on your social media feeds. It’s that sense of: “Ahh…someone gets me. They see me! They like me! This feels good and I’m going to keep doing this.” This is simple psychology and why wouldn’t we want to keep sharing things when we get attention for it? But, I want you to know something…
Your life has tremendous value, credibility, and purpose even if you don’t share everything on social media. You are a wonderful person with many talents and inner beauty no matter what. I promise.
A break will make you better at your life and job
Speaking to everyone here, but especially the online entrepreneurs of the world out there — stepping away from the computer will not cause your business to implode. Pinky promise.
Folks, I must practice what I preach to my clients. And what I preach is ease and balance. If I don’t take a break and recharge, I’m not going to be my best helping them market their business. Can you imagine someone telling a pilot or a surgeon not to take a break? Uhh…trouble ahead. I know us online entrepreneurs don’t hold people’s lives in our hands, but you catch my drift.
Oh and that precious life of yours and those incredible people in it — they’ll thank you for being present. I don’t have to say much more.
Wrapping up — listen to that small, sweet voice within
If it is telling you to take a break, try it out. Maybe start with one day, or two. Here’s the deal…social media, websites, texting, the whole gamut is most likely here to stay in our lifetime. Let’s embrace it! Let’s enjoy it! But…let’s also know when to take a break from it!
Big hugs friends!