The answer is good stuff.
A few years back, I felt very unsettled and couldn’t figure out why. I was overloaded and overwhelmed. Feeling as though I couldn’t concentrate and constantly looking at my devices. I was tired and cranky and had weird body aches, particularly in my neck. These issues were affecting my quality of life, and I felt I’d lost my energy. Something needed to change.
After a few days of reading online relaxation tips, I decided to heed the advice of my inner voice. It was telling me to step away from my digital reality and give myself a chance to recharge from constant overload.
Digital devices are great; they provide rapid information and allow us to see and talk with friends and family across the world. But they are great when used in moderation. Too much time online clouds our minds and consumes large chunks of our time. It can also get in the way of getting enough sleep.
My quick fix was a digital detox, which turned out to be just what I needed.
What does a digital detox entail? Do you have to fling all your devices into the nearest body of water and chant a new age mantra? Not if you don’t want to. There are actually several effective ways to digitally detox, ranging from easy to challenging. Easy recommends include cutting down on app time (FB, Insta, dating apps, etc.), if that’s where your digital drain occurs. More elaborate detoxes can feature a complete unplug (usually while at a mountain or beach retreat of your choice, complete with a large price tag and your very own detox coach). The beauty of the digital detox is that there are so many choices.
For me it was a baby step: No devices for three days. No laptop, no tablet, no cell phone.
Here were some of the benefits:
Better sleep almost immediately. Exposure to blue light on screens can inhibit your body’s production of melatonin, your sleep hormone. After one full day of not being in front of a screen, I slept better. After three nights, not only was my sleep much better, but also my eyes hurt so much less. I also didn’t have the stress of “checking my phone one last time” before bed, another sleep-depriving move.
Fewer body aches, improved posture. My neck always hurts, but by the third day of the digital detox it didn’t anymore. I also noticed that I was sitting up straighter and carrying my body weight more effortlessly. All because my posture was improving. A real win.
Increased ability to concentrate. It turns out that when you are focusing on only one thing, that one thing gets easier and you get better at it. My memory recall also improved noticeably.
Happiness. My mind was free to concentrate on more important and pressing issues. This in turn allowed me to think about things that improve quality of life and enhance happiness.
I know a three-day detox would be impossible for most of us, and I get that. Especially if you have kids, it’s unreasonable to ditch all electronic communication for three days. But there are still ways to find a quick digital getaway every night once the kids are in bed.
For example, try this:
- Go to the bathroom and shut the door.
- TURN OFF THE PHONE
- Draw a bath. Nice and hot, so you’ll sweat. Add about a cup of Arnica Bath Soak and a few spritzes of Radiance Body Oil. Mix it all in.
- Soak for at least 20 minutes.
- Think pleasant thoughts, or about nothing at all. Don’t ruminate over troubles. This is YOUR time.
- Breathe deeply and with intention.
- When 20 minutes is up, pat yourself dry and get dressed.
- Allow yourself to continue to sweat for the next half hour.
- Make sure you drink a lot of water and stay hydrated.
- Skip the urge to check your devices. Read the chapter of an actual book (the kind you hold in your hands) for 30 minutes before closing your eyes and falling asleep.
We think that whatever you try, good intentions and a desire to de-stress will get you over the finish line. Congratulate yourself for taking this first step toward rejuvenation.