Today marks my first day back in the office after a week unplugged (no computer use, email, TV/movies and only minimal phone use). I spent the time working in my garden, writing, swimming, doing creative visioning for my business, walking barefoot outdoors, visiting springs/rivers with friends and tending to my soul.
Last month I noticed how busy my mind had come and how often I was “hopping on my laptop for just five minutes.” I was feeling grumpy and irritable towards my family and team and I had lost all my passion and creative zeal. One day, I almost threw my laptop against the wall; clearly, I was done!
I’ve taken (and written about) many digital detoxes over the years. Sometimes they were just a day, sometimes a whole summer in order to finish a book. But this time was different. The sense of urgency that preceded this “off the grid” period, was palpable. My mind didn’t just need to re-boot–my body and soul did too. I think this is reflective of the times we’re living in–things are simply moving too fast and we weren’t designed to operate at this pace or be constantly tethered to digital devices.
After the first 48 hours of being off my laptop and email (my nemesis), I:
-became more playful, spontaneous, relaxed (according to my son) and my husband said I was more “sexy and fun to be around!”
-was reminded how quickly I renew when I spend time in the natural world (I have fire ant bites on my feet and my skin is glowing from all the time I spent outdoors);
-was more attuned, present and plugged into life: everything looked more vibrant and colorful, all my senses were awake (I also cooked some amazing meals using local veggies/fruit).
Additionally, I slept better, I found it easier to care for and appreciate my body and I was reminded of all the things that bring me pleasure: dancing, swimming in rivers/springs, eating ripe berries, listening to music, reading great books and long, lingering dates with soulful friends and loved ones. This short digital detox showed me I can’t continue at the pace I had been (and as many of you know–I “do it different,” and take pretty good care of myself).
I am at a life stage where I need expanses of unscheduled time to dream, process, enjoy “free range thinking,” integrate and explore what’s next for me. And this is very difficult to do when you’ve got 400 emails a day calling for your attention.
As a mindfulness evangelist, “light tech” user and late adopter of all things electronic by choice, I’ve got some new ideas for how I want to shift my relationship to technology. But more than anything I want to lock in the memory of how radically different I felt during the past five days. It wasn’t just about a mental respite–this time helped me remember who I really am.
Want to read more about this theme and how to bring more mindfulness into your daily life? Check out Is it Time to Unplug? or join me in MA at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health July 15-17 and unplug so you can truly re-connect.
TAKE ACTION: Craving authentic, meaningful “belly time” (not virtual time) connection with like-minded women in your community? Learn more about our global sisterhood of RTA-Certified Facilitators and empower/support women in your community by leading self-renewal groups/retreats. More here on how to become a RTA-Certified Facilitator or find a Personal Renewal Group in your area.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness/life balance coach, speaker and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Offering custom self-renewal workshops/retreats, training, books/telecourses and individual career coaching her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining Personal Renewal Groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 14 year-old son. More on her background here.