I recently took a week off from work to unplug (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 with friends and tending to my soul.
Recently I noticed how busy my mind had become 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 was more creative and solutions-oriented and I was reminded of all the things that bring me pleasure: dancing, swimming in rivers, 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? and join me in MA at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health Sept. 21-23 to disconnect, so you can re-connect with what matters most.
I’D LOVE TO SUPPORT YOU–THREE UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES:
- Hire me to plan/facilitate a custom workshop or retreat for your company, team or organization on life balance, resiliency or self-renewal. I’ve been speaking professionally for 25+ years on work-life balance and my clients include Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit agencies, national conferences and women’s organizations. Learn more and email me at workshops at reneetrudeau dot com to explore how I can help you.
- Retreats are ideal if you’re in transition and exploring, “What’s next?” Join me this fall for a deeply restorative women’s self-renewal retreat; I’ll be in MA Sept. 21-23, in CA Oct. 26-28 and back in MA Jan. 27-29: learn more.
- Craving authentic community and want to find (or create) your tribe? Learn more about our global sisterhood of RTA-Certified Facilitators and empower/support women in your community! More here on how to become a RTA-Certified Facilitator and join our inner circle ($100 off through 7/31; includes private coaching with me).
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum. She is the author of three books on life balance and mindfulness including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 16-year-old son. More on her background here.