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 pulling weeds in the early morning, journaling, doing creative visioning for my business, taking evening strolls with the frogs and fireflies, 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 co-workers, 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 and fun to be around (according to my family)
- 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 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 novels 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.
I’D LOVE TO SUPPORT YOU. HERE ARE THREE OPPORTUNITIES:
- Schedule me to plan/facilitate a custom workshop or retreat for your company, team or organization on work-life balance, resiliency or self-renewal. I’ve been speaking professionally for 25+ years and my clients include Fortune 500 companies, national conferences, nonprofits and organizations. Learn more and email me at workshops at reneetrudeau dot com to discuss your next event. PHOTO: www.1440.org where I’ll be leading a retreat Oct. 4-6!
- Renew, replenish and recharge with like-minded women at a fall self-renewal retreat. Women who attend my retreats always leave saying, “I had no idea how much I needed that!” View all upcoming retreats here.
- We’re hiring! Know an Austin-based college student or SAH mom who might want to work with our team? We have a fall women’s empowerment communications internship open (learn more). If you know an English, Journalism, PR or Communications undergrad who might be a fit, send them our way! We also have a part-time virtual communications assistant position available-ideal for a parent seeking meaningful work they can do from home.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist 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 17-year-old son. More on her background here.
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