I am a massive lover of technology. Not the kind who has to have the latest pointless gadget; the kind who gets really excited by new software that makes my day to day life more fun or easy. Or both!
However, being in front of my computer all day, every day can take its toll.
If I spend too much time looking at a screen, I find myself tired and listless – it just sucks all of the energy out of you!
I recently decided to go on a “digital detox” in a stunning monastery in Umbria. I have to say, it was truly amazing and a definite eye-opener. Not being able to “log on” created a sort of withdrawal reaction which was surprising – we don’t like to admit we might be addicted to something, do we!
As a therapist you are probably not in front of your computer all day, but you might often find yourself there all evening trying to keep on top of your social media, newsletters and blogs. Not only this, but a digital detox can be very relevant if you spend your day listening to clients chattering away, giving out their energy day in, day out. When you work with people, it’s very easy to unknowingly pick up on their moods and behaviours and many people will treat a beauty therapy session as “therapy,” unloading their woes onto your shoulders.
A digital detox is a great and relaxing way to recharge.
How many of us go on holiday and spend all our time on Facebook, updating our status and getting drawn into the same chat we get stuck in when we’re sitting on our sofas at home. Pretty soon, we’re doing the same thing from our sun lounger on the Spanish coast, as we were doing in our living rooms in England. There’s no real break from the real world any more, when we can all access our online lives at the touch of a screen in the hotel lobby.
It can sound terrifying to be completely incommunicado for as little as a couple of hours. These days, if we leave the house without our mobile phones we can feel lost and disconnected from the world. Often when we go on holiday the very first thing we do is ensure we have roaming on our mobiles… and then Tweet a photo of the view from our hotel room window. To take that leap and have a complete digital detox can be scary – but once you get over the initial hurdle of not being able to Instagram every meal, it’s weirdly refreshing. I found that my head felt clearer, and I felt a lot more relaxed – which was weird, because I had never realised before that I wasn’t relaxed!
Now that I’ve returned from my detox, I am finding that my habits are changing, too. Rather than wasting indefinite amounts of time faffing about on social media, dipping in and out of my inbox and wandering around sites that are of little real value or interest, I’m smarter about my time online. I’m strict with myself about switching things off and having a proper break in the evenings, and I’m doing my best to maintain that feeling of relaxed wellbeing.
You might not be quite at that point where you want or are able to spend a week at an Italian monastery on a digital detox, but you don’t need to travel to detox! Give yourself a weekend (or a couple of days in the week if that’s easier) where you promise yourself you will keep your phone and computer switched off. You can put an out of office message on your emails, and a voicemail message on your mobile so that people are not worried when they can’t get hold of you. Relish that feeling of sitting down in the evenings and your phone not beeping every time someone sends a Tweet or comments on something on Facebook. At first, you’ll notice how often you go to reach for your phone or laptop to update something or comment on something else.. but slowly, that feeling ebbs away and you are left feeling serene and ultimately untroubled by wondering about what’s going on on social media.
Give it a try….switch off!