Tech Wellness: Unplug

This weekend I was blessed enough to be able to drive down to the Florida Keys with my hunky husband and celebrate 10 years of marriage - 15 total years as a couple! It was a very special time. We hadn't been on a vacation without kids in 8 years and haven't even traveled anywhere but NJ to see family or on business in the last 5. It was time.

It dawned on us before leaving that since we are all so easily connected to the world, even while in a remote place where it was supposed to be just us, unless we cleaned up our phones, we would still technically be working, commenting, liking...and not really be recharged. So we deleted our apps - all of the ones we use to communicate - Facebook, Slack, Emails, and hit the road. This time in the car instead of having our heads down looking at our phones, we talked, sang, looked out the window...

And I realized how freaking much has changed, even since we started dating! Craig was the first person to ever send me a text message and I remember trying to figure out how to type back on my flip phone without the message being charged to my account. 10 cents per text!

As we were down there, we left our phones in our little cottage. The boys were safely with our parents so not taking our phones everywhere was SO FREEING. But you know what I noticed? SO MANY PEOPLE sitting oceanside, where they probably spent a ton of their hard earned money to be, were still on their phones. Or taking photos, which I love to do...but did so this time (mostly) with a Polaroid camera. Which took one second - one chance to get a shot - and forces you to return your attention back to the sunset.

Now I am not judging because I sure as heck am usually one of those people. I just noticed how much life is passing all of us by because we are either trying to be somewhere else or trying to capture the moment so everyone else can see. It was eye-opening.

We're addicted, we know! But what do we do?

This is different for everyone, but here are some steps I am going to take to ensure some technology wellness. I tell my clients to try some of this. It's about time I do.

Turn notifications off.

You do not need to hear every single email and text that comes in. Turn notifications off on your phone, tablet, etc. and pick 2-3 times per day to check all social media and emails. It is more effective and you will probably get more done with a clear mind while checking at a set time.

Download the Moment app.

This is scary, I'm not going to lie. It's an app that tracks time you are on your phone. Time to face the music. Mine was WAY more than I would have guessed.

Keep mealtime sacred.

Whether sitting around your kitchen table, out at your favorite place or alone grabbing a bite during work. Eat mindfully, without looking at your screen. You will taste your food, enjoy each bite, feel the love from whoever made it AND digest it way better than if you scarf it down while checking emails! It's science.

Tech detox.

Yes, I often lead people in detoxing bad food and drinks from their bodies. Now I'm encouraging you to detox from your phones! (Can you believe this is a thing necessary in 2018??) Pick a certain amount of time and delete apps. I personally am "Facebook detoxing" for the month of July and into August when the kids go back to school. I want to be present during each summer moment with them. I will still have to check on work pages and groups, but endless scrolling? No thanks. If my friend is pregnant, she'll text me.

Put on Airplane Mode at night, leave your phone by the door or even turn it off when everyone you love is home safe and sound. I could not believe what a difference 3 days made. Celebrate freedom from your devices tomorrow! I can't wait to see how I feel mentally after this summer. Let me know how YOU feel!

Sources and Additional Reading:

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I help busy mamas go from burnout to mental vigor using the gut brain axis.

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© 2020 by Jes Royston, Nationally Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach