By Devika Kodasi
One of our basic needs is connection: be it with our family, friends or even pets. We crave to be a part of a system or a group. But along with that, we have also become a part of Whatsapp groups, Facebook pages, a train of tweets and an overload of news from around the world, happening at real time.
Gone are the days of fancy laptops being your only connection to the virtual; today even your wristwatch can talk to you. Who knows when our shoes will start walking by them selves in an effort to get us moving!
While on the one hand this technology makes us feel in the moment, right in the middle of the action without having to miss family and friends living half way across the world, connectivity comes at a cost. How many of us have had the unconscious thought that the phone is ringing even though it’s not (also known as the Phantom Syndrome), or had an adrenaline rush from instant likes on your updates and distracted you from a pressing work deadline? There is constant stress, a fear of missing out, every app and ping asking for an instant reaction. All of this definitely puts a strain on relationships and general well being. Being constantly wired increases chances of headaches, poor eyesight and insomnia and decreases fitness levels, to just name a few.
So how does one detox from all the technology? A detox suggests disengaging from technology. Be it your laptop, smartphone, the iPad or even a fitness tracker. The first step is to draw boundaries. No need to go cold turkey. Make a plan. Take it slow.
Decide, for example, that on weekends you will stay away from emails and social media.
Indulge in a sport, a brunch with family and friends or just spend time gardening. An instant way to slow down is getting out in nature. We need to consciously breath slowly and taking time to notice our surroundings.
Similarly, mute group conversations for a few hours everyday. It is not essential to immediately reply to or forward a joke or a meme sent to you.
Let your office, colleagues and friends know in advance so that they are aware of your availability and response time. Inform them that your sectioning off your weekends solely for non-digital entertainment, that dinnertime with family is precious to you.
Look for recreational activities that you can either enjoy alone or with company, or maybe even pick up a subject that is of interest to you and read up on it – in a paper book, of course. The e-book can be picked up on Monday!
In a short period of time you will realise that you won’t have to make excuses for sticking through a fitness plan or for enjoying uninterrupted time with family and friends. There will be clarity of thought and the unwanted pressure of multitasking and deadlines will begin to dissipate. And hopefully, what you started as a digital detox for a couple of hours every day, will easily turn to a day a week or a weekend of restful experiences that can be shared on Instagram or via a blog a few days later.