I am now three weeks into my digital detox, and after the first two, the novelty factor has worn off and life has settled into a most excellent rhythm.
This week I have noticed how much extra time I have at my disposal which is a wonderful feeling.
One of the things I was looking for from this experience was to be more present in life and I am absolutely feeling this. From concentrating on a single task at a time rather than forever multitasking, to quiet time for reading and enjoying uninterrupted conversation. Presence is not only good for the people you're with, but the sense of feeling fulfilled from being fully in flow with whatever you're doing is refreshing.
One of the highlights of this week was a day with some fellow coaches ~ this group are absolutely on my wavelength and I look forward to our days together with the excitement you get before seeing great friends.
Previously I can say I've been enthusiastically engaged in our day but not fully present, with an eye on notifications, calls and emails whilst talking through new concepts and ideas, but this time with no technology in the way of conversation the time was even more enriching.
The benefits of being fully in the moment with the people you're with is clear. It's not only great for you but the people you are with feel the difference too. Reports show individuals feel like they've been heard fully and appreciate the quality of the time spent together when mobiles or other forms of technology are not involved.
We've all experienced what it's like for the person you're with to be distracted by technology. It's like having an attention seeking child tugging at your cuff while trying to have a conversation. It is undoubtedly more fulfilling and positive to know the person you are with is only with you. No interruptions or distracted minds. Just you, them and dedicated time.
One of the promises I made myself this week was to alter my mornings. I mentioned previously how switching my phone on had crept into being one of the first things I did in the morning. I have wanted a more balanced start to the day for a while so I wanted to use this week to try a new idea out.
I'm calling it my Morning Ritual.
My diary was very full this week juggling client time with networking and writing commitments, so I knew that to make some good new habits I'd need to be determined ~ there's nothing like a busy week to focus the mind and make you take action.
To create my Morning Ritual I set the alarm for an hour earlier than usual and took the opportunity to have some clear mind space to prepare for the day. The time was spent for meditation, reading, yoga and journalling. These are mainly the four parts of my day that I will drop because time has run away or unexpected things crop up ~ as they do.
This Morning Ritual was non-negotiable and I felt the difference immediately.
The way I split it was 20 minutes for some silence or meditation, 20 minutes for some gentle yoga to wake my system up and 20 minutes for reading and journalling my morning thoughts. It's been transformational in starting the day with good energy and focusing my mind. After this extra hour, I feel perfectly ready for the day and not in the usual rush to get started. There's plenty of time for my usual morning commitments, however, my mind is calm and focused instead of racing and feeling like I'm rushing to meet my time frames for the day.
Having this extra time to invest in yourself means you're putting yourself as a priority and sends yourself the message that your self-care and wellbeing is the most important thing to you. If you're taking care of you before the external factors, then you will be much better equipped for the extra challenges and responsibilities that life delivers.
I would highly recommend it, even if you can only manage a 30-minute head-start to begin with. It's a personal commitment to my wellbeing I intend to keep.
So, how am I feeling after week three?
It's been wonderful. My wellbeing is lifting week on week and sleep quality is building too. Most surprisingly, I haven't had a headache since before this started. I am so impressed! They had become a regular part of life ~ I could predict I'd have one most weeks at some point and when they hit, they'd be awful. I always had strong painkillers in my bag and although I still have them on standby, I've not needed them yet. This is a big deal for me!
Last weekend I needed to go shopping ~ as a dedicated shopaholic this is something I had no idea I had been missing out on. I needed a few bits that I would normally have ordered online as and when I ran out ~ new cosmetics, hair products and girly luxuries but instead I went to my favourite shopping town and hit the boutiques.
I ended up with better products and different items than I would have bought on auto-pilot online and realised how much I had missed the feeling of hitting the shops! The instant gratification of beautiful products in lovely carrier bags, helpful service based on conversation around my needs, having a leisurely lunch out and being in beautiful surroundings was so uplifting! I can't get over how much I had let this simple pleasure go! I won't be letting that slip by again.
As for the flip-side of this, I am certainly missing my online connections! Friendships and connection are very important to me. As an extrovert, interaction is something I crave and struggle with making the conscious decision to pass that up.
Driving without satnav has been hair-yankingly frustrating at times (ugh, road closures and not having a Bluetooth phone in the car to call and say I'll be late drove me nuts!), and one of the things I miss most is my camera! There have been countless times I've automatically gone to take a picture of something while I've been out and wanted to remember it, or the dogs have done another cute something-or-other, but the benefits outweigh all these tremendously. Apart from my friends. That is much harder than I thought.
On the plus side though, my mind is calming down from the always-connected chatter and my creative side has started to emerge more strongly than ever. Let's see how next week goes . . .
I hope you've all enjoyed your week and have a fab weekend ahead! Let me know in the comments section below how you're going and if you've been detoxing, even for half a day, I'd love to hear your thoughts and how you're getting on.
See you next week,