As a blogger and someone who works in the social media industry, maintaining a balance of my digital usage is almost impossible. If you didn't Snapchat your night out, did it really happen? Haha! But in all seriousness, I am obsessed with all things digital and social media. Hence, why I work in the industry but I never want to let anything physical take over my life.
We have made great progression in technology and in the near future, new homes will be built as smart homes with complete integrated technology. I am a big fan of the progress we've made and social media as a whole. Oversharing is a way of life now and on the plus side it has helped us build relationships with people all around the world (I feel like I know some bloggers personally) and get advice from complete strangers (Foursquare is full of advice on the latest food spots and activities/ how many of you have Googled a question and ran into a blog explaining it perfectly?). The Internet, people.... it's AMAZING.
The down-side is that it's in our pockets, we sleep next to it at night, and at times we experience anxiety if we don't have access to it. That's where I feel like digital detox comes into play. There two types of digital detox: digital detox retreat & digital detox routine.
Digital Detox Retreat
Check in to a hotel and trade your room key for your electronic devices on your next vacation. This is definitely a drastic digital detox but it's a great destress vacation especially if you are heavily engulfed in all things digital. There are tons of spots you can choose from including California and the Caribbean islands. The Huffington Post has a great list of digital detox retreats that are gorgeous enough to make you actually consider booking one.
I'm someone who loves taking pictures so not being able to document my trip would probably be the hardest part. A solution for that would be bring a Polaroid camera to develop photos instantly. Yes, they still make those. Or bring your professional camera with you but not your laptop to upload the photos instantaneously. Remember when we use to take photos for the joy of memories not the joy of sharing?
Digital Detox Routine
A retreat might be too drastic for some or even after a retreat it's important to incorporate a digital balance into your everyday lifestyle. Reading Arianna Huffington's Thrive really taught me the importance of balancing you mental, spiritual and emotional health along with society's idea of success. Sometimes we suffer from daily FOMO (fear of missing out) that causes use to make sure every notification is seen on our phones and every Snapchat is watched. I'm probably speaking for myself here... no really I'll waste a
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit so what if we worked a no digital routine into our daily lives whether for an hour or a couple days out of the week. Studies have shown that this balance increases our ability to focus and we are able to perform at a higher level.
So how do we start? Arianna Huffington describes it as taking a moment in your day to be completely aware of your surrounding and your thoughts. It is also mentioned in the 7 Spiritual Laws of Success (they call it being intentional).
" I will remind myself to practice present-moment awareness in all my actions. I will refuse to allow obstacles to consume and dissipate the quality of my attention in the present moment. I will accept the present as it is, and manifest the future through my deepest, most cherished intentions and desires."
Here are some examples of ways you can "intentionally" balance you digital use:
- Try not to use your phone during bedtime. Set your phone on do not disturb after a certain time so that it doesn't light up with notifications, texts, or calls. Don't worry your alarm will still work.
- Set aside time to do any activity that you don't blog about or document on social media. Remember what it feels like to do something you enjoy and absorb the feeling in that moment without distractions.
- Take a walk/ exercise with out your electronic device. Running/exercising may be a bit hard without music but how about a daily/weekly walk where you just are aware of nature and it's beauty. I use this daily when I walk my dog in the mornings. I take the opportunity to be aware of nature (and even the sound of my dog barking uncontrollably at neighbors walking by). It's actually more relaxing than dropping your phone on your face from scrolling down Instagram in bed (guilty).
- Reading self-help books. Learn a little bit more about yourself and the world around you. Using an hour a day to better yourself through a book can add up. Time is going to pass anyway, might as well make good use of it.
Disclosure: I am nowhere near having this so called "digital balance" in my life (I still feel bad I didn't Snapchat my dessert from last night, #fail), but I think it's so important to discuss the benefits and risks of living highly digital lives. As bloggers, I feel like it's easy for us to say that we have a responsibility to provide content for our followers. However, we also can't forget about the responsibility we have to ourselves.