Hitting the “off switch” to start my digital detox

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Unless you intentionally live off the grid on a desert homestead, most of us are guilty of relying heavily on our digital devices. It’s no wonder when you think about everything they provide for us nowadays. From the basics of time-telling, directions, photos, and social media on our phones, to more advanced Google glasses and everything in between. It seems we have fallen head over heels for technology.

I get it. The thought of being without my iCalendar or trying to remember an actual phone number without my contact list is frightening. At the same time, as an online curator and blogger, I enjoy the type of creativity and spontaneity that my digital devices allow. I can search for an image or project on Pinterest, or an article online. I can take a photo of my girls with my phone and share it with my extended family in a blink of an eye. This digital day and age has made life easier and more productive, expanding our horizons and creating communities we never thought possible.

So what’s the flipside to all this happy-go-lucky technology? Well, some of us (dare I say most of us) have, at one time or another, laughed about our addiction to digital devices. We say it lightly but if you think about it, an addiction of any kind is no laughing matter. If we can’t put our phones down to have a simple dinner with our family, or stop constantly posting to social media, perhaps our devices have begun to hinder our lives. Feeling constantly connected to work and other social outlets can cause stress and anxiety that lead to even worse health issues.  

As a nine-year-old child I attended a summer camp where technology was banned. Granted, back in the day that meant no Walkman’s since tablets had yet to be invented, but the idea of unplugging in order to plug into your true self was the same. Fast forward 20 something years and people my age are now beginning to seek solace in the same way.

Digital Detox Retreats are popping up all over the place. These programs help adults shed their need for constant contact with technology. In particular, the aptly named website Digital Detox, which promises technology-free retreats and workshops geared towards slowing down.

Digital Detox says the retreat’s goal is to, “create a space that gives individuals the freedom and permission they need to truly unplug and decompress. Participants put aside their digital arm and unplug, recharge, gain perspective, and reevaluate their relationship with digital technology. In turn, they reemerge with new found inspiration and tools to create more mindful, meaningful and balanced lives, both online and off.”  

The company also boasts about the health benefits of unplugging, stating that, “Learning how to properly unplug is proven to reduce anxiety and stress, while decreasing depression, tech dependency, fatigue, and information overload. And building healthy relationships with our digital devices will determine the future success and sustainability of our companies, personal wellness and collective happiness. Digital Detox programming provides a framework for individuals to truly understand the benefits and best practices of unplugging. Immediate and longterm results include increase in creativity and efficiency, enhanced teamwork and empathy/gratitude, personal growth, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and developing more rejuvenating sleep.”  

If all that’s true, and with activities such as juicing, journaling, yoga and hiking on the itinerary, I say sign me up!

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