Relieve Anxiety with a Digital Detox
Theresa Polley
February 23, 2021
March 8, 2021
Self Care

When I began my own digital detox several years ago, there was an immediate sense of relief. I had no idea how much power my phone had over me. Just having my phone on my desk when I was working would cause me to randomly pick it up to check it. And for what? Honesty I have no idea.

Too much screen time is damaging to our physical, mental and emotional well being. At recent retreats, I've noticed the trend of not being able to put our phones down. I believe our addiction to our screens has gradually worsened over the last year - we were so desperate for information we couldn't stop checking our phones. Guests are grateful for our new policy - designating our dining table and our yoga studio as phone free zones. I believe a break from technology is much needed by many of us and having so much information at our fingertips is not necessarily a good thing!

I began my digital detox by turning off all of the notifications on my phone. With that first step, I realized, I’m in charge again! Not my phone! How many times I'd see the phone light up and I couldn't wait to see what was happening. I started to feel like Pavlov's dog! I had given my phone power over me, sounds crazy to say it, but it was exactly what I did.

I recently deleted social media apps. At first there was a sense of what do I do now? Then I realized I had much more time in my day to engage with my ACTUAL life as opposed to being a voyeur into someone else's life. My dining table has always been a screen-free zone and I have memories of great meals and conversations with my family over the years.

Many women come to Retreat in the Pines seeking a way to “unplug” from their daily lives. Often just getting away to a place where the focus is relaxation and the only thing you really have to do is breathe, is enough. That space allows you to get grounded and settle into a clear head space and calm emotional state. If you’re in need of a get-away, book a retreat with us. Relaxation is easier to achieve when you're away from your daily responsibilities. But what about unplugging while in the midst of daily life? Modern society is hyper-connected, and the tools that were designed to make our lives easier can, in some ways, make our lives more complicated. The apps on our phones often distract us from being fully present in the moment. While it’s almost impossible to completely unplug, there is a new trend in managing the overwhelming and nearly constant stream of information at our fingertips: a digital detox.

A digital detox doesn’t have to be as extreme as it sounds. There’s no need to throw away your cell phone or sell your tablet. The following tips will help you find better balance in your life by keeping you more connected – not to your device, but to the present moment.

  1. Set Boundaries. Decide when and how often you want to engage with your device. Then stick to it. Remember, you really are in charge!
  2. Make the dining table a screen-free zone. This is the perfect first step towards a digital detox, and one that’s fairly easy to execute. Whether you’re sitting down for a meal with your family, a significant other, a friend or by yourself, the simple act of putting away your phone allows you to be more present. The dining table is a place for connection and communication – with the people who are there with you. Plus, eating in a relaxed space is an Ayurveda tip for better digestion.
  3. Clean up your apps. Declutter your digital life by cleaning up your smart phone. Review the apps on your device. Chances are, there are a few you never use. Delete any apps you haven’t used in a month. What might be more difficult (yet even more freeing) is the next level: deleting the apps that distract you the most, including social media and games.
  4. Turn off your notifications. Few things are more distracting than the ding! of a notification. But how many notifications are relevant to your work or personal life? You can go a few moments longer without being bombarded by your friends on social media and the what’s going on in the world. Fewer email notifications means less of an urge to constantly open your email app. Take it a step further and unsubscribe from marketing emails. Taking this step might even benefit other areas of your life (your bank account!).
  5. Wake yourself up the old-fashioned way. You may sleep with your phone next to your bed, or at least somewhere in your room. Many of us do this because it doubles as an alarm clock. But it’s also a gateway to the distractions of the outside world and can lead to phone time instead of sleep time. Having an actual alarm clock at your bedside and your phone removed from your sleeping space will help disconnect you from the outside world and help you sleep better at night.
  6. Take conscious breaks from the digital world. While completely banishing devices from your day-to-day life may be unrealistic, it is possible to take a gradual detox from their use. Start by taking 15 minutes off one day, followed by 30 the next, and so on. Or, select a particularly distracting social media platform and designate one day a week to disconnect from it completely (Facebook Free Fridays, anyone?).

These steps go a long way toward simplifying your day-to-day life and cutting the cord with your phone. What finally made me cut the cord, was the realization that my free time is limited - why would I want to waste my precious free time zoning out on my phone? There's so much living to do!

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Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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