It’s been a while since I’ve taken a full blown technology disconnect. When I was in college, I had a summer job for about 3 months where I was truly off the grid – living out of my tent, no phones, no computers, no TV’s, no radios, full on composting toilets and working in an organic garden. Once I returned to life outside of the mountain valley, things just went on as usual. I did that for several summers and it was glorious. Now though, it’s hard to imagine taking that much time off to disconnect with more responsibilities and people actually relying on me for services and communication. I can’t just go away for 3 months at a time anymore, but I can disappear for a few days here and there. I’ve found it’s a necessary part of my life (several times a year) to take a step away from the phone, the computer, the emails, the daily routine and be in a place where the natural rhythms of life are more present and in the moment. Even if just for a weekend, successfully disconnecting can really re-charge your spirit, but it can take some planning beforehand to make the transition successful.
- Finish up your tasks before you “disappear”. Try not to leave anything lingering, especially correspondence, while you are away. This also leaves room for a clear head while you are off the grid so that you can fully bask in the glory that is alone time and not leave your mind on your to-do list.
- Try not to plan too many things. Even though this might be a little “vacation”, jamming your disconnecting time with scheduled places to be can be just as stressful as being in your daily routine. Enjoy not being busy for a while. It’s pretty great.
- Turn off your phone (or don’t bring it with you at all), set up auto-replies and leave someone in charge of your communications while you are away. This will help lighten the burden when you return. There’s nothing like coming back form a care-free camping trip to be punched in the gut with 50 people eagerly awaiting your immediate replies. Sometimes we need to come out of our disconnect gingerly and gradually.
- Invest in a small notebook or journal to take with you while you’re away. Most of us are not in the habit of not being distracted by things like phones, computers and TV’s. It’s just you and your thoughts out there. You might have some really awesome ones. Write them down to help inspire you later. Keeping your emotions and thoughts with your for later is a great way to remember who you are outside of the technological world, and that might be a very different (more pleasant and calm) person.
If this sounds appealing, make it a goal by the end of the year to have a disconnect trip for yourself (either alone, with your partner or small group of friends) and see how you can do cut off from all that technology. I’ve already planned about 6 this year with weekends away in the woods, camping, canoeing, hiking, running away from the bike race that’s going to take over RVA in the fall…Whatever sounds appealing to you to disconnect, give it a try, and don’t feel guilty if you can’t avoid technology 100%. of the time It’s harder than it seems to leave it all behind, and takes some diligence and true desire to make it a priority.
Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN | HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com