Have you heard? Saturday, March 7th is National Day of Unplugging!
It is based on our ancestors’ healthy habit of carving out one day a week to unwind, reflect, have some fun, get outdoors, and connect with people you love. It is a day to challenge your assumptions about the need to be always available and test out some new habits to create a more productive relationship with your digital life.
Let’s look at some of the red flags that show our digital life is controlling our attention and energy:
- Do you feel anxious when your phone is not near you or is low on power?
- Do you check your phone even when you haven’t received a notification just to make sure you haven’t missed something?
- Do you assume bad things are going to happen if your phone is turned off, set on do not disturb, or you don’t respond to a text immediately?
- Do you check your phone before your feet hit the floor in the morning and/or when you get up in the middle of the night?
- Do you immediately grab your phone if you have a moment of quiet – waiting in line, at intermission of a concert, as soon as the movie is over, waiting for a meal to be served, or while you are eating?
Many of us can say yes to one or more of these questions. Yet they are indicators that we are staying in a mid-grade stress reaction much of the time – always on alert and anticipating the next thing. Then we wonder why we are tired so much of the time, why we cannot focus the way we want to, why we can’t remember what we need to, why we sleep but wake up not feeling rested or refreshed.
The most basic shift we need to make to create a more productive relationship with our phones is to challenge the assumption that speed equals urgent and/or important. Just because so much is coming to us quickly and is available to us instantaneously doesn’t mean that it is urgent or important.
Be willing to:
- Set the settings in all of your apps to reflect how and when you want to receive notifications.
- Set priority phone numbers and email addresses so that the truly important will come through and you can have your phone on do not disturb without the anxiety that you will miss something important.
- Negotiate response times and “not available” times with people in your life instead of assuming an immediate response is always necessary.
- Most importantly, fully engage with people and activities in your life that are truly meaningful, enjoyable, and are congruent with your values and goals.
If you are always “on call”, you are missing the best parts of your life, keeping yourself in the stress reaction, and being less productive. Instead of living in reaction mode, pause and take in what life offers. You will be happier and healthier for it.
Anne B. Parker, MA, MHSA
Miraval Arizona Wellness Counselor
Mindfulness is the core of the Miraval philosophy. In everything we do, we encourage our guests to live in the present moment, conscious of the unique intersection of mind, body and spirit.
Learn about “Miraval Mode” and how we use it to help crate a tranquil environment for all our guests.
Hey, Anne! It’s Page! So nice to see your smiling face pop up in my e-mails today! And love reading your well-written article!
I would still like to bring my daughter and DIL to Miraval for their July/August birthdays! When we wanted to come two years ago in August, you were on vacation. Are you there in July?
Hugs to you and your family!