If you follow me on social media, you might have seen that I shared about my intention of a digital detox for the month. This came about because when I was in Mauritius (May- July 2017), I realized I spent too much time on my computer or social media working.
I had a good flow going in terms of content writing for this blog, as well as taking care of my second business, BrandSalt. It also gave me time to explore other ideas and turn them into action. It was during that time that I became the ambassador of Co-Working Days in Mauritius, setting up our first co-working day event on the island. I was on a roll and loved all that I was engaged with. The only resistance was from my body and my mind.
When your body wants rest
Everything felt like a drag. I woke up exhausted. I was falling asleep during meal times. At first I blamed it on the humidity levels of the tropical island. But then, it occurred to me that something was off. Very off. I should have gone to see a doctor. But even that felt like climbing a mountain. The sheer thought of getting out of bed, putting decent clothes on, and going to see the doctor was enough to make me bury my face into the pillow. I did question whether it was a burn out. It did not seem like it. I wanted to do things. I still had the desire to make things happen. I just could not accomplish much due to feeling sluggish. At night though, I was in high alert and could not fall asleep easily. I was sick a lot. Emotionally, I was also not in the best place.
I needed a vacation. A holiday. Time off.
Not easy to do as a slow travel blogger, where my lifestyle feels and looks like I’m on holidays. But actually I’m not. So I decided instead to do a bit of a detox from the digital world, which was easier to implement.
Being in Mauritius did not mean I was sipping coconuts all day and hanging out on the beach. That’s not to say I didn’t do this, but I was also working long hours, sometimes late into the evening. Sitting all day, at my computer hardly got the blood flowing in my body. As a result, my health (physically and mentally) took a knock.
I am so glad I did this digital detox. It gave my left thumb a break from HEART-ing all those Instagram pictures (sorry that I did not like your post, by the way!). I gave my eyes some respite – they were dehydrated enough from the sun, I didn’t need to add my computer screen into the mix too. I tried to do more analog work wherever I could. I took notes with a pen instead of typing it on my laptop. I planned my life in my bullet journal. I indulged in colouring, painting (dabbling with it), finishing off my macramé wall hanger, and other activities that did not involve a keyboard and a screen.
It was such a great feeling. I got back to basics.
Breathing. It’s such a simple thing that we forget, or don’t pay enough attention to it. I really made it a point to focus on my breathing. I took deep breaths. I inhaled in joy, hope, love while I thought about things I’m grateful for. I exhaled everything that made me sad, stressed or tired.
Less time on social media. I managed my time well there. Posting only when required and nothing more. None of the mindless scrolling through people’s feeds, no matter how entertaining or pretty. I set an allocated amount of time per day and that was it. My work is mostly on social media so it was still a huge chunk of my time, however I did not give it more attention than needed.
Hobbies. I indulged in my hobbies, for the simple reason that they bring me pleasure. I took great delight in colouring a lot. I also started reviving my long lost painting skills. I spent more time admiring trees, leaves, birds, shells, sand, the sky, the stars.
Quality time with my significant other. We had not really been on dates or done anything romantic or ‘couple-like’ for a long time. So it was lovely to spend time talking to each other, instead of sitting next to each other with our heads buried in whatever was happening on our respective iPhones.
Body movement. I walked. Out of bed and to the other rooms in the house. Or stood in the kitchen, cooking, washing, soaking lentils. Bent my body to pick up something on the floor, or stretched out to reach a mug on the upper shelf. It’s amazing how little I do these when I’m so engrossed on my laptop! I also did laundry (by hand as I do not have a washing machine) so it felt like living in the 17th century in a small town, hanging my clothes on the line in the sun. At times, I went for walks in nature such as the botanical gardens, by the beach or down the road. I enjoyed it and slowly started seeing some colour in my cheeks and lips.
Good thoughts. With my new business, new service offerings, I had every reason to be a little tense. I did my best to think good thoughts. I tried not to think of new strategies or how to market myself more, especially in the evening before bedtime. I tried to think of lovely memories. I focused on my love for people. I thought of my friends, scattered all around the globe. I thought of my family members, also everywhere in the world. I thought of how blessed I am for everything I have. I also thought of my accomplishments so far, and decided to let go of any thought that was not helpful. It was not always possible, but it can be done for sure. I started waking up by saying my prayer of thanks to God, instead of reaching for my phone to reply to Instagram comments.
Living. I was less in the virtual world. I was more in my present reality. Living life. Not necessarily living to the fullest the biggest adventure ever, but more living every moment. Being 100 per cent in this moment, this very minute. It felt amazing.
It might take me a little bit more time to get back into the ‘groove’ of blogging consistently once again. I am on the right path though and I will soon get back into it. Balance in everything and moderation is important. It is my hope that you are also taking time away from social media and the digital world to do other things that matter to you. I hope you are living, and cherishing every moment. Time is ticking, in a few months we will bid goodbye to the year. So let’s make it count!
Let me know in the comments below what you do to take a break from the digital world?