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On my front porch at the end of my digital detox; my family said I look like a different person.

Renee Trudeau's picture

Today marks my first day back in the office after a week unplugged (no computer use, email, TV/movies and only minimal phone use). I spent the time working in my garden, writing, swimming, doing creative visioning for my business, walking barefoot outdoors, visiting springs/rivers with friends and tending to my soul.

Last month I noticed how busy my mind had come and how often I was “hopping on  my laptop for just five minutes.” I was feeling grumpy and irritable towards my family and team and I had lost all my passion and creative zeal. One day, I almost threw my laptop against the wall; clearly, I was done!

I’ve taken (and written about) many digital detoxes over the years. Sometimes they were just a day, sometimes a whole summer in order to finish a book. But this time was different. The sense of urgency that preceded this “off the grid” period, was palpable. My mind didn’t just need to re-boot–my body and soul did too. I think this is reflective of the times we’re living in–things are simply moving too fast and we weren’t designed to operate at this pace or be constantly tethered to digital devices.

After the first 48 hours of being off my laptop and email (my nemesis), I:
-became more playful, spontaneous, relaxed (according to my son) and my husband said I was more “sexy and fun to be around!”
-was reminded how quickly I renew when I spend time in the natural world (I have fire ant bites on my feet and my skin is glowing from all the time I spent outdoors);
-was more attuned, present and plugged into life: everything looked more vibrant and colorful, all my senses were awake (I also cooked some amazing meals using local veggies/fruit).

Additionally, I slept better, I found it easier to care for and appreciate my body and I was reminded of all the things that bring me pleasure: dancing, swimming in rivers/springs, eating ripe berries, listening to music, reading great books and long, lingering dates with soulful friends and loved ones. This short digital detox showed me I can’t continue at the pace I had been (and as many of you know–I “do it different,” and take pretty good care of myself).

I am at a life stage where I need expanses of unscheduled time to dream, process, enjoy “free range thinking,” integrate and explore what’s next for me. And this is very difficult to do when you’ve got 400 emails a day calling for your attention.

As a mindfulness evangelist, “light tech” user and late adopter of all things electronic by choice, I’ve got some new ideas for how I want to shift my relationship to technology. But more than anything I want to lock in the memory of how radically different I felt during the past five days. It wasn’t just about a mental respite–this time helped me remember who I really am.

Want to read more about this theme and how to bring more mindfulness into your daily life? Check out Is it Time to Unplug?  or join me in MA at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health July 15-17 and unplug so you can truly re-connect.


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