A long long time ago we lived in a world without cell phones, without email, and without notifications popping up and stealing our attention every 30-seconds. (Business Insider reports that “the average person gets between 65 and 80 phone notifications a day”). It was a simpler life, one that might have been less productive, but offered something we didn’t know we needed–Disconnection.
What It means to Disconnect
In recent years we’ve seen the levels of stress and anxiety grow in our own lives and I can’t help but think it’s due to the fact that we’re always on. From posting our highlight reel to social media to answering emails for work at all hours of the day to looking at notifications pop up on your smartwatch during your yoga class (yeah, we see that!)
The constant need to show up for others usually means we’re missing a chance to show up for ourselves or to go deeper with those right in front of us.
This time in the world is new. Never have we been so connected to everyone and everything. It makes you wonder what we’re missing out on by not giving ourselves a chance to disconnect.
My Journey to Disconnect
In recent months I’ve approached technology and my time differently. I focus a lot more on myself. I don’t say that selfishly, I say it to set boundaries and expectations. I have to live with me 24-hours of the day, I’d like to be a person I want to be around which means I need to be practicing self-care.
For me (and this will be different for you) it’s meant setting intentional boundaries and expectations with the people in my life. I don’t give anyone (including my family) 100% access to me. I turn off all notifications so that social media or email aren’t taking me away from what’s in front of me. I turn Do Not Disturb when I’m working on my artwork or in a yoga class (at home or in the studio). I’ve added a signature to my email that says I will do my best to get back to you in 24 business hours and that I don’t check or respond to emails over the weekend.
I’ve created clear lines in the sand of where I stand when it comes to my time and time with others. This has not only helped save energy but gave me space to fully disconnect, process, and dream.
The last 5-months of 2021 I got off social media completely in a more dire way to disconnect and put my focus in more productive places. This time away brought me back to a passion I’ve had since childhood but lost in the hustle of climbing the ladder to success. You don’t know what kind of magic you’ll find when you turn off the world and tune in to what’s going on inside of you.
How to Disconnect
Disconnecting for even a few minutes in the day will take a bit of planning and a whole lot of boundaries. Here are a few ways you can choose to disconnect.
- Take a yoga/barre class but leave all technology at the door. This is your time.
- Turn on do not disturb for 30-60 minutes and enjoy time reading, journaling, or taking a bath.
- Delete social media apps off your phone and only use them on desktop.
- Turn off all (yes even email) notifications so that people aren’t taking your attention without your permission.
- Add a signature to your emails that set clear boundaries of when a response can be expected and when you are/aren’t on email.
- Define your work hours and stick to them. If you say end of day is 5:00 PM don’t go back to emails after the kids are in bed. Use this time away from work to re-energize and spark new ideas.
- Go for a walk in the middle of the day and leave your technology at home. It could just be a 10-minute walk around the block.
Disconnect to Reconnect
By taking back your time and attention you get to choose what places in your life deserve your time. I like to say, you can do it all, just not at the same time. By disconnecting and setting boundaries you get to slowly choose what’s important enough to return to.
If you want to spend more time with family then these boundaries will give your full attention to the people you love most when you’re with them. It will also make time for those people.
Disconnecting from the world will also give you the chance to reconnect with yourself, the most important relationship of all. During this time you might learn new things about yourself or start healing old wounds.
No matter how you’re choosing to reconnect (with others or yourself), by setting boundaries and getting intentional with your time, you are showing the world what’s most important to you–Self-care, community, and being here now. . .the very foundation to yoga.