Happy, Healthy Mind – Disconnect Friday

Happy, Healthy Mind – Disconnect Friday

Disconnect

I am sure you are aware that there have been many studies and talk lately revealing how much time people spend on their phones. One study said we check our phones over eighty five times a day, with Millennials spending a third of their waking hours on their phones. Other studies researched the impact that our phone usage is having on the quality of our life and relationships. They say our phone usage will affect our brains, and therefore our attitudes, behaviors, and thoughts. I read this in the Huffington Post: “Research has shown technology use can impair attention, productivity and memory, dampen creative thinking, increase stress levels, reduce sleep quality, and lead to “cognitive errors” like forgetting meetings and walking into people.”

I am bringing this up because, until last month, I honestly didn’t believe that I was being affected personally. I didn’t feel I spent that much time on my phone or searching the internet. I have always prided myself on, not only my self control, but my efforts to be ‘in the moment’ with others. I seriously thought that for one, I wasn’t addicted to my phone usage and second, I didn’t spend that nearly as much time on my phone as those around me. Well, I was wrong, my quality of life was being impacted negatively, and I didn’t even realize it. This vacation was life changing in so many ways, and I would like to explain…

You see, at the end of last month, my husband and I sought out a remote cabin in the Sequoia National Forest. We wanted a completely relaxing vacation to reconnect to each other and go completely off the grid. And I do mean, completely. Both of our jobs necessitate us to be on the internet everyday. And our favorite form of entertainment is, you guessed it, online. Not to mention there are the endless emails and news updates to catch up on. So, we purposely picked a cabin described by reviewers as going back to the 80’s. No internet. No cell service. No cable TV. No DVR. None. Zip. Nada. I thought no big deal. I’m not online that much anyway, right?!?. Wrong. Some of the things I immediately noticed is how often I reached for my phone, keeping it by my side at all times. Even if it was to check the time multiple times a day. Or my email. Or my text messages. Or Google News. Not to mention, all my social media accounts. I quickly realized it was probably a good idea to turn it off completely. That was a weird and foreign idea. Before I left, I loaded up my IPad with lots of ebooks, music and movies as the cabin only came equipped with old VCR movies and board games. I was surprised that I ended up using my IPad on only two very brief occasions. (Not to mention I packed lots of groceries as there were no stores or restaurants even close to nearby.)  Am I painting a clear picture of remote?

When I saw the picture online of the cabin’s deck surrounded by nature, lots of trees and a lazy creek, my heart, mind and soul craved to be there. I pictured myself on that deck in the absolute quiet, journaling and reading to my hearts content. And that is exactly what I did! I would close my eyes at times, feeling the sun on my face and just listen. Listen to the bees buzzing, the hummingbirds zooming by, the eagle call, the bubbling water over the  rocks in the creek, and the wind rustle the leaves. What I didn’t realize is how the absolutely refreshing and rejuvenating tranquil, quiet time (and I mean complete silence) in nature would heal my soul. My favorite part of the day was breathing in the crisp morning air, snuggled up in a blanket, listening to the creek with my cup of coffee. My hubby would later join me for some very deep soul conversations as we would sit side by side swinging in the sunshine.
 
I had a lot of fun playing house by preparing our easy healthy meals and eating them together, with you guessed it, more quality conversation. To say we reconnected as a couple would be putting it mildly. Our relationship was completely transformed by our, should I say, remote off the grid vacation. Most importantly, I was literally transformed, mind, body and soul. At the end of our vacation, I learned a very valuable life lesson. Life in this fast paced world is hectic and busy. We all are connected to the internet many hours per day. I realized I had the choice to disconnect from the world, to refresh and reset. I learned I needed to set aside time, every week, not only for us, but for me. And that has been our resolve and commitment since we have returned.
 
We immediately started planning a day each week for just us, to go off the grid. We called it #NoTechnologyDay or #OfftheGridDay. So far, we have found some really cool places locally to explore. Mini vacation days to unwind and reconnect with each other. Last week we packed a picnic and sat near a pond with lots of ducks in a quiet valley we had all to ourselves. The drive there was amazing as well. The week before that we found another stretch of water where we could change into our swimsuits and swim as we had the place to ourselves. I can honestly say the benefits have been too many to number.
 
So if you try to call or text me tomorrow, sorry I wont be available. We will be in search of our next local adventure. Completely disconnected from everyone but each other. 
 
 
Copyright © 2018 Kathleen De Haven – All Rights Reserved.

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