pumping the brakes + disconnecting
today i want to talk about something that seems to be one of those things that we’re constantly reading and talking about, but not necessarily following through on. we see it everywhere… the idea of pumping the brakes, slowing down, and really enjoying life and living in the moment… but how often are we doing this?
it seems like we are constantly in a rush… a rush to get to the next task, the next event, the next day of the week, the next promotion, the next relationship, the next vacation… and we distract ourselves in those “in between” moments, often with things that don’t bring any real value to our lives, such as social media or television. and we’re doing this so much that we’re often missing some pretty important stuff along the way. [and listen, i enjoy social media and a good binge watch on netflix as much as the next person, but hear me out.]
a few weeks ago, i spent the weekend camping in joshua tree national park [i plan on blogging about this trip and my new obsession with camping soon, so stay tuned]. it was a group trip for a friend’s birthday, and i was going into it only knowing a few of the people who were going to be there. committing to a camping trip in a place you’ve never been with a bunch of people you don’t really know can be a little intimidating… factor in that you’re pretty far away from home and there is no cell phone service [aka no escape from moments where you maybe feel awkward or left out]… and yea, you could definitely say that i wasn’t sure how it would all pan out.
for those of you who aren’t familiar with joshua tree, it’s one of the national parks out here in socal, about 150 miles east of l.a. in the middle of the desert. the little towns that surround the park are exactly how you would imagine desert town to be, and within minutes of driving into the park, you find yourself in a dead zone.
the idea of being in a dead zone, without wifi or at least cell phone service for even a couple minutes freaks people out [remember those verizon commercials from years ago?]… let alone a whole weekend? forget it.
so, in the spirit of making a long story short: i went to joshua tree, disconnected from my day to day life for two days with a group of people i barely knew… and had one of the best weekends i’ve had in a while. i mean, look at this place!
we’re living in a world where being connected constantly is the expectation. cell phone service is one thing, but even having a wifi connection at places like the grocery store, bars and restaurants, or in a public park has become commonplace. and we all know that we’re spending wayyyyyyy too much time with our phones in our hands, mindlessly scrolling our social media feeds, and checking to see who has/hasn’t texted us… i mean, for crying out loud, we don’t even use our phones to actually talk to people anymore.
being in the middle of the desert without any kind of connection to the outside world was so refreshing. every single person on the trip was completely unreachable, which allowed us to interact and connect with one another the way human beings were meant to: with face to face conversation that isn’t being constantly interrupted by buzzing phones letting you know that someone, somewhere has sent you a message that is so trivial it can be said via text message instead of an actual phone call.
it was nice to look at my phone, see that there was less than 10% battery left and not have an anxiety attack about needing to charge it.
on top of all of this, i also noticed that i was rarely checking the time throughout the weekend. when you spend your days in front of a computer/phone screen, checking the time constantly becomes a habit. so, when you know that it’s impossible to have received a text or a facebook notification, you check your phone much less [if at all] and suddenly, time doesn’t matter anymore. you’re living in the moment, not fast-forwarding through it. you’re moving with the universe and the people you’re with in realtime… at a pace much slower than what you’re used to… and wow, does it feel good.
at the end of the weekend, i felt so rejuvenated and relaxed [even after a saturday night spent drinking pretty heavily… i mean, after all, there are some things i’m just not willing to get away from!] that the idea of heading back to the real world and getting reconnected actually made me a little sad, and i felt as if i was leaving a piece of myself behind in the desert [okay, yea, i know that’s cheesy a.f. but whatever, it’s true].
so, do you see the point i’m trying to make? whether you’re spending your weekends in dead zones, switching your phone to airplane mode for a few hours each day, or establishing a “no phones at dinner” rule [except to take food pictures, obviously], disconnecting from technology and slowing down is not only a good idea, it’s so important.
important for our relationships [all of them, with others and ourselves]… important for our sanity… and important for our self-worth and personal growth.
when we’re disconnected, we have no choice but to focus on what’s right in front of us… getting to know the people we’re with, acknowledging our insecurities, confronting personal problems we might be facing, whatever. we automatically slow down and take things moment by moment for what they are, and we don’t distract ourselves from what’s most important with things that are so trivial, yet have somehow managed to become a priority over everything else.
we also can’t engage in activities that make us feel sh*tty, such as comparing ourselves to the people on our instagram feeds who seem to have it all together [remember, it’s all a matter of perspective]. it’s pretty effing liberating.
so, i challenge you to come up with a way you can disconnected this week. for a society that lives and breathes in the digital space, disconnecting sounds terrifying… but in all honesty, you might be surprised by how much you enjoy going off the grid. even if it’s only for one hour, it’s something, and something is better than nothing. start small and see where it takes you. it’s always has been [and always will be] about those baby steps!
need a starting place? i wrote this post a looooongggg time ago about ditching your digital addiction… i’m still working on applying these tricks and staying consistent with them each day. it’s alway easier said than done, but getting started is the first step.
and personally, i’m committing to this 7-day smartphone detox, starting today. i want to make sure that i don’t lose sight of that feeling i had in joshua tree when i was completely disconnected, forced to the pump the breaks, and really just soak up the present moment.
healthy lifestyle staples: detoxifying lemon water
one of my favorite, cannot live without healthy lifestyle staples is kinda weird [but that should be no surprise at this point]. i was introduced to this little concoction in college and would occasionally throw it into my routine here and there over the years, but only in the past year or so has it become a staple in my regimen.
hot lemon water. with apple cider vinegar. and turmeric. and cayenne pepper. every morning. before breakfast.
i knowwww what you’re thinking: no. but let me explain.
first, hot water with a little bit of lemon is a great way to wake up your digestive system and detoxify your body from the day before…essentially, you’re starting the day with a clean slate.
second, the apple cider vinegar will balance your pH levels aiding digestion, improving immunity and helping to clear up your skin.
finally, the turmeric helps reduce inflammation in the body, and the cayenne pepper gives your digestive system one last little boost.
now we’re talkin’, right? for this detoxifying lemon water elixir all you’ll need is:
- 8 oz. of water, brought to a boil
- the juice from half of a lemon
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- cayenne pepper to taste
all you need to do is boil the water, pour it into a mug and stir in the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, turmeric and cayenne pepper. drink this in the mornings before you eat or drink anything else and try to make this a daily habit if at all possible… that’s how you’ll reap the most benefits!
relax with a detox bath
well, it’s finally friday. after a particularly brutal week, when the clock hits 5, i plan on heading straight home and just relaxing. i know we all have those weeks where friday night = sweats, couch, seamless, netflix. i’ll be honest, this is how most of my friday evenings are spent these days. friday night is the perfect time to unwind, put the week behind you and head into the weekend on the right foot. if your friday night relaxation routine could use a little something extra, a detox bath might be just the thing you need.
a detox bath is a great way to cleanse your system, reduce the physical and mental manifestations of stress and stimulate the metabolic process by draining toxins from your system, replenishing important minerals and re-balancing your pH. ready to [literally] jump in?! you will need:
- 1 c. epsom salt
- 1/4 c. sea salt or natural, organic bath salts [i use this one]
- 1/4 c. baking soda
- 1/3 c. raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil [i love lavender or lemongrass]
draw a bath as hot as you can stand so that you can sweat all the toxins out [i like mine super hot] and pour all of the ingredients into the tub. swirl the water around with your foot a few times to make sure that everything is evenly distributed. light a few candles, put on some relaxing music, [optional: pour yourself a glass of wine] and soak for 30-45 minutes. i like to rinse off in a cool shower after i soak, but this isn’t necessary. also, make sure you drink plenty of water before and after to avoid dehydration.
photo courtesy of green chi cafe
3 ways to ditch your digital addiction + get reconnected
ferris bueller, one of my ultimate [fictional] crushes, was right when he said it and i think now it’s more relevant than ever: “life moves pretty fast. if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” don’t believe me? let me ask you this: how many times have you found yourself sitting at dinner or at a bar with a group of friends, maybe even your significant other, only to realize that no one is talking and everyone is on their phones, sending a text message, browsing instagram or updating their facebook status? i’m guessing more times than you would like to admit.
last week, i read this article in the new york times about how disconnected our society has become from just about everything in the age of social media and smart phones. it really opened my eyes and got me thinking about my own habits when it comes to these things. i think that most of us can admit to being at least a little overly attached to our phones. we use them to kill time, fill awkward silences and even to avoid conversations that would be really uncomfortable to have in person. i’ve done all of these things and i’m sure everyone reading this has, as well. [don’t worry, no one’s judging you… at least not yet.]
it seems kind of backwards that things that should be keeping us more connected are actually doing the exact opposite. we’re not only pre-occupied and distracted when we’re with our friends and family, but we are also no longer present with ourselves when we’re alone.
after reading this article, i decided that i wanted to make a conscious effort to reduce the time i spend on my phone. don’t get me wrong, i love instagram and being able to see what my friends and family are up to, especially the ones i don’t get to see very often, but i want to be fully present with these people when i am with them and with myself on a regular basis. i think that we could all benefit from unplugging here and there, so i came up with three things we can all do to put down our phones and experience what’s going on around us a little more:
1. stop checking your phone first thing in the morning, right before bed and in the middle of the night. not only will this give you a chance to ease into your day, you’ll sleep better, too. the light from phone screens can have a negative affect on our sleep, especially right before we turn in for the night. experts say it’s best to avoid looking at your phone for at least one hour before you go to bed.
2. step away from your phone for at least two hours each day. whether you leave your phone in your purse/bag when you first get into work or leave it at home when you run out to do errands, two hours a day really isn’t that long.
3. turn off all social media notifications. doing this will help you to resist the urge to see what’s happening on social media all the time, ultimately reducing your phone-in-hand time.
this might seem a like a lot to take on all at once, but that’s okay! if you need to, take it one step at a time and at a pace you are comfortable with. i know that disconnecting from social media and stepping more than five feet away from our phones can be scary, but, you will be okay and i have proof in the form of a real life example. one of my close friends gave up all forms of social media – cold turkey – for lent and guess what? not only did she live to tell about it, after two weeks she said that she didn’t really care anymore. life is still happening, even if that meal, selfie or check-in doesn’t make it to social media. you just might actually enjoy yourself more if you’re not worrying about how many “likes” your status/check-in/picture/tweet is getting. give it a try and see what happens… i would love to know how it’s going for you!
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