DISCONNECTING FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Dear Community,

If you should know something about me, it’s that I simply love this time of year. Being a late November baby means I get to experience some time to reflect as the calendar year comes to an end and I turn a year older, all while the Holiday magic takes place everywhere around us. It basically amounts to a month of enjoying everything I love in life - changing seasons, connection with loved ones, reflection, delicious food, warm drinks, festive get-togethers, deep conversations, cheesy movies that give me all the feels (The Princess Switch, anyone?!), cozy sweaters and thoughtful gifting. All of December is like one big hug!

In recent years with the rise of tech and our need to be digitally connected all the time, I find myself craving a slower pace and time to go tech-free as often as possible. This is something I’ve really come to value and have experienced the benefit of first-hand. Call me old-fashioned, but I truly miss the days of seeing more offline human interaction, strangers sharing laughter, families engaging in conversation without cellphones at the dinner table, and passersby simply observing the beauty around them versus the screen in front of them. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all of the things that have become possible with these handy devices at our disposal, but that also means I have an increased appreciation for the offline moments.

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I’m a big believer in taking a digital break specifically from social media on a regular basis. For me, that mostly means no Instagram or Facebook when I’m on vacation. As soon as I get on the plane, my phone is set to airplane mode and I try my best to leave it that way even after I land. Earlier this year I was in Portugal and I managed to do so for five days, and let me tell you, it was the most incredible five days I’ve had in a long time. I found that I was so present—my senses were heightened and I was actually in a better mood overall. I got curious about my environment and spent my time exploring, people-watching, reading, mindfully eating and having deeper conversations with no distractions. I savoured the moments instead of focusing on capturing them perfectly to share. I just felt so much more free.

I realize it’s not possible for everyone to simply fall off the grid when they please, but if you’re able to set up your work in a way that allows you to do so, then I promise you the benefits are worth it! Personally, I hired a Community Manager this year to manage Embiria’s social channels which has helped immensely, and I also learned the value of batch-working and advanced content planning.

Have you ever done a digital detox or are planning on doing one? I’d love to hear about it—let me know in the comments below.

Whether you have or haven’t, here are five tips that I find helpful for some tech-free time:

  1. Put your phone on DND whenever possible. That way you won’t be distracted with any notifications. I’ve personally turned off most of my notifications anyway, but this takes it a step further. Having your phone on airplane mode is even better!

  2. Schedule in time to check in if you need to, and stick to it. We often get caught up in the endless loop of scrolling, checking email, back to scrolling, etc. so rather than having this go on and on, block off time if you absolutely need to check in. I’d recommend 25 minutes in the morning or evenings so you don’t have distractions interrupt your day.

  3. Track your screen time. Sometimes just doing this can be an eye-opener and enough to change behaviour. You can also set time limits for usage in the Instagram app.

  4. Keep your phone in another room when working or doing anything else that you want to give your full attention to. I also highly recommend sleeping with your phone charging outside of your bedroom so it’s not the first thing you reach for in the mornings. #outofsightoutofmind

  5. Replace your phone time with things you’ve been wanting to do but just haven’t gotten to. Excited to try a new recipe? Need to clean out your closet? Ready to get into an awesome new book? Well now you can.

During and after the break, journal about how you feel. This part is essential because that’s when you really notice any shifts that may lead to you wanting to recreate those feelings for yourself again in the future. I bet you’ll find that you feel calmer, and maybe more like yourself then you have in a while. I know I sure did.

So as I prepare to go on my year-end digital detox over the Holidays with travel plans for Montreal, Texas and Nashville, I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Holidays and all the best for 2019. I love having you as a part of this Community and am excited to share what’s coming up in the New Year! If you’re looking to start off your year doing something great for yourself, plan ahead and join us at one of our popular Experiences happening in January. I can’t wait to see you (offline)!

With love,

Palak

Palak LoizidesComment