I dream of a day when I can disconnect from technology for an entire month without any backlash.
Unfortunately, that day hasn't yet arrived.
Does this mean that I can't create my own oasis of relaxation and reap all of the benefits of a total technolgical detox? Are we all doomed to days of Facebook notifications and a bottomless email inbox?
Me thinks, "HELLZ NO".
It sure is easy to let life get out of control-- to take on too many projects. To say "yes" to way too many friends.
It's easy to let yourself watch ten more minutes of TV before bed-- especially if you want to know "the mystery chemical in everything you own that is slowly eating you alive" on the 11 o'clock news. Those bastards sure know how to hook ya.
It's even easier for you to do these things because you're ambitious. You see the world. You want the world. When you're ambitious, every waking moment lost goes into the bucket labeled "things I feel guilty about".
STOP IT. NOW. DAMNIT.
Take your jittery hand away from the coffee pot and breathe. Oxygen. Now there's a good drug for you.
It's time to slow down.
Instead of completely disconnecting from the civilized world, I'm going to spend seven days following seven rules. Every one of these rules is something that you can do in addition to your busy life.
1. No alarm clock.
During the detox, you need to treat yourself to at least eight hours of shut-eye, beautiful! Obviously, not everyone can abandon their alarm clock in favor of waking up naturally. The idea of this detox is that it can be applied to your busy life. No excuses. So, if you have to wake up at 6:30 in order to get ready, do it. But you should probably get to bed a little earlier, too. Get to bed super early and cozy up to an old library book!
2. No coffee or caffeine.
Listen, coffee whore. I totally get the addiction. I, myself, am a coffee addict who works in a coffee shop (that means I get a steep discount, which makes it evne more challenging to resist). If I can eliminate coffee consumption for one week, you can, too. As Kris Carr writes in her lovely book, Crazy Sexy Diet, anything that makes you jittery when you drink it and gives you a headache when you don't should not be in your body. Besides, it's only a week! Buck up and bring on the herbal tea.
3. No TV.
Except for one hour in the evening (choose your shows wisely), TV should be eliminated from your day. If you're like me, you probably use TV (and it's partner in crime, Facebook) as a means of relaxation after a hard day. This primo rest time could be put to such better use! Take a nap. Write. Listen to music. Go for a walk. Just don't turn on the tube!
4. No technology in bed.
I, Courtney Johnston, confess that I have a needy, relentless bedfellow: my iPhone. Since buying the damn thing, I've developed a nasty habit of using it to soothe me before bed and to wake me up in the morning. Removing technology from the bedroom is my effort to kick Facebook out of my personal life.
5. Daily yoga.
In 2010, after I landed myself in the E.R. with generalized anxiety (a rapid heart beat for several days straight), the doctor told me that I need to take more "me" time. My mom handed me an A.M./P.M. yoga video to do in the morning and evening. These slow, mindful movements help me to both prepare myself for a new day as well as wind down after a crazy one. Click here for the DVD for beginners.
6. Daily meditation.
Meditation is the magical golden key to slowing down and finding inner peace. If you've never tried it before (or even if you have) I recommend Real Happiness, by Sharon Salzberg. The book comes with the guided meditation CD. If you pick it up from the library, you can even import the meditations to your computer. I am for 20 minutes a day, but even 5 minutes of meditation helps.
7. Nature time.
I'm a city girl at heart. I love the hustle and bustle and concrete jungle. But even in a city, taking a walk around a beautiful garden rejuvinates the soul. You can gain these effects whether you admire Mother nature's trees or a man-made edifice in a cosmopolitain neighbornood. Get outside. Walk around. Get inspired.
I'd love for you to join me! Can you apply these seven rules to your life this week?
See you in a week with the results of my detox :)