There is a lot of panic and fear in the world right now. Some of us are getting sick or have family members who are sick. Some of us are worried about not being able to see family who are in nursing homes or hospitals. Some of us are worried about how we are going to pay the bills. A lot of us need to be strong for our children and reassure them that the current situation will be over and life will become normal again. Putting on a brave face everyday creates stress and panic as well.
During this time, it is important we take care of ourselves. If we don't take care of ourselves, we cannot take care of others. One way to take care of ourselves is to take a digital detox. There is a lot of fear, stress and anxiety on social media and in emails. I am getting a ton of emails everyday about natural products that can fight viruses. Just seeing the subject lines are stressful and painful reminders that our world is changing.
Normally, I make sure to cut back on social media during vacations. We try to take vacations that are a mix of activities and relaxation. It is our time to reconnect with each other and ourselves. During regular life, it feels like we barely get to see each other. Working, running errands, maintaining the house and all the things we make a priority.
But now is a different time. We are home. We live in New Jersey and the state is under mandatory stay-at-home orders. This means we will be staying at home. I doubt we will even take a vacation this year. Now is the time for a digital detox.
What do I mean when I say digital detox? Do I mean not looking at your phone or computer at all? Or even turning off all electronic devices? NO. We need to be accessible at this time. We need to stay in touch with family and friends. Positive interaction will help us get through this difficult time. Most of all, we need to stay informed to keep ourselves and our families safe.
What I mean when I say digital detox, is to regulate the amount of time being spent online. Since the majority of us are staying at home, especially if we are not an essential employee, it is very easy to fall into the trap of being on our phones or computers all day (and all night) long. By being tuned in and online for multiple hours without a break, we create a negative environment that can make us sick. An environment that can make us feel sad, depressed, anxious and stressed.
A stressful environment impacts our immune system and makes us have gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, lack of energy, brain fog, moodiness, skin rashes, abdominal pain, anxiety, frequent belching or stomach gurgling. When we feel this way, it makes us unable to focus on work and our family. An environment like this makes us feel paralyzed, hopeless and not wanting to talk to family and friends.
While stress and anxiety can contribute to having these embarrassing symptoms, getting to the root cause of what is causing them is critical. Not sure where to start? I am here to help!
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A digital detox is one way to ease your physical symptoms since you won't be exposed as often to negative emotions. Putting the phone or computer down and taking in the sights and smells of our surroundings without immediately posting about it, is very therapeutic. It helps retrain your mind to be in the moment and to experience the physical world.
How did constantly posting to social media happen to us? Why has it become so important that we are connected in every way possible? I actually didn't realize how addicted I've become to checking my phone until I consciously stopped doing it. The website HealthFitnessRevolution.com posted an interesting article on the health benefits of a digital detox.
Some of the health benefits of a digital detox are:
✨Reduced depression and anxiety
✨Being more personable
✨Better eating habits
Turns out, as we are glued to our phones, other skills and activities we would normally do, get pushed to the side. For example, if you are waiting at a bus stop or standing in line waiting to check out of a store, instead of scrolling through social media, talk to the person next to you! Talking is still a great way to communicate and it doesn't mean you are limited to express your feelings by preset emojis.
Now don't get me wrong - a big benefit of being on social media is the ability to see what is happening with people you may not be able to visit or see in person often. I have plenty of friends and family that I interact with regularly online because I wouldn't see what they are doing otherwise. So I am really grateful that I am able to connect with them and share in their life experiences.
I am also really grateful that I can share knowledge via social media channels and my blog to people I have never met before. I know they find the information I share valuable and we may have never met if it weren't for the internet.
But until I started separating from the digital world, I didn't realize how much I was missing by always being on my phone or tied to the computer. For example, taking a walk in the neighborhood and noticing how the sun feels on my skin. Also, when I don't have my phone near me all day, I feel more relaxed and less stressed.
Being relaxed and having less stress is known to keep our gut health and immune system healthy. When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system. Also, when we are stressed, digestion is inhibited making it more likely we will experience symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. (Source: Simply Psychology)
I encourage you to try a digital detox starting today. To begin, make a commitment to yourself about how many hours a day and what times you will participate in social media. For example, try two hours when you first wake up and then maybe two hours in the evening. Once you find a routine that works for you, I'll bet you won't miss your phone or computer at all!
Do you think you will try to cut back on the amount of hours you are spending in the social world? Let me know by leaving me a comment below.