FindingBalance: Disconnecting

Jennifer Russo

Ah – December. People seem a little more cheerful at this time of year, despite the changing weather. Stores are alight, and everything seems to twinkle and sparkle. More people volunteer and make donations to charities, and people start shopping for gifts to make those they cherish smile.

For many, it also means some well-deserved time off from work or school. Have you thought about how you will spend your week? Think about what you haven’t had time for and do those things, see those people, run that mile, take that spa day, visit that brewery or take a day trip (or longer) to somewhere you’ve been wanting to go for a while. Whatever you do, do your best to quiet the noise. Not just the actual noise you hear, but the noise of technology, too. Challenge yourself not to look at social media for a day and truly take the time to enjoy yourself. I promise you – the photo you want to share of your lunch or your dog can wait.

Why is disconnecting so important? As much as it seems like we miss nothing when we are so connected to everything, we actually do miss more than we realize. Last year, I went to Florida and decided to leave my phone in my car when I went to the beach. I can’t tell you how many times I saw something I wanted to take a picture of and post. However, at one point, I realized I could just enjoy what I was experiencing (and not worry about dropping my phone in the sand or water, either), and it was enlightening. We have forgotten how to use our senses to take in the world because we are distracted. Are we really seeing the sites, tasting that delicious dinner, feeling the air on our skin or hearing the music of the birds chirping? Not when we are replying to texts. Are we really listening to our loved ones talking to us about their day? Not with our faces in our phones.

Studies show that the average smartphone owner checks their phone every seven minutes. So every seven minutes, you are distracted from everything else in your life. If there are 1,440 minutes in a day, that means you spend almost four hours checking your phone, never mind how long you are actually on it each time.

Disconnect ‑ embrace the real life experiences that will never repeat themselves again in the same way. Actually speak to people. Realize that you don’t always need to know what everyone else is doing all the time. Worry about what you are doing right now and LIVE it.

Om shanti, shanti, shanti. Peace. Peace. Peace