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Shutting off

In my line of work, it’s easy to justify being tied to my smartphone all day, every day. I tell myself that since I work in communications, it’s important that I check my email once in a while ‘just in case’.

Well…it escalates quickly. Suddenly, periodic checks of my work email turn into ‘hey, maybe I’ll just see what’s the latest news in my Facebook Messenger friend group’ to ‘I wonder what the big story is on Twitter’ and ‘I’m bored…let’s check Instagram…a hundred times’.

When I first began this social media cleanse, I was adamant that I go cold turkey. I vowed that I would sign off all of my accounts and only check my work email once per night. As I’ve progressed, however, I’ve realized that small, simple changes are really the way to go. I don’t need to social media shame myself into cutting back.

And so that’s what I’ve done. Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a lovely, blissful day at an incredible spa near Whistler, BC. As soon as you walk through the door, it’s made very clear that cell phone use – texting and data use included – is prohibited within the spa area. They ascribe to the belief that a true spa experience means not only relaxing the body but the mind as well. Those four hours spent at the spa were the perfect opportunity to focus on absolutely nothing beyond relaxing and letting go of all of the tiny distractions that ultimately add up to a sensory overload.

As much as I’d love spending entire days at the spa, at some point a return to reality was necessary but since returning from that visit I’ve been far more cognizant of the time I spend on my phone. Now, I allow myself one social media ‘check-in’ in the morning followed by one in the evening. I’ve found that it’s allowed me to concentrate better on the task at hand rather than be distracted by pings, dings and on-screen alerts. Furthermore, rather than watching television or a movie with one eye on my smartphone scrolling through endless Instagram photos, I’m actually present and paying attention. And you’d be surprised by how much clearer you process information when you’re focused on the current moment.

While every day (sadly) can’t be a spa experience, I’ve discovered that much can be done to mentally and physically disconnect.

Next: I’ll recommend some cool apps to help you disconnect (ironic, huh?).

Jacqueline is a Whistler Water employee who is documenting her journey to disconnect from social and digital media once in a while.  Follow her progress here.