Two people I know took a detox from the news and from Facebook this week. The reason? Well, I'm sure you can guess. The election, the pipeline, the cabinet, the protests, the global violence... it's a heavy, heavy world out there and the media ain't shy about broadcasting all the real-life drama that's happening.
Yes, it's important to stay informed. Yes, it's important to be in touch with what's really happening in the world. And yes, it's important to resist, or march, or advocate.
But all this engagement with the chaos that makes up real life can also be over-stimulating, and not add anything new. After scrolling through six articles on my feed, all of them saying essentially the same thing about the new administration, I'm not really getting any new information. At that point, all I'm doing is getting more overwhelmed, more pessimistic, and more aware that I need glasses as I peer bleary-eyed at my tiny screen.
So I get it when people tell me, "I'm deactivating my Facebook for a while."
It's called "digital detox", y'all. People generally need a digital detox when they've overloaded on digital garbage.
This happens to all of us at some point, but I haven't quite reached that breaking point yet, and I hope to avoid it for as long as possible. I'm super conscious about what I'm doing with my phone or tablet or laptop all the damn time. And you bet yer bottom I use these devices to boost positivity and well-being--now, more than ever!
Most people do use their devices in health-boosting ways, even though they may also scroll through whatever BS helps ease their boredom or gets them through the latest awkward situation. What I want to challenge you to do is actually notice when you're using your device to promote a healthy body, mind, or spirit. And then do more of THAT.
Let's use our technology for good! Let's use technology for positive movement and strong community! Let's not fall into the swamp of fear and hopelessness that is so easily generated by overexposure to unbalanced media.
We're all exceedingly different and unique creatures, so what does it for me may not do it for you. But let me give you examples from my own digital diet, so you have a framework for how to consciously curate your own balanced digital library.
Healthy things I access through technology almost daily:
Yoga with Adriene on YouTube: I absolutely adore Adriene. This down-to-earth Texan brings a playfulness and delightful goofiness to yoga that I haven't experienced before. Her tagline is "find what feels good", which makes her yoga videos remarkably therapeutic for me. Click on the link to see one of my favorite Yoga with Adriene videos of all time. (When and where I use this: first thing in the morning, in my living room or at the foot of my bed.)
Headspace: I used this app pretty much every day for the past two years. Only recently did I make the transition to going solo in my meditation practice, but this app has definitely been integral in helping me establish an actual practice! Andy will guide you through meditations that are 10-60 minutes, for when you're freaking out or for when you're eating, for when you want to sleep better and for when you're trying to access your creativity. I've spent many overwhelmed mornings and flustered evenings being soothed by his calm voice. (When and where I use this: right after I do Yoga with Adriene, sitting on my yoga mat. Alternatively, sitting in my car after commuting home from work, right before I walk into my apartment.)
Instagram: Our sight is a very powerful thing; what we see often triggers an emotional response, and that response helps us create stories about what we see. It's stupidly easy to fall into a pit of mind-numbing crap on Instagram, so I try really hard to only follow accounts that are inspiring and positive. For me, this means a lot of travel photos, successful women I respect, beautiful design, art, nature, delicious food, and the occasional cute animal. It would be nice to "attract" all these things (like if I were to use Instagram as a vision board of sorts), but the bigger point is to attract the way these things make me feel. (When and where: when my energy feels stagnant throughout the day, for only a minute or two at a time.)
Healthy things I access through technology on a weekly basis:
So Money with Farnoosh Torabi: this podcast kicks my ass in the best way possible. As a thirty-something, I'm numerically well into adulthood. But financially, I am still in my infancy. I have a long way to go in terms of understanding how credit works, how to invest, and how to leverage money in a way that works for me. But Farnoosh? She lays it out clearly, pragmatically, and (bless!) in normal-people-speak. She keeps financial wellness top-of-mind and within reach. (When and where I use this: commuting to or from work in my car, when the commute is over 30 minutes.)
Marie Forleo's MF Insiders newsletter: I look forward to Tuesday mornings because I get to see Marie in my inbox. I don't typically like e-mail, but I always open Marie's newsletters. Always. I know that I'll feel just a tad more motivated and optimistic after reading her words and watching her video, and that's worth going to my nightmare of an inbox for. Her message is consistently genuine, playful, action-oriented, and devoid of BS: my kinda vibe. (When and where I use this: while drinking coffee or eating breakfast in my kitchen on Tuesday mornings.)
The School of Greatness podcast with Lewis Howes: I love how humble this super-successful and super-connected guy is. He brings on guests who are experienced in all things greatness, whether that means having financial wealth, building empires, building a loyal community, making a living off of your passion, or even simply living your life with integrity even though the odds are stacked against you. Hearing the stories that are spun on this podcast truly get my own mind churning with possibilities. I get a glimpse into various industries, I learn from others' mistakes and triumphs, and I always take away a truth or a piece of insight that keeps me going towards my goals. (When and where I use this: commuting to or from work in my car, when the commute is over 30 minutes. Alternatively, while I'm cooking dinner.)
So there you have it. Podcasts, YouTube videos, e-mail newsletters, and iPhone apps. These digital spaces have the potential to fill my day and mind with junk or fluff, but they also allow me to access resources that are inspiring, educational, and truly nourishing.
Technology is like food. Whatever you take in is what you'll eventually become. Over-engagement in fear-drenched media is like overeating during holiday parties: it feels important and interesting in the beginning, but you feel gross after a while and swear that you'll never consume that crap again. This gross feeling is what makes us want to "detox".
But what if we watch what we consume, right from the get-go? What if we check our mood, mind, and stomach after consuming each (sound)bite? My guess is that we'd feel a whole lot less gross.
I'm curious to know: what uplifting digital resources work for you? When and where will you use them? However your digital diet looks, may it support you in not only being an engaged and informed citizen, but a healthy one, too.