A guest post from Heidi Barr of 12 Tiny Things
Has anyone noticed that days lately are pretty tech-heavy? Trying to stay connected during this time of social distancing means more screens than ever for many of us, which means we also need to also find more ways to take a tech break.
Being able to tap into so much virtual connection has benefits, of course- thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever before to stay connected when we can’t share physical space. But for me, something feels off when the bulk of my communication is via a screen.
Why you need to take a tech break
All of that digital connection can lead to feeling disconnected from my physical body and I’ve found it is so important to practice taking a tech break.
The work I do as a wellness coach has me at a computer at least 40 hours a week, sometimes more. Which is a lot of time to be engaged in technology-driven communications.
And more often than not during these pandemic days, I pick up my phone and open Instagram without actually processing what I am doing– and end up scrolling longer than I want to admit. I get sucked into the digital fray.
Too much time on devices leaves me hunched over, with shallow breathing and a headache. When that happens it feels like my body is working against me and I know I need to take a tech break.
Mind & Body Communication
Our bodies are smart. If we listen, we can discern what they’re trying to communicate to us. Bodies sweat to cool us down and shiver when we need warmth.
They respond positively to kindness and love. They know how to send cues of desire and satisfaction, hunger and satiety, contentment, and discomfort.
When I truly listen to what my body is telling me, I can tune in to a healthy and sustainable way of being.
Of course, these days, tuning in – REALLY tuning in – is easier said than done.
So, how do we put reconnecting with the body into practice? The need to use technology isn’t going away anytime soon. Yet with some intentional and focused action, it’s possible to take a tech break and care for your body.
Here are 12 simple ways to take a tech break and reconnect with your body during tech-heavy times.
12 ways to take a tech break
1. Take some intentional breaths.
Put your hand on your abdomen, inhale for a count of three and notice your hand moving out as the air flows into your belly. Hold for a few seconds, and breathe out for a count of three. Repeat.
Returning to your breath is one of the best ways to remember you’re a living, breathing, three-dimensional being.
2. Prepare and enjoy a savory meal.
Marvel at the vibrant colors, feel the various textures, inhale the aromas as they meld together into something new. Enjoy feeling your hunger satisfied.
We live in a hurried world and often rush meals, so nourishing yourself and experiencing your food with all of your senses always available as a reconnection tool.
Move your body freely. Let yourself sway and jive and twist however feels good to you in the moment. You don’t have to be good at it, or have a dance studio at your disposal.
Just moving your body in your living room can get your attention away from a screen and into your physical self.
4. Drink a glass of cold water.
Pay attention to how it feels to be replenished. Close your eyes, and really notice refreshment moving down your throat and into your cells.
5. Sit or stand up straight.
Pretend there’s a string pulling your head away from your shoulders, and roll your shoulders back and down. Put your attention on how your body is connected to what is supporting it right now.
How’s your posture? What does the chair feel like against your spine? What’s above your, or off to each side?
Attune yourself to your immediate environment and remind yourself that you are present in it right now.
6. Make your bedroom a tech-free sanctuary.
Get an old school alarm clock if necessary. Keeping phones, tablets, and TVs out of your sleeping space can help you get a good night’s rest.
It decreases your exposure to the blue light that can inhibit melatonin production, and it also reduces the temptation to “just check in one more time.”
Set aside time to wind down at the end of the day. Create an evening routine that works for you and allows you to have tech-free time before going to bed.
7. Start the day with something tech-free.
Sip coffee on the deck. Go for a walk around the block. Meditate. Read three pages from your favorite book.
Beginning the day in analog sets you up to stay in touch with your physical self even when digital devices need to be utilized.
8. Cultivate a body gratitude practice.
What sensations make you feel alive? What strengths or capabilities are you thankful to have?
Make a list of the things your body can do for you and how your body helps you experience life.
Just like with dancing, you don’t need to be good at it. Just use your voice.
Feel the vibration of your diaphragm as you use your body to express yourself in a different way.
10. Connect with nature.
If possible, remove your shoes and walk outside feeling the grass
between your toes. Enjoy the connection to the earth and your connection to the larger collective.
If walking isn’t an option for you, touch a tree or spend some time looking up at the clouds. Spending time in nature is a great way to slow down and take a tech break.
11. Make eye contact.
We spend so much time looking down at phones or at screens, it can make a real difference to make a human connection, and communicate without technology on a regular basis.
We’ve come to accept technology interrupting or distracting our conversations, so it takes a concerted effort to be present with people.
12. Make something.
Draw a simple picture, color in a coloring book, pick up your
knitting needles, strum a guitar, bake some cookies. The act of creation is a sure way to help you reconnect with all the amazing things your physical body can do.
Modern technology tends to leave the physical self out. But with some simple and intentional actions, you can reclaim and care for your body. How are you going to take a tech break today?
Heidi Barr is a wellness coach, writer, and co-founder of 12 Tiny Things. She is committed to cultivating ways of being that are life-giving and sustainable for people, communities, and the planet. 12 Tiny Things: Simple Ways to Live a More Intentional Life is due out in January 2021. Learn more about her work at www.heidibarr.com.
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