We’ve lost the way when it comes to downtime, and there’s no doubt that modern technology has a large part to play in this. The boundaries of business hours have become blurred, making many accessible all of the time.
How many quiet evenings in, how many family days out, how many Sunday roasts, coffees with friends, and long-overdue holidays are ruined by the compulsion to quickly check a hand-held device to see what’s come in, to check the status of a project, to read an email from an employer or a client? This conundrum is then further compounded by the pressure to respond, to take action, to make a call.
It’s a vicious circle, and I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to being a slave to my phone. So this month, I tried a digital detox. I didn’t post anything on Instagram. I ignored WhatsApp. I used my phone during business hours only, and put it to one side outside of this. I slept with my phone in a different room to avoid the temptation of taking a peek. I have to admit, it felt good. I spent quality time connecting with friends and family in person without the distraction of my phone, and I worked with my hands and my mind, which was rewarding.
I can’t offer any advice on how as an increasingly techno-driven society we all recover from this. All I can do is emphasise the importance of making parts of your home a technology-free sanctum. Try making your bedroom a special place, devoid of technology. A place as comforting – and as comfortable – as possible, to process your thoughts and ease your mind without the constant buzz of mobile alerts.
In a sleep deprived society, true rest is a priceless commodity that can’t be magicked up or taken for granted.