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Digital Detachment

Michelle Martin
Digital Detachment We live in an age of unrestrained technological growth. As a result, our digital consumption has left many of us feeling isolated and unfulfilled. On March 1, 2019 many people will pause to acknowledge National Day of Unplugging, which is a 24–hour global respite from technology (sundown to sundown, March 1–2). This respite is to remind us to reconnect with each other, nature and ourselves.

On average, Americans spend more than half of their waking lives staring at a screen. This type of technology fixation has been linked to a number of negative health effects, both physical and emotional. Technology may have “connected” us through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but studies reflect loneliness and anxiety are actually growing…at a staggering rate.

The facts around our digital use are shocking. Our digital over–consumption has been shown to negatively affect our relationships, work performance, and personal identity. Child development studies have revealed social media promotes narcissism, anxiety, reduced empathy and insomnia in young adults. Other statistics around online use reflect the same dim forecast for working adults.

– One out of ten Americans report depression; heavy Internet users are 2.5 times more likely to be depressed
– 61% admit to being addicted to the Internet and their smart devices
– The average employee checks 40 websites a day, switching activities 37 times an hour, changing tasks every two minutes. However, only 2% of people can actually multi–task without a decline in performance

Human beings have an incredible talent for adapting to their environments. Along with the increase in technology use, we also have voracious appetites for knowledge, adventure, creativity, and community. There's no time like the present to reconnect with family, friends, nature, and yourself. But how do we disconnect to reconnect? Take a moment to address how the following practices may assist you during a digital detox, and start paving a path to a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.

– Practice gratitude and mindfulness
– Get outdoors and play
– Find your community and cultivate social connections
– Discover your purpose
– Create a smart device alarm to reduce screen time
– Practice JoMo – Joy of Missing Out

Be prepared for some aspect of digital withdraw, but know the symptoms are temporary. Start with one goal you can achieve. Perhaps it's a specific reduction in hours spent on the Internet. Maybe you delete one social media App. Consider turning your Smart phone off during certain hours of the day, and set your phone to Do Not Disturb between the hours of 10:00 pm and 7:00 am. Each of these goals are specific and attainable, and allow for time and consideration for deeper connections with those you love, along with your own personal enrichment.

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Michelle MartinMichelle is a Certified International Health Coach (CIHC) and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She supports Canopy’s health and wellness initiatives through a holistic approach based on bio–individuality. Michelle writes and speaks about health-related issues including sleep hygiene, nutrition, mindfulness, and forgiveness. She has presented for a wide variety of industries and audiences, and encourages attendees to be boldly curious about their wellness journey. Michelle volunteers her time as a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) instructor, providing evidence-based education and coaching for families of loved ones with a mental health condition.

Along with supporting wellbeing initiatives, she is part of the Customer Success Management team and assists with providing proactive service and solutions for Canopy Members and partners.