Socially Mindful: Disconnecting in a Connected World

When were you last fully immersed in the task at hand? When did you last eat, fully engaged in tasting the flavours and feeling the textures of your food?

When was the last time you had a conversation with someone that held your attention fully and completely?

If you can answer all of these questions without hesitation then, unfortunate as it is, you're most likely in the minority.more

We're a growing society of multitaskers.

We're tweeting as we walk to work. Planning our #sweatyselfie as we run. Checking in to locations to share with our "friends". We're totally connected with each other in every single way.

Except we're not.

We laugh when we see it on TV shows and in comics but it's a sad and all too common sight - the family, the couple, the friends, together but separately engaged in their social media world.

In a funny way the interest in meditation and mindfulness grows as we become more and more distracted. There is a demand for quiet in all of the chaos of notifications. To be able to remove ourselves from the connectivity.

Lately there's been a rise (although you won't find it trending among hashtags) for the Social Media Free Sunday. More and more are dedicating a day to not engage in social media whatsoever and let your mind rest and restore.

If you're using social media as a way to grow your business this may seem like the complete opposite to a successful strategy. However letting go may be whats needed to advance. Remember that you are your own best asset. Don't let those creative juices run out because you feel you need to churn out content.

A social media cleanse is tough. If you've been on holiday recently and found yourself in a situation without wifi or other data access you may have experienced it. We become bored and restless. Wondering what to do when you cannot tweet, update, or post.

Then something magical begins to happen.

You begin to be.

You allow yourself to be present again, to occupy your mind with your surroundings and to experience what is around you rather than something digital.

And it is bliss.

When we then return to internet access we are once again sucked back into it, but we still remember that feeling of presence.

Is it possible to be present in both ways? Yes, but not at the same time. There are a couple of ways that you can re-shift your focus and so reset your mind.

  • Switch off your notifications. How many apps do you have on your phone that send you updates that are of no real information to you? Turn off anything that isn't going to be vital for you right now. Of course leave on anything related to work and family, but make mindful choices. Do you really need to know every like as it happens or could it be enough to know when you open up Instagram?

  • Treat your time like money. We're more careful with how we spend our money than we are time because we can touch and feel it. We physically hand it over. Start thinking about how you spend your time in the same way. Assign a time for social media, then let go. Using it more wisely and knowing when to save will give you a greater return rather than "flashing the cash" here and there.

  • Be present. Put the phone away when you eat. Leave it on the other side of the room when you go to bed. Turn the screen face down or leave it in your bag when you meet up with friends. Remove any distractions and start to focus all your attention on what you're doing. Once you start to redirect your energy in this way you will feel how you become more efficient, declutter your mind and grow stronger in your relationships.

  • Tune out for a day. Embrace the Social Media Free Sunday. Turn off data, close the apps, and try to leave the phone at home. Engage in activities that bring you joy and allow you to be creative without staring into a screen. Write in a notebook, draw with pens, play an instrument, use a real camera, play a board game - whatever it is that you spend most of your time doing online, bring it offline.

  • Don't beat yourself up. It's an ever winding road to being present, especially in a world that no longer is. If you can't take a day off, that's fine. Just take ten minutes.

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