Category Archives for Self Care Practices

Why You Need to Unplug From Technology (and How To Do It)

Remember the days when you could just let your phone ring and have it go to voice mail? People actually ignored technology. Yes! There was a time when we had more control over who and what we allowed in our world. Since the advent of smart phones – and the infinite ways in which we can entertain ourselves with them – that has all changed.

The proliferation of technology – in the hands of almost everyone – has shifted the way we relate to it. It has gone from being an adjunct to our lives, to being a necessity. Most people freak out if they can't find their phones. And it's not going to go away. We now have more mobile devices than people on the planet! According to Cisco's Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update 2014–2019 White Paper:

“By the end of 2014, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on earth, and by 2019 there will be nearly 1.5 mobile devices per capita.”

There is no doubt that technology is awesome! If you're stuck in the middle of nowhere and have lost your way you can access a map app and find your way to your destination. If your tire has blown out on the highway you can call for emergency road service without leaving your car. If you want to get fit there are great apps that help you track your progress and provide motivation. But, there is a downside to the wonder of technology.

The portability of technology, with smart phones and tablets, and the uber-connection of social media can make it especially challenging to take time off from the world at large. This constant connectivity has become a way of life for many and it has some serious drawbacks:

  • Brain Fatigue. Digital devices deprive your brain of down time. Downtime lets the brain go over experiences, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories.  Processing too much information also leaves you fatigued. 
  • Eye Strain. Small, bright screens on smartphone's force you to squint, leading to eye strain, difficulty focusing, dry eyes and even double vision.
  • Neck Pain. Routine texters place extra pressure and stress on their neck column, giving them intermittent pains in the neck.
  • Sleep Disruption. Two hours of exposure to light-emitting devices, such as smart phones and tablets, can reduce your melatonin levels (sleep hormone). 
  • Loss of Attention Span. Excessive cell phone use can cause loss of attention span.

As it turns out, there are plenty of reasons to give your digital devices a break. That change is going to have to come from you. There is now a whole industry of mobile software developers competing to provide you with games and apps to meet your every need. The choice is yours.

Do You Need a Digital Detox?

Let's check in to see if you can use a break from your digital darlings. Take a look at the list below and give yourself 20 points for every one that's a ‘Yes.' Anything below 80 and it's time for a digital detox:

  1. Check email or social media first thing in the morning.
  2. Take your mobile device everywhere you go: dinner, bed, bathroom, etc.
  3. So much on your computer, it keeps you from spending time with real people.
  4. Constantly posting to Facebook or texting/emailing when with other people.
  5. Can’t get important work done because you have to check your messages.

We all need a little escape from the day to day routine, but when checking out with technology becomes the norm it's time to reassess and realign.

How to Unplug From Technology

Are you ready to leave your computer, cell phone and tablet behind? Maybe that's a bit drastic but there are some adjustments that you can make that will give you the freedom to avail yourself of the real world:

  1. Schedule technology time. Whether it's posting to social media, reading and responding to emails or writing a blog post, don't do it willy nilly. Schedule a specific time of day for these tasks. Do not make yourself available at all times. It will suck your life force.
  2. Turn off notifications. You don't need your phone dinging every minute to advise you of emails or social media updates. (Better yet, remove social media apps from your smart phone. It's a bold move. Be brave.)
  3. Talk don't text. We're quickly losing the art of conversation. Texting opens you up to much more misinterpretation. There's no way to convey tone and inflection, which deeply shapes the meaning of your words.
  4. Don't take your phone to meals. Is there anything more annoying than having lunch with a loved one or friend, and they pick up their phone every time it dings? When did it become okay to rudely ignore your current company for a social media notification? Leave your phone in your purse or your pants. Pay attention to the person in front of you.
  5. Don't take your phone to bed. This is very tempting, especially if you sleep alone. Your phone keeps you company. It keeps you connected. It can also disrupt your sleep cycle. Two hours before bedtime shut your phone off. Gasp! (I know. This will take some getting used to.) Protect your melatonin levels and cherish your sleep cycles.
  6. Take a social media sabbatical. This isn't for everyone, but it's highly recommended. Take a 30-day break from social media. Let your friends and followers know you're taking time off. They'll get it. I've done this the past two years and always come back refreshed and renewed.

Just as your cell phone needs to be recharged after so much use, so does your brain and your body. You need to recharge and one of the best ways to do that is by turning off the computer, the phone and all other forms of technology.

Without all the distractions, your mind is free to actually think about things clearly and can recharge. This is important for busy parents, business owners, and especially for those whose work is creatively driven.

Here's a great practice that you can use on an ongoing basis: Give your undivided attention to the person in front of you, look at them eye-to-eye and encourage active listening.

The world around you is amazing. You'll never experience it if you're spliced to your device. Your inner world is awesome too. Explore your thoughts and feelings. Deliberate and dream, review and reflect. Instead of consuming information and entertainment, allow the absence of devices to free your being to create. Read a book, dive into a conversation, listen to music, talk to perfect strangers. 

Your inner essence requires unplugged time. Plug into the source of ALL life. Consult the genius within, reach into the depths of your being and share it with the world. Be the force that inspires and ignites. There is no better connection than that!




PS Ready to unplug and put your self care first? Join us …


7 Ways To Make Your Space Feel Like Home Sweet Home

I moved around a lot when I was a kid and I didn't have my own room till I was almost twelve. This isn't unusual for an immigrant family (we emigrated from Cuba in '59), but I managed to take that approach to my own home space well into my twenties and even thirties.

It was only when I embarked on the path of personal development that I started to notice that my home reflected a long-standing belief that home wasn't permanent so why bother making it my own. I wasn't planning on staying so why invest the energy in making it beautiful.

It's been a couple of decades since then and in the interim, I have learned how to create my own little nest in a way that feels welcoming and wonderful. Whether you've found your heaven on earth, or you're in transition and moving about, here are seven ways to make your space feel like ‘home sweet home.'

1. Create Your Inner Sanctum. Whether you're living alone, or with others, it's important to set up space just for you. If it's your bedroom, set it up in a way that comforts you: position the bed in your favorite way, get a yummy comforter and pillows, add a chair for reading, a meditation mat, music to match your mood, etc. Make sure that you've got a space to come to when the world gets shaky and you need fortification.

2. Downsize and Declutter. The less stuff you have, the freer you feel. Get rid of anything that you don't actively use. If it's in your closet (or cupboard) more than a year and unused, donate or dump it. If you've got so much furniture that you can't move, get rid of some. If you've got things sitting in boxes, open and sift thru them. Either put it away or pare down. Your living space should invoke a sense of spaciousness. Free up your physical world and it frees you up too.  Less is more. (I'm down to minimal possessions since the 2013 House Fire. What a wonderful opportunity to wander or begin again.)

3. Add Scents to Your Home. Light scented candles, light incense, or diffuse essential oils. Experiment with scents that relax and center you. Your sense of smell is highly developed and studies show that scents have a variety of benefits: Lavender can help you sleep, cinnamon can sharpen your mind, peppermint boosts concentration, pine can alleviate stress, citrus can help you feel more energized, and jasmine can ease depression. Experiment and find the ones that support you most.

4. Display Your Treasures. Place things in your space that reflect your talents and treasures. Feature your favorite books in a reading nook, create a family tree on a wall with your favorite pictures, place a musical instrument in your creative corner and indulge in your passions. Your home should capture your essence, elicit it and be as unique as your thumbprint.

5. Accent with Plants. It's wonderful to have the energy of living things in your home. Plants are one of the easiest ways to bring the natural world into your home. If you don't have a green thumb no worries. Here are 5 plants you can't kill: bamboo, money tree, orchids, peace lily, and succulents (cactus). You can also buy flowers from your local market, once a week, to add a festive mood to your space.

6. Make more meals. Nothing says ‘home’ more than a good smelling kitchen and some comforting home made food. Visit your local market and get what's fresh. Try some new recipes. Make it easy and go for 3-ingredient dishes or ones that you can prepare in 15 minutes. Don't go crazy, make simple meals instead of ordering takeout. Making your own meals imbues the food with your energy. It's an essential self-care/self-love practice.

7. Find Your People. Community gives us a sense of home and belonging as much as a personal space does. Take a chance and say “Hi!” to people. Join a meetup group around one of your interests. Connect where you can. We all need a community of people in which we feel understood and supported.  

In short, surround yourself with only things that give you joy. Remove everything in your space that doesn’t thrill you, and feature what you love. Developing a sense of home is as much an internal discovery as well as an external one. Being present and aware of your feelings and intuition will help guide you in the process. 

Home is where you feel whole. Once you get what home is to you, you'll be able to access that sense of ease and openness no matter where you are. (Even if you're on the other side of the world!)

Welcome home, darling!




PS Ready to come home to your self?


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