by Sarika Kharbanda
It was quite a few years ago now that I started to realize that I was spending more and more time with my laptop, iPad, smartphone, TV… and the list goes on and on. I realized I was spending significantly more time with technical gadgets than with me. Even the time I spent with friends was all about screen time — click a selfie, record a video, check out this new app, let’s build this collage and put it on Twitter or Facebook or another app, let’s watch this movie, but before that let’s tell everyone via WhatsApp and other apps that we are going to watch this movie! I can just go on! It was all about Screen Time!
My mind wasn’t rested! My eyes weren’t rested! My shoulders started to hurt! My friends and I also started reminiscing about the wonderful quality times we used to spend when there was no smartphone altogether! Did we connect the same way with ourselves, our surroundings, our near and dear ones — just the way we did when there were no smartphones or even no Internet?
So, we decided to take the challenge ourselves — let’s disconnect for awhile and reconnect with ourselves and do something that means something to us even without screen time! Let’s not be addicted to technology all the time!
We took this challenge and it was not so easy the first time! The urge to check that “just one” email that I was expecting a response to, the urge to check that WhatsApp message from a dear friend, the urge to login to Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram and the like! Maybe even tweet about my experience!
But today, it’s not a problem. Just yesterday a friend of mine and I both switched off technology just to connect with each other and spend quality time. So worth it! Did the phones not ring? Did WhatsApp have no messages? Was there no email? Of course not — all that happened! But we decide to make the choice to read it all later.
Jennifer Riggins in her blog post ‘Mindfulness: finding peace on the grid’ shares a whole number of ways of how this Disconnect is done by many around the world — whether it is by programming ‘Disconnect’ into your Calendar, by stopping multi-tasking, or another way! One way or the another, many around the world are adopting different ways to do this.
Let’s take the Challenge then! Today, for at least two consecutive hours, let’s stay away from the Internet and from the smartphones or TV or any technical gadgets that we are addicted to. And let’s invest that time in rebuilding connections with ourselves, our surroundings, our near and dear ones — anything or anyone that you deeply care about and build and grow that ‘real connection’ with the world around us.
At the end of the day (in your timezone) login to Slack to share your amazing experience of your connection with the world!
Are you up for this challenge? How will you commit to disconnect — and reconnect with what matters — this week?
Some more reading to help you on this mindful activity (although maybe you should print it out and read it offline!):