Digital Detox Retreats: How to Unplug and Reconnect with Natural Rhythms of Body and Spirit [Episode #834]
This week’s topic is: Digital Detox Retreats: How to Unplug and Reconnect with Natural Rhythms of Body and Spirit
The research that we highlight today, as well as our intuitive wisdom that we can all tap into really points to the fact that most all of us could really benefit from stepping away from screens more and creating more intentional space away from all the digital gadgets in our lives. And as we’ll get into today, there’s a lot of measurable research around this. And we also feel more peaceful when we’re in our own natural rhythms. Almost everyone that I’ve talked to and the research that I’ve seen taking surveys about people that spend a great amount of time on Instagram or TikTok or social media admit later that they felt like they wasted a lot of their time.
I think this is a really important topic to highlight both for ourselves and for our families and the ways in which we approach the digital space going forward because it gets more digital. It’s so pervasive that it’s very easy for us to get thrown off. And when we’re thrown off in our rhythms, everything gets affected from our immunity to our endocrine system, certainly our nervous system, our digestive system and more. And it’s really hard to tap in spiritually. It’s really hard to hear our inner voice. It’s really hard to connect to the True Self. And what happens over time is that anxiety builds and fear because we lose our center, which is inside of us. It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to enjoy screens and watch things and participate and be on social media, however, there definitely needs to be a balance as we will get into in our show today.
Hi Kimberly, I’ve added a digital detox schedule for myself and my kids and am looking for ways to show them how to enjoy the simpler things in life, like playing outside more, reading and would love some more ideas on what you do to break away from all the screens and digital devices and reconnect with yourself and people.
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Kimberly: 00:00 Now loves and welcome back to our Thursday Q&A show where our topic this week is Digital Detox Retreats: How to Unplug and Reconnect with Natural Rhythms of Body and Spirit. So the research that we highlight today, as well as our intuitive wisdom that we can all tap into really points to the fact that most all of us could really benefit from stepping away from screens more and creating more intentional space away from all the digital gadgets in our lives. And as we’ll get into today, there’s a lot of measurable research around this. And we also feel more peaceful when we’re in our own natural rhythms. Almost everyone that I’ve talked to and the research that I’ve seen taking surveys about people that spend a great amount of time on Instagram or TikTok or social media admit later that they felt like they wasted a lot of their time.
01:03 And so I won’t go too far here, I’m going to wait until we get into the research in just a moment. But I think this is a really important topic to highlight both for ourselves and for our families and the ways in which we approach the digital space going forward because it gets more digital. And I feel like every day from when there’s screens and taxis to just so many huge screens now in cars and it’s everywhere, it’s so pervasive that it’s very easy for us to get thrown off. And when we’re thrown off in our rhythms, everything gets affected from our immunity to our endocrine system, certainly our nervous system, our digestive system and more. And it’s really hard to tap in spiritually. It’s really hard to hear our inner voice. It’s really hard to connect to the true self. And what happens over time is that anxiety builds and fear because we lose our center, which is inside of us. So it doesn’t mean that we don’t want to enjoy screens and watch things and participate and be on social media, but there definitely needs to be a balance as we will get into in our show today.
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Before we do, just a little reminder to please check out our website, mysolluna.com, where you can submit questions for these shows. You can check out other articles, podcasts, hundreds of plant-based recipes and meditations and more. I mean, it really is our central hub, so please check it out. Now, our question today, and I will categorize this particular show, our spiritual cornerstone we rotate around the others are food, body, emotional wellbeing. And I would say this is a spiritual topic because when we are constantly being pulled outside of ourselves into the digital space, as I mentioned, it can become quite difficult to be in touch with ourselves in a deeper way.
Question around the topic of: Digital Detox Retreats: How to Unplug and Reconnect with Natural Rhythms of Body and Spirit: Hi Kimberly, I’ve added a digital detox schedule for myself and my kids and am looking for ways to show them how to enjoy the simpler things in life, like playing outside more, reading and would love some more ideas on what you do to break away from all the screens and digital devices and reconnect with yourself and people.
03:07 So this question comes from Carissa who lives in Kentucky. Carissa, thank you so much for being part of our community. Thank you so much for highlighting this very important topic. And you wrote, hi, Kimberly. I’ve added a digital detox schedule for myself and my kids, and I’m looking for ways to show them how to enjoy the simpler things in life, like playing outside, more reading and would love some more ideas on what you do to break away from all the screens and digital devices and reconnect with yourself and people. So Carissa, I love this question. I have a lot to say about this and I will share my personal experience in just a moment.
Research on Digital Detox Retreats: How to Unplug and Reconnect with Natural Rhythms of Body and Spirit
First, I want to highlight some surprising or maybe not so surprising research facts here, which is that a survey this year in 2023 found that 61% of people believe they’re addicted to their screens.
04:09 And the average adult is spending over 11 hours a day on their devices. According to a 2022 survey, 48% of people considered themselves very addicted to their digital devices. And a recent survey, this is from one poll, this is in 2021, found that in the evening at nighttime when there’s all this research about blue lights and the effect on sleep, we’re finding that 56% of Americans are still on their screens at night, and seven in 10 get carried away with playing games. 53% are playing, and there’s a certain percentage as well that are still working at night. And in 2017, Binghamton University found that women were actually more susceptible to smartphone addiction than men.
05:16 Now we think about this effect in the younger generations and how for most of us listening to this, we didn’t grow up in a world with screens. And so I will say that this is something that’s a very personal parenting decision. I’m going to give a little research and then I’m going to talk about my experience, my personal thoughts, and then I’ll give some tips and share, as you mentioned to Carissa, some real action items that we can do as individuals and families together. You UCLA study found that preteens who were deprived of screens for five days through a
Kimberly: 05:57 Intentional digital detox, we’re better at emotional intelligence, nonverbal skills than children who continue to use screens. So there’s no surprise there that we lose a certain connection, we lose our attunement to other humans. And accordingly, I have found in my experience that we can also lose our connection to our bodies. We can lose our connection to our food. What’s the best things for us to eat? What do we need at a certain time when we’re really hungry? Because the extra stimulation from a sensory standpoint with all these different devices can really start to inhibit our connection. A 2013 study by Ohio University found that these are an 18 year olds. They were forced into a digital detox. Their phones were taken away from them, and they scored a grade and a half higher in multiple choice tests than those who were still in possession of their phones.
06:59 So Carissa, going back to your questions about, excuse me, I’m a little bit congested. I just think they were out so much in the windy nights with Halloween. So this morning I made for breakfast, actually, sometimes I really like savory breakfast and I made a vegetable soup with lots of ginger. And I’m a big fan, as you know, of tuning into the body ginger warm soup, which to some of us sounds a little bit funny to eat for breakfast. But in Asia and many different parts of the world, soup and savory foods can make a wonderful breakfast, especially if you feel that congestion or something’s going on in your body. It’s okay to eat out of the box foods for sure. So apologies for my little bit of congestion in my throat. So Carissa asked me, what do I do with myself and my people?
07:56 So I’ll start by saying that I am largely off screens except for work. So as a writer, as an author, and in the midst of a new book, currently I am on my computer, my laptop for many hours writing, but I usually do the research phase in one section, so in the beginning, and then I actually turn off my internet when I’m on my computer. So it’s really just for creative writing. I’m on social media to the extent that I love to share and inspire and comment and connect with you that are coming in, and I’ll see some things on there. But other than that, I don’t feel any sort of benefit for being on screens very much personally. For me, I feel stressed if I’m on the news too much, if I’m stretching a little bit in the, I may watch a little bit of a cooking show.
08:57 I find them quite relaxing. But other than that, I really do prefer to play board games and read and journal. And I’ve just noticed, and this is where self-awareness comes in, that I’m more relaxed when I’m off screens. And I know sometimes it can feel like, oh, I just had a really hard day. I’ve commuted so much I’ve cooked, I just want to chill out and put something on. And I think those are the times that if that feels really good to you, then there’s a space for that. But I think when it starts to become habitual, as this research talks about where it’s an addiction, we have to check constantly. We’re always on our phones. I think that it starts to become quite harmful and our bodies start to go into this hyper mode, this nervous system frazzle, where we’re just so attuned to what’s happening in the news on social media.
09:57 We’re not really present in our lives, and we know there’s these dopamine hits of people like your post or you see something exciting and it’s something that’s constantly outside of you. So when we hear the teachings of all the great ones, pretty much all spiritual traditions talk about this inner stillness. And in the inner stillness and in the inner calmness, that is where true bliss is to be found. That is where true peace is to be found. And there’s a lot of temptations, and there’s always been these temptations, I believe, that are part of this journey of growth that we’re here to transcend. And so if we’re constantly looking at images and other people’s lives and what’s going on outside of us, then we don’t really engage with life here and now with life today. And a couple years ago, we had some relatives come here to see our kids.
11:03 We see very rarely, once every two years or so. And they were only here for three or four days. And most of the time especially the husband sat on the chair and was on his phone, and he wasn’t really present with the children at all. And there was a part of me that said, oh, that’s quite sad. And we all noticed it that he can’t break away. This is how he lives his life. But then there’s a part of me that says, that’s that person’s choice. And sometimes when we witness and observe, we don’t want to judge, but we can say, this is a really clear example of how someone can get so disconnected from life that they start to create this digital reality, which isn’t really reality, right? It’s constantly reading the news, constantly surfing on the internet. And then it’s often when I hear people say, well, I don’t know what happened to the day, or time goes by so fast because there’s no sense of presence, there’s no sense of groundedness, we’re not really in the body, right?
12:15 We’re in some altered space of reality. We’ve given up a part of our consciousness. So I am very rarely on screens myself, Carissa. I’ve felt that in my body, and there’s no right or wrong here, but I’ve just noticed how much more I enjoy life, how much less anxious I feel when I’m off the news, when I’m not watching tv, which sometimes is quite lower vibration, honestly. And there’s a lot of the writers of the shows and who’s ever part of these productions are not, it’s not of the highest consciousness, and I don’t really feel good about giving over my consciousness a lot of the time or any decent amount of time to that. And if you enjoy it, I would say to really choose carefully and to notice your energy before and after watching, if you feel depleted, if it really does feel relaxing, there’s a lot of options out there or there’s some options that are more relaxing.
13:14 For me, it’s these cooking shows which are slow and kind of fun. And even though some of it’s food I would never eat, I also love the British Baking Show, which is really sweet, and I love to see how hard they try. And sometimes we do want to watch things and there’s nothing wrong with that, but we definitely want to be conscious and not just turn it on automatically. I will also say with my children, we are a very, very low screen household. My children go to Waldorf. My younger will start there next year, but my older son is part of the Waldorf program, the Waldorf School System, which is my dearest school system to my heart, it’s about allowing the inner light of the child to come forward. They learn to read a little bit later so that their creativity is able to flourish.
14:13 And when he learned to read around recently six, seven, it just skyrocketed. So I know it’s a great privilege and I’m very grateful to be able to go to a Waldorf school. And if different schools are of interest to you, I highly encourage you check it out. But another component of Waldorf is that there’s no screens until seven. So there’s no screens that’s in school at all. There’s no laptops or anything through eighth grade, and they encourage no screens until at least seven because of the sensitivity of children. Now in today’s world, my kids definitely saw some screens before seven. Moses is only three, especially on the plane to Hawaii. During the pandemic, we are by no means a zero screen family, but it’s very low. So on a weekly basis, Emerson, my oldest, we’ll get two episodes of Bernstein bears on Saturdays and sometimes one on Sundays.
15:13 And that’s pretty much it. Sometimes I’ll let ’em watch a little video here and there as a one-off, but it’s very low screens. And if you’re listening to this and you’re like, wow, my kids are on screens a lot, it’s not right or wrong, but I think it’s deciding as a family what feels really best. And so if there’s a part of you that feels like this needs to reset, I would say do not be scared as a parent to say, okay, we need to reset this as a family. There’s a great Bernstein Bears book, Berenstein Bears book called Too Much TV, actually. And I read that to my kids after the pandemic when we had to reset, and we really, it was a minute to transition over, but then we were consistent. We introduced a lot of crafts, a lot of materials, a lot of things.
16:04 And then we really were able to reestablish a new pattern. And it was really wonderful. But both parents have to be on the same page. And again, it doesn’t have to, my system might feel a bit extreme to you. What’s right for one family isn’t necessarily what’s right for another family. So it’s just really important that we guide ourselves, both for ourselves and also for our children to see what feels really best. You’ll notice if you’re just feeling low energy, spacey, anxious, fearful, disconnected from yourself and your body, that’s probably a sign that you’re spending too much time on screens. And if you notice your children reluctant to play outside to play physical activities, and they’re always asking for screens, that may be a good cue to move away and unplug more as well. So here’s some tips to really implement this in a more practical way.
#1. Tip to help you embark on your digital detox journey: Set Clear Intentions
17:08 Number one is set clear intentions. So when you look at yourself and you look at your family, you think to yourself, what is it that I want? Do I want to have more energy? Do I want to feel more joy, more lightness and my day-to-day experience? Do I want to be outside more? What is it that we really want? Do we want our kids to be more connected to nature? Do we want our kids to be more socially adjusted, more emotionally intelligent? Do we want them to be more active, to be more bigger readers? So it’s important to see what the intentions are. And then from that place, that deep rooted place from the spiritual place inside of us of saying, this is what I want. It’s not linear. This part of it is not saying, oh, you can’t quantitatively measure how connected we are to nature.
18:08 I mean, some of it if you want to say, oh, I want my kids to improve their grades, right? Because there was that study I read earlier in the show about that, but it’s spiritual to me. It’s very inside. It’s the wisdom inside of you. What is it that you want to create? And from that place, you can start to set boundaries. So for instance, a boundary that you can set for yourself is delaying when you get on your phone in the morning. If you can delay half an hour, an hour before you start it up, that is wonderful. So it’s time away, it’s batching time away. And then if you can start to unplug earlier and earlier in the evening, that’s also wonderful. If you can find batches of time during the day where you put your phone away, you take it off, or you put it on airplane mode, or you put it in a different room or whatever it is.
18:59 For me, part of my getting off my digital detox was turning off the apple, whatever it is, the news where you can swipe to the left if you know what I’m talking about. And it shows you headlines. I turned it off completely. So if I do want to go to the news, if there is something I’m interested in reading about, I specifically search for it or go to a particular news outlet, media outlet. It’s not just coming in. And I think that’s another thing we need to create boundaries around is what’s coming into us? Who are we following in our feeds? What about all the emails that are coming in? Are there some that don’t serve us anymore? Are there too many sales emails about things that we’re not connected from? And so we just want to make sure that the inbound space is pure and cleansed, and then it’s intentional.
#2. Tip to help you embark on your digital detox journey: Engage in Outdoor Activities
19:55 The outbound, what we’re reaching for from our intentional place, and we can really explain this to our children. There’s some resistance at first, definitely. We used to have Friday night movie night, and there’s nothing wrong with that, of course, as a family. But then I just explained to our older son, I love spending time as a family. This is really precious time together. So now we’re going to play monopoly and board games instead. And now they love it and we make popcorn and we hang out, and it’s really quality time. But it came through this explanation, not just shutting things down. And then another thing that I like to do with my kids is to get them into outdoor activities.
20:43 And then that is something that is so powerful in nature, just helping us to reset, getting out in the sunlight, getting in the fresh air. My kids don’t love organized sports so much right now. We’ve tried to eat in soccer and basketball and other things, but they love to play. They love to climb. They love to be on the hikes and the trails. And so I really encourage that. And it’s really beautiful to see how they make their own games with sticks and with rocks. And it’s again, putting them into that outdoor space where they can really connect and be free, which is such an important part of being a child, I think, is having that natural connection to nature fostered. And I remember growing up, I spent so much time outside in our woods, in our forest building forts, playing with rocks, and there’s this simplicity that brings forth this interconnection.
21:47 There’s so much joy in being simple and playing in simple ways that I don’t think can be replicated with all these activities. Again, I’m just sharing with you my honest opinion. And of course there’s different opinions out there. There are parents that love to schedule their kids in many activities, but for our family, it’s mostly free play. And that’s how I grew up. And I find that my son was playing with two of his friends down in our lower garden the other day, and they got sticks that had fallen from some of our bamboo trees, and they were making flags and playing the floor’s lava. They were jumping across the garden beds, and it was just so wonderful to see their creativity come forth. So getting your kids outside and getting yourself outside is a great way to remember this awe and this wonder and so much more beyond vicariously looking at images of other people’s lives. There’s so much aliveness and amazingness right here, right now. And just by getting outside in the sunlight, we can start to foster that connection.
#3. Tip to help you embark on your digital detox journey: Eating as a family
Another important part of digital detox, I think, is getting off all screens when we’re eating as a family, we say grace, we’re present, we talk. Even if I’m eating by myself, I try to make it sacred even for a few minutes. Sometimes I’ll sit in the sunlight or go outside. But this inner connection with the body and the chewing and the beauty of eating foods and connecting to the foods is really, really important. And it’s something that I think it’s something that we all need to foster, because otherwise our digestion can get skewed as well. So we want to make sure that we are eating properly, meaning chewing well and not drinking a lot of water while we’re eating.
23:53 We’re hydrating before we’re really present with our foods. Otherwise, it gets skewed. As I mentioned, we’re on digital screens. We’re eating too much. We’re not understanding how much we’ve eaten. We’re chewing poorly. There’s just so much that can happen with screens and eating. So I definitely advocate a separation.
#4. Tip to help you embark on your digital detox journey: Reading physical books
And then physical books, please read physical books. I am such a huge advocate of, as an author, especially the way the author designed the book is to be a physical book, to be picked up and to be read. And there’s a smell to books. There’s a visceral quality. I love to underlying books. I dogger the pages. It’s something more very practical and grounding about having a physical book. And of course, please trade your books and donate them and get them used and all of that, if that feels good to you as well. But reading online is another way that we’re glued to screens.
24:55 And I don’t think that we always absorb information in the same way. And of course, sometimes it’s more convenient. People learn in different ways. But for me, I’ve never read a book online. I’ve always read physical books. So see how that resonates to you and to connect back to the physical world, physical books.
#5. Tip to help you embark on your digital detox journey: Prioritize human connection
And I think it’s so important to really prioritize your relationships, being in person together. This is what life is. It’s right here, right now. We don’t get this time back. So at the end of the day, this was a conversation that I had with Janine Roth last week where she said, at the end of your life, what matters is if you loved, if you were here, if you were present, if you were kind, not how many movies you saw or how deeply you followed this news issue or whatever it was, how many hours you spent on social media. So at the end of the day, it’s our relationships. It’s the love, it’s the connection that we share with others that truly counts. So we want to make sure that we are really taking that time to put down our phones, be with our kids, play, go to coffee with a friend, and put the phone away, go to dinner, whatever it is.
#6. Tip to help you embark on your digital detox journey: Reflected and journal
And then also, because so much of this is about self-connection is that we need to reflect and journal and have this space to come back into ourselves. When we are always being pulled into other people’s lives, when we’re always being pulled outside. It becomes very difficult to understand our inner voice, to hear this guidance, which so many spiritual teachers have talked about over the centuries being the voice of spirit coming through our higher self, our inner wisdom. I think that’s one of the biggest things that’s lacking today, and one of the reasons there’s so much frustration and confusion. So in science, this is called coherence. When we are so aligned between our hearts, our brains, and our nervous systems and intuition turns on there isn’t the inner voice being drowned out by the egoic mind? There isn’t the heart being drowned out by all the messages from the media. It means we’re able to live from this inner place, and this is where life gets really fulfilling and magical. This is where we start to enjoy life on a whole big, huge level.
00:56 So it’s also really important to have that space for journaling and reflection with a pen or a pencil. Pen to paper also does something to the brain. It does something to unlock emotions. I think it’s very powerful to be able to actually write out your own feelings and emotions in an unfiltered way.
#7. Tip to help you embark on your digital detox journey: Limit notifications
So a couple last practical things, which I know we’ve talked about before. You’ve probably heard about before as well. But practically speaking, turning alerts and notifications off your phone, which is so disruptive to life. You’re in the middle of something dinging, ding drives me nuts when my husband has this turned on. So we want to turn off alerts. We want to batch times when you’re on social media, when you’re on email, don’t let it dribble in all the time. Create a schedule for yourself. Nine 30 to 10, I’ll scroll, and then later in the afternoon, three to four, whatever it is certain times.
#8. Tip to help you embark on your digital detox journey: Stay committed
01:58 But then as you stay committed to these practices, I promise you Carissa and everyone listening to this, your life will feel so much more peaceful. You will feel so much happier when you really commit to these boundaries, these digital detox parameters, because you have more control of your life back and you will just feel so much more free. That has been my personal experience and my experience with my children, correcting, rebalancing after Covid where my older son did watch more screens than usual and he’s really happy and connected to nature and just free. And so wherever we are today within ourselves with our spouse, our partner with our kids, it all starts with going within, having some quiet time meditating, and then asking the question, what are my intentions? How do I want to feel in my life? What are my goals to connect deeper
Kimberly: 02:59 To myself and my loved ones? And how are my digital habits inhibiting that right now? Or what needs to shift because it’s an important part of life, but it’s too much in these parts of the day or here or wherever it is. And that type of analysis is going to do so much, going to give so much benefit to you and your family. It will change everything. So I’m so excited for you. Please keep in touch with me and let me know how it plays out for you with this digital detox and any specific tips that you have that we could share as well on social and on just writing into me on social, but also on the website I love to receive. They’re always forwarded to me. I love to receive emails from you as well. So reminder again to head over to mysolluna.com where you can submit questions for future podcasts as well as topics you’d like me to expand upon in a deeper way for solo casts and many other resources on there for you which are constantly building up.
04:09 I’m excited to share with you the heart aligned meditations, which are going to be published soon. And also in the next few weeks, we’re going to be gearing up for special promotions, especially for our digestive enzymes so you can have them with you through the holiday season. A very important supplement for you to have on hand to ensure that you are preventing bloat and you are getting the most nutrition out of your food through the holiday season and you don’t accumulate extra fat, right? Because we have all that beautiful lipase splitting fat so your body can utilize the beautiful, amazing beauty fat instead of just storing it. And that’s the power of the digestive enzymes. So much more I could say. But I think we’ll pause here. We’ll be back here Monday for our next interview show or our next solocast. Until then, I’ll see you on social. I’ll see you here. Hopefully my throat will be a little bit more clear and I wish the best for you as well. Be sure to check out some of our elixir recipes for some soothing fall recipes right now. Sending you so much love and see you back here soon. Namaste.