A 5-day no Internet Experiment
Nowadays, it´s almost impossible to live without internet. It´s the vastest information source, for both true and false information. It´s the way to plan travels, to plan appointments, to keep in contact with people, to promote your business etc.
Personally, my work depends a lot on the internet: It´s a way for clients to find me, it´s a way for people to read about me and know what kind of services I provide, I hold online sessions and workshops, so it´s actually a way for me to connect to people and put my work into practice!
However, I think most of us can agree that we spend too much time connected. Even if we use the internet for work, we end up just browsing over unrelated things, or simply just get hypnotised and just scroll to pass the time or spend a lot of time talking to people. Sometimes we even get tricked into buying things!
And so, there comes a point where this just feels overwhelming. At some point this summer, I had one f those moments. I also had a personal somewhat dramatic situation to attend to, which lasted for days, and so it was disrupting my repeated attempts to relax and disconnect during my holidays. Funnily enough, at that point, I ran out of data (or at least I think I did), and I had no Wi-Fi where I was, and I thought ¨PERFECT¨! I´m not going to use internet until I go home, or until the end of the month, whichever comes first and try what seemed like a challenging experience!
So I will share my thoughts and experience with you, and I would love to hear what you think or if you´d be encouraged to try this too!
Day 1 was the longest and most insightful.
I wake up and after going to the bathroom and doing the usual morning routine, it´s very strange and hard to fight the temptation to turn on my data. I therefore start to really think about How much we use it and for How many different things we use it for. Even if it´s not the typical things like messaging people, I can´t google something I want to know at any time I want, I can’t use Shazam to know the title of a song that´s playing, I can’t use Amazon to search for something I realise I need etc.
What´s funny is how irritated I started to get by how much other people are on their phone all the time! When you stop doing it, you really realise just how much we all do it.
Reflection: (something I knew but really experienced more strongly) I realise that we live more in the future than in the present. For example, planning what we´re going to do tomorrow or next week, buying things we´ll need later and so on. Just constantly planning the future.
At this point is when I decide to practice some Mindfulness at the beach, and feel so thankful for being here and just continue to take it all in! It´s amazing what this experience can do to the rest of your day and your mood.
I´m exploring the contradicting feelings of freedom vs limitation. I ´m free from drama, free from social media, free from obligations. However, I´m also limited from looking into plans for the holiday I´m currently on, so I depend on others to maybe check directions, the weather or what to do there.
Being more present makes time go by slowly.
I´m not so eager to check my phone in the morning.
I do borrow a phone to contact my cat sitter though!
Feeling free from stress.
I experience some moments of boredom where internet would have been entertaining.
I´m almost not paying attention to what time it is.
I´m not bothered by not having internet, however I start to get anxious for when I eventually do and will have a lot of texts to reply to, emails, things to take care of.
Reflection: I feel drawn to social media just like we are in a way drawn into a social system. It´s really not easy to get out of.
I start to think how important internet is for my work and I reflect on how it wouldn´t be professional of me to be disconnected for long, which is why I decided to do it during my holiday. I think how if I want to repeat this every now and then it would have to be during the weekend.
Fine with no internet. In a way I feel calmer, but I’m still anxious for what I’ll find when I connect to the internet again, mainly for the unresolved personal situation that´s pending, and so I start to anticipate possible outcomes.
I start to feel like I want to know how people I care about are doing. My friends, my family, my colleagues…This is after I had the misfortune of not being able to travel ´home´ in the last minute, so I feel more emotionally charged.
I worry about my clients and wonder if any of them might have contacted me and needed something.
I become mindful of my simultaneous feelings of tranquillity and stress, so I become curious about it, I give this experience my attention and eventually try to calm myself by connecting to my body whilst also trying to rationalise my ¨Catastrophysing¨ (having catastrophic thoughts about what may happen).
I´m feeling more at peace. I don´t want to go back to being so aware of my phone constantly.
Reflection: I feel boredom like when I was younger, and I handle it as I did back then. Basically, not using a screen.
I´m conscious I want to do this more often. Even if it´s for a shorter period of time, I want and need to do this more frequently.