Like most people my age, I’m in a committed relationship with Netflix. We hang out A LOT. And my phone? We’re pretty hot and heavy too”though a lot of that relationship is business. The point is, me and my screens? We’re close. Which shouldn’t be surprising to anyone reading this (ahem, on a screen).
It’s hard to escape the constant presence of technology, even when you want to. And despite the many awesome things that my technology affords me”connection, information, entertainment and so many cat videos”I often crave a reprieve. Which is why every year I completely disconnect for a week. Which, if I’m being real, isn’t long enough.
It helps that I leave the city and my job behind. Disconnecting would be near impossible without doing so. So I head to Algonquin Park in Ontario, where I hang out in a single room cabin with no wifi and no dial tone. The only technology? A camera. Because who doesn’t like a great sunset picture? But there are no live stream updates. You will not be jealous of my getaway as it’s happening, because there are no Snaps (or Insta Stories)”only future #TBTs. (Feel free to get jealous of those.)
This trip is one of the more important parts of my year. It’s my reset button. I ditch digital communication in favour of radio silence. I ditch it in favour of all the important things that technology distracts me from”being outside, reading, hiking, exploring, doing nothing and napping”so, so much napping.
While there are plenty of studies that suggest that spending time in nature influences (and can increase) happiness and helps to reduce anxiety, I think that the nature coupled with a less digital connection is the key to reconnecting with myself”sans avatar. Most days, documenting, snapping, Instagramming and generally keeping up with everyone else’s social feeds is fun”but it can also be exhausting, and on bad days, completely anxiety-inducing. One look at my own Instagram feed will let you know, that yeah, I care about appearances and yes, I curate my Insta aesthetic, but I’m a big believer in digital-IRL balance. To achieve it? I recommend running away where there are very, very few people, no reception and lots of air and greenery. Get out of town and unplug. Take a friend, bring a bunch of books, head to a cabin in the winter or live your best solo mermaid life at the beach in the summer, but Get. Out. Of. Town.
Although a week doesn’t seem like that much (and it really is never enough), it’s great to take a break from your public, social-media driven persona”that one that documents those tacos you ate at that cool place, that day when your makeup was on point”to be present, to take stock and to reconnect to the unfiltered, undocumented self that sometimes gets lost in your selfies. Chances are you’ll come back feeling rested, recharged and much, much less anxious. Likely you’ll feel much more creative too”so you can get back to that curated lifestyle that I will genuinely enjoy creeping on. When I get back into an area with wifi.