By Amie Mignatti
Life, for all of us, is full: we have daily personal and familial responsibilities, housework, work obligations, to-do lists and commitments. Getting all of these tasks completed each and everyday can be overwhelming, and can leave us feeling depleted, stretched in all directions, short tempered and at the end. It is from this place that we call for help, or for a change, and for what has now, unfortunately, become a household word: a “detox”.
Have you ever asked yourself what a life from which you did not need to “detox” from would look like? Have you ever wondered how you could actually manage to balance all that you have to do (and want to do) and feel healthy, alive and full of energy, all the time?
One of the things that I have noticed, in my own life and in society in general, is that we are addicted to technology in an unhealthy way. We do not even notice how dependent we have become on our smart phones and computers (and games, for many people). If you were asked to put down your smartphone (not even your computer, just your phone) for one week, what would your answer be? Most of us start to think of reasons why we couldn’t do it (children, work, partner, it saves time, etc.), but could you turn the internet off and just use your phone for one week as a telephone? We would again come up with excuses as to why we couldn’t.
The thing is, we can, but it makes us very uncomfortable to feel disconnected from our lives and that we are “missing out” on something. But what we are actually disconnected from by being so plugged in is ourselves. We are scared of feeling lonely and sad, but these are normal and important emotions to have. We push them away by constantly distracting ourselves with our phones, social media, chats, and other noise that just keeps us from our own hearts.
A cure for this, and a key to living a more healthy, balanced and free life, is to spend a healthy amount of time in nature. Walks in nature are good for the soul, but sitting down under a tree or by a river WITHOUT your phone or a book is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. The more you can tap into the energy of nature, to observe what is going on, to learn about the trees, plants, birds, and ecosystems in your environment, the more connected you are going to feel, not only to yourself, but to this beautiful world around you.
The more we step away from the tech and media world in a healthy way, by limiting our screen time the same way we limit our children’s, the more balanced and better we will feel. The more time we spend on ourselves, sitting quietly by ourselves and allowing our loneliness and fear and sadness to come up, the healthier and stronger we will become. It sounds counterproductive, but this is where healing starts: by recognizing what is there and acknowledging it. By connecting with nature in this process, we can begin to heal parts of ourselves that need attention and care, because we are supported by a silent but alive force.
Nature can cure us, not technology. We look for cures to our unhappiness and discomfort in articles and online, when really we need to go outside and feel the connection to the greater world around us. We need to breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun on our skin, the earth under our feet, to let a tree support us, and ultimately, to allow nature to heal us by just being with her.
If we spent more time outdoors, regardless of the weather and the season, and less time online, we would not need to “detox”.
Ask yourself where in your life you can change your habits and patterns of being online. For me, it was stopping using Facebook on a daily basis. I found it to be a huge time waster and was keeping me from other things that were more important, like a walk in the forest. Once I started to use Facebook just for professional reasons and checking in a bit here and there with friends, I had more space in my life and felt more free. We also have a rule in our home: no computer or phone on Sundays, and we spend the entire day outdoors. I’ve noticed that I am not missing out on anything by creating space for people and nature in my life; in fact, I am more filled and fulfilled.
I would encourage you to first check out your habits and then see where you can add more nature and reduce technology in your life. And: may the forest be with you!
Amie Mignatti is a free spirited woman with her feet on the earth and her heart in the stars. After traveling the world for many years, she landed in Munich where she wears many different hats: yoga teacher, nature coach, outdoor educator for children, English teacher. She also runs personal development courses for women in nature. She and her family are happiest outdoors with friends and campfires.
Check out her blog here.