digital mindfulness with christina malecka

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There is a lot of talk about “wellness” these days, but very few people are talking about Digital Wellness.  How does our constant connectivity impact our physical and emotional health?  How much is too much time on social media?  How do we live in the golden age of technology while also retaining our ability for deep in-person connection and to tolerate stillness and boredom?

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Let me be clear: I LOVE technology. Who doesn’t? Where would I be without desktop applications that help me to work smarter, and communication apps that allow me to stay in touch with friends around the world? Technology enables marginalized individuals and communities to break out of isolation and organize for change. It connects us to resources that empower us. At the same time, tech companies have designed some apps and platforms to operate like slot machines - hijacking our brains with tiny squirts of dopamine in exchange for our and attention - often more of our attention than we would willingly offer given a choice.

Digital Mindfulness is NOT anti-tech – it’s about balance. It’s so important that we spend time away from screens so we can give our minds a rest. It is imperative that we look up from our phones and at each other to experience empathy and deep connection. It is crucial for us to be able to tolerate boredom, because that’s where we find our creativity and original thinking I am pro-tech AND pro lie-in-the-grass-and-do-nothing.

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Over the past decade I’ve watched my psychotherapy clients struggle with mounting anxiety and isolation as they’ve navigated the social media hamster wheel and digital overwhelm. In 2018, I was inspired to start offering weekend Digital Digital Mindfulness Retreats to empower people find more balanced relationships with their phones and screens. Because I know that not everyone can afford a weekend retreat, I also created a free DIY guide for anyone who would like to experiment with a Digital Mindfulness Retreat at home (available on my website: dmret.com). The DIY worksheet guides you through the 10 components of a rejuvenating Digital Mindfulness Retreat:

 Preparation

 Meditation and intention setting

 Engaging your senses

 Spending time in nature

 Journaling: What really matters to you? What would you like to make time

for?

 Investigating your emotional relationship with social media

 Committing to in-person connections

 Strategizing how you will reduce your screen time

 Reclaiming you time and making commitments to prioritize the things that

really matter to you

 Closing with a meditation and gratitude practice

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It’s easy to forget that in the course of human history, smartphones, social media and other elements of digitized culture are brand new and we are still adjusting to this new normal.  I believe that all of us need a moment to step back, take a breath and re-center our relationships with ourselves and other humans. Through my Digital Mindfulness Retreats and Workshops, I offer people the opportunity to set their screens and distractions aside in order to tap into their sources of joy and meaning while learning how to make the shift from being controlled by technology to engaging with it on their own. Check out my website for upcoming Digital Mindfulness Retreats and events, including an incredible one-week retreat in Mexico in the Spring of 2020 with my collaborator Christina Crook of JOMO .

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Photography by Stevie Rotella

Christina Malecka + Digital Mindfulness Retreats

Christina Crook of JOMO