Today most people are inundated by technology. Sometimes our days can be completely consumed by electronics - spending all day on the computer, coming home to watch TV while checking your phone, reading the news before bed and sleep, all to do it again the next day.
Sometimes it is nice just to focus on your surroundings, take a deep breath and allow yourself to have real alone time with yourself or your family with no electronic distractions.
Creating a digital free zone is a way to have a miniature escape. Read a book, meditate, listen to music (a possibly permissible electronic interaction), or just think or talk with your family.
Furthermore, using digital devices close to bedtime can have detrimental effects on sleep. A digital free zone could also be used a space where you can detox in the evening in order to make your sleep more efficient.
Diana Begg is an interior designer and owner of Indulge Interiors in Ottawa. Here are some of her tips for creating a digital free zone.
Put electronics in their place
Diana says the first step to creating a digital free zone is designating electronics zones that are comfortable. She recommends that digital zones be in communal areas unless major concentration is required for work. She says it is a good idea to put a computer somewhere with natural light, in a place that incorporates natural elements. She says an underrated place for a digital zone is the kitchen.
Another suggestion—don’t put a TV in your bedroom.
“I think I don’t really need to get into the negatives around that, but a lot of couples think that it’s not a big deal and then have to deal with the consequences,” she says.
Comfort is key
Your digital free zone has to be a place you want to go. If it is an uncomfortable or unpleasant you will probably be less likely to commit to this space and ritual. She says that although creating a beautiful, magazine-looking space can be appealing; looks should come after comfort and practicality.
She says having nice warm blankets, an incredibly comfy chair, and some wonderful pillows are great to help you get that cozy, and relaxed feeling. She also says to have any possible necessities nearby, for example, if you like coffee maybe have a little coffee maker around, so that when you sit down in your wonderful space, there is no reason to get up… unless of course, you have drank a lot of coffee.
While most people love to curl up outside and feel the warm sun, Canadians have an unfortunately short time to do that. So, if the weather is warm, take advantage of the sun and put your relaxing zone on a balcony, porch, or in your backyard. In the winter however, use elements of nature to enhance the earthiness.
You are getting away from technology so this could be a time to feel more natural, as if you were on an isolated island with no Internet or cell phone coverage. Bringing in plants or flowers can help you disconnect, also a water element like a fountain can help transport you to a ‘simpler’ time. She also suggests opting for natural design elements, like natural woods or organic fabrics.
If you are thinking about this, a key thing is commitment. While all is easier said than done, if you can incorporate it into your routine, the benefits could be extraordinary. Since it is easy and tempting to sneak in your phone, decide to turn on the TV instead or bring your laptop around, commitment is key. Diana says if you plan on really creating this space, investing in really good furniture or an interior designer could help legitimize it.
Then, once you have it, at the very beginning start using it. If you are a schedule-oriented person pen it in your agenda and if you are more spontaneous dedicate a certain amount of time a day to it. Do this for the first couple weeks without taking a break. You will learn to love it.
By Alyssa McMurtry