Switching Off

Week four-I will switch off all digital notifications this week.

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Since moving house to an even more rural location last year I have had no mobile signal when I am at home-nothing. Not until I drive half a mile either side of the village do I get a flurry of messages making me jump. At first I felt a bit panicky about being out of contact, but I adjusted. A couple of family members seemed quite cross with me for not having a phone signal. I was perplexed. They bandied round words like ‘ridiculous’ that they couldn’t get hold of me, we had just lost Dad so ‘getting hold’ of someone urgently had been an issue for us as a family, but as I pointed out I did have a house phone. I was generally in the habit of responding immediately to text messages but now it could take a couple of days especially at the weekend. Their response was hurtful like I was deliberately ignoring them but it has made me think a lot about our reliance on being able to contact anyone at any time since the emergence of mobile telephones. This isn’t a good thing, surely? This immediate response has become the norm. But what does this do to people fraying nerves? Just sometimes it is a requirement that we all go ‘off grid’ just for a while so we can we can quieten the mind and just breathe. My close friends have adjusted too – we use an app that works like a text message only over wi-fi. We no longer need or perhaps want long phone conversations to stay in touch but I would argue sometimes this hasn’t been a good development to those feeling isolated. Nothing really beats hearing the warmth in someone's voice and just shooting the breeze. Everyone I am in contact with now has a variety of ways of getting hold of me.

But I digress!

This experiment is a mixed bag for me. On one hand I am used to not hearing from anyone for a while however my work is based around email communication so it wasn’t an option to switch off these notifications unless I took a week off, but that said I have recognised moments in the past when being constantly interrupted with a deluge of emails when you are trying to work on a particular project can lead to temporary insanity. If I am working on a particular time dependant project I will close mail down so I can concentrate on the task in hand.

I rarely check my home emails (this has changed slightly since joining this adventure.) I dip in and out of social media and rely on a good friend to update me on anything of interest I might have missed!

All this said, I am not as relaxed about this as I make out. I don’t know if this is normal – I live with a constant feeling of low level anxiety that something bad will happen to my loved ones. I live in fear of my son not coming home after a night out – I would never stop him enjoying and living his life but he will never know how hard I act at trying to be cool about it and how relieved I am when he comes home. The same goes for Mam, she is so precious to me. To lose one parent is horrible, but I think to lose both would be unbearable, but most of us will face this at some point. So I cannot relax without knowing these two people can contact me at any time. So I can be stressed if I get too many notifications and stressed if I can’t get any. Bring on the next challenge please I don’t want to think about this one anymore.

Mam, me and Cai x

Fiona Dolben

Acupuncturist, holistic therapist, content creator., Hemp Holisitics

I'm a single parent of ONE lovely lanky teenager.. I live in deepest rural Wales . My 'proper' job is in marketing and events but I am also a trained reflexologist, masseur and reiki giver (go figure!) I also look after my Mum who is in her late 80's, my dog Ted, my cat Black and my hens and goldfish...my dream is to have a small holding and offer people holidays in my teepee and maybe the odd therapy ....so as you can see I am a mass of contradictions.... I like to walk, do yoga, eat salad and visit new places but I also like to drive fast, Feast ice lollies, vodka on Friday's with friends(, which leads to dancing in my kitchen) my coffee , and staying up late... I can be outgoing but also extremely shy so like the rest of you I am still trying to figure it out one day at a time...


Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
almost 6 years ago
Reading this made me realise I’m not alone in the way I see modern technology and the ones I love. Please keep blogging the way you do because it makes me feel less alien to the ‘modern world’ and the people around me. If it’s from the heart people can feel it. Thanks
Go to the profile of Vanessa
almost 6 years ago
Agree totally - it's nice to be able to have some down time but a tricky balance to find the ever-changing "right" amount of connectedness.
Go to the profile of Jacqui
almost 6 years ago
Absolutely understand about wanting to know all safe and well. Technology definitely has a place there. Rural Wales sounds lovely though!
Go to the profile of Vicki
almost 6 years ago
My husband had a similar reaction 'are you sure it's wise to turn off all your notifications'. There are two sides 1) The world seems harsher and so people want to know your safe which is understandable. 2) it's like your time is no longer yours but should be available to everyone at a moments notice and they take it as a personal affront if you are not available to them.
Go to the profile of Vicki
almost 6 years ago
You're... Sorry.
Go to the profile of Dee Ruddock
almost 6 years ago
I believe the "constant feeling of low level anxiety" you mention is endemic in our society and totally agree that you can't beat a good old fashioned phone call! As Mark said, please keep blogging in this super honest way - you'll be surprised how many people share your way of thinking x
Go to the profile of Chris Baréz-Brown
almost 6 years ago
I think we need to be contactable for all the reasons that you stated, and its important that we are. A phone call will always cut through in my life but I am still wary of notifications barging their way into my life when I don't need them. There's always the Bat phone for emergencies for sure. great writing. thank you. cx