How To Take Control Of Your Digital Life (And Your Real Life)

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By Jamie McKillop for Well+Good

Jess Davis, a former digital brand strategist, was your typical super plugged-in New Yorker, when suddenly last year, she felt a sharp decline in her energy, memory, and creativity levels.

"I experienced a major burnout," Davis explains. "I went to go see doctors and had blood work done, and no one could figure out what was wrong with me."

In June 2014, Davis went on a trip with her husband and son to Hawaii, where her husband locked away her laptop, iPad, and cellphone. "I was so mad the whole week," she admits. "But I remember it so vividly. On the eighth day, I woke up feeling so aware. I could hear the waves, and smell the salt. I hopped out of bed and finally felt like my old self again."

So Davis returned to New York, quit her job, and founded Folk Rebellion--part graphic T-shirt company, part media outlet--which aims to get people talking about technology addiction and its negative effects.

The t-shirts--with messages like "Analog As Folk"--as well as inspirational stories and tips featured on the Folk Rebellion website, support this by promoting balance and awareness around technology.

Of course, Davis is still a businesswoman, and she understands that many people (herself included) can't totally unplug while making a living. But she believes mindfulness helps us control technology instead of it controlling us--especially in the fall as work kicks into high gear.

"People come back refreshed from summer, and so do bosses," Davis says. "Everyone is ready to hit the ground running. It's the last business quarter, and you're closing out the end of the year. You can very easily fall back into that technology trap. But if you don't hit pause at some point, you're going to fry."

Here are Davis' tips for remaining mindful around technology--which will ultimately lead to higher personal satisfaction as well as boosted productivity and quality of at work (yes, really!).

1. Do a digital detox cleanse. On the weekend, unplug all of your devices to see how much they're really affecting you. "I equate this feeling similar to that first bite of food after a juice cleanse," she says. "That feeling gives you an awareness you may not have had before."

2. Set boundaries. "Remember, a lack of boundaries welcomes a lack of respect," Davis advises. "If people think that they can get a hold of you whenever and however (hello boss' texts at 11:00 p.m.), they will."

3. Reset your circadian rhythm. Pings, vibrations, and buzzes have us trained like Pavlov's dogs. "There is an addictive feel-good jolt or buzz from hearing that sound," she says. "But always being on alert and reacting to whatever the virtual world throws at you doesn't allow quality space for the yummy human stuff." As a solution, make your nights and mornings device-free so you can reconnect with your mind, body, soul, and world.

(Photos: Folk Rebellion)

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