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Students, families and staff at Ekal Vidyalaya in Chhattisghar, India.

It is hard to believe that it has already been nearly one month since I came home from India! What a fabulous trip - full of amazing family visits (including a traditional Indian wedding), some great sight seeing (like Elephanta caves) and unexpected wonder (such as the chance to visit a remote school run by a volunteer group - pictured above)!

Of course, there are many, many great stories of the adventure, and it's best to hear them in person. Come hang out with me Saturday June 2 from 1 - 3 pm at Chapters Strathcona, where I'll be doing a book signing! The more the merrier, so please pass the word along.

Since my return, I've been loving the offline life. To be honest, it has been hard to get back onto the computer and I haven't wanted to touch social media... but, like I said in my book, use it and don't be consumed by it. You may not see me as a regular presence, but I may turn up on platforms here and there as I please! Regardless of how frequently you see me online, know that I am here and happy to connect. 

Hope to see you June 2,

Deepika

What all do you get up to when you're not busy with technology? I've been loving outside time in the garden, dance class, yoga, walks in the ravine and visits with friends and family!

 

 

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As many of you may know, my son and I are heading to India tomorrow morning! It is a chance to connect with my family after three years and we are both excited for the adventure that lies ahead.

Even in prepping for this trip, I have had the chance to practice many of the tips I often discuss. In fact, I am writing from home today as I needed to practice selfcare after being hit with a nasty cold. It was not easy to cancel client sessions, but with 23 hours of travel starting tomorrow morning, I needed to make rest a priority. Plus, trust me, you don't want these germs ;)

It may not surprise you to know that I will be unplugging during my trip. I won't be using social media and will not be checking emails. I have been cleaning up my inboxes to save myself from the onslaught of messages upon my return. The idea of coming back to hundreds of unnecessary emails was daunting, so I have been hitting 'unsubscribe' like no one's business! I am not quite sure why I haven't done this sooner. The multiple emails from places I haven't visited in years or newsletters I don't intend to read... it is so freeing to have less clutter in my inbox and my head space!

As you can imagine, a trip like this takes a lot. Before I go, I would like to thank my clients for being gracious and understanding regarding my extended absence. Also, huge gratitude to my colleagues at North Land Family Counselling Group who will be stepping in to assist while I am away! I couldn't do this without your support and I am so grateful.

I'd also like to extend thanks to Shawna Randolph and the team at CTV Alberta Primetime for coming to my office a few weeks back! It was good fun to chat about my social media, technology and wellness book and my yoga memory game! If you missed the interview, be sure to take a peek at it online, and remember you can still get copies of the game and book in my absence.

I'll be back in the office on May 7. If you're a current client, you can go ahead and book in my online calendar. I will look forward to reconnecting upon my return!

Deepika

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Unplug yourself.

It’s not that easy, is it? By now, you've likely heard me chat about the effects of social media and technology on our lives. I continue to see the realities of our dependance on social media and technology coming up with greater frequency in my client sessions and workshops. That’s why I wrote my recent book and that's why I'm taking the time to try and get the concepts from it out into the world.

Join me Wednesday, February 21st 7-8:30 pm at Audreys Books on Jasper Avenue in Edmonton. The evening will include a short talk and snacks, plus you can grab your copy of Social Media and Technology: How To Use It Without Being Consumed By It. Feel free to pass this email along as this is an open, family friendly event! I hope to see familiar faces and make new connections!

Also, heads up, I will be away from the office from March 27 - May 6, 2018 inclusive. My kidlet and I will be embarking on a fantastic journey to India! I hope to connect with you before I go (hopefully next week!)
Take care,
Deepika

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The Yoga Game in action at the launch party!

I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to each and every one of you for being part of my community. This fall has been full of big moments - the Social Media, Technology and Wellness book and my Yoga Memory game launch plus ending up on crutches ;) I could not have done any of it without my amazing support network! The launch party raised $1000 for the Be Free Project and that would not have been possible without the amazing businesses who contributed to the silent auction and all the folks who participated and purchased copies of my book and game! Thank you!!

Hearing stories of the impact of the book and game has been so rewarding! I really appreciate seeing the photos and hearing about how families are enjoying playing the game. One of my faves was learning about a nearly 90 year old grandparent that joined in the fun! Also, many shares about hours spent moving and laughing together, instead of in front of screens. Please keep sharing as I love it!

With the holidays right around the corner, I will be out of the office until January 3. I am also taking a page out of my book and will be off social media too - focusing on real time, in person interactions will be my intention for the break! I hope that you find time to take care of yourself and rest and rejuvenate during this season.

Wishing you the best,

Deepika

Enjoying a quiet moment with Nibby!

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Bravely launching creative projects into the world!

I know I have been quite quiet this fall, but that is only online! In real time, I have been working to take some projects out into the world!

November 26 I will be launching hard copies of my book, Social Media and Technology: How to Use It Without Being Consumed By It. You can get most of the content free of charge, but I am excited to announce that the book has contributions from courageous clients, and an amazing list of both local and international personalities sharing their own experiences regarding social media, technology and wellness. You'll get to read bits from Councillor Scott McKeen, author and metta designer Seung Chan Lim, music teacher and #YEG first lady Sarah Chan and renown yoga teacher Elena Brower, to name a few!

I am also taking a leap of faith to share my self-care creative side project, Move Your Memory. This has actually been ready for over a year and I have been sitting on it. Only the gentle nudging of kind friends and family - the people who believe in me - has helped this come to where it is. It is exciting, and a bit nerve racking, but I think it is worth it. Those of you who work closely with me know I'm often encouraging you to move out of your comfort zone, so I am also taking my own advice :)

On November 26 1-4 pm, I'll be hosting a celebration to launch these projects! Proceeds of sales will go to the Be Free Project, helping take yoga and meditation to under serviced communities and those affected by mental illness. I am full of gratitude to a long list of community members who have supported my vision around this event. Thank you to the following businesses for donating to the silent auction and more: Biera for hosting, Blue Chair Cafe for providing nibbles, Transcend Coffee for providing perk, and Pure Living Enthusiast for making swag. Also a shout out to: Echo Hair Design, Two Mothers, Arnica Wellness, and ACME Meat Market for adding to the silent auction!

If you'd like to contribute to the event or attend, please email me right away! If you can't make the big day, don't worry, copies of the book and game will be available afterward too :)

In gratitude,

Deepika

PS- I know this is link filled, but how can it not be considering the many amazing people who have pitched in! I have a wonderful community and would love for you to know more about it!

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Hello and happy fall,

I hope this finds you and yours well and safe as autumn begins. It has been an intense time in world events - with crazy fires, floods, hurricanes, and monsoons. My heart has has been feeling quite open, and at times I have been feelings helpless to rise against what is occurring around the world. I was reminded of the importance of who we are being, and not just what we are doing, as we cope amidst disasters.

It seems that who we are being is unequivocally linked to our own selfcare. It does happen to be 'selfcare Sunday' and a weekly reminder to rest, rejuvenate, connect - whatever YOU need, can be really helpful! Similarly, taking time to set intentions in this regard can also be a real game changer. Consider joining Michele Theoret and I for our Fall Back Retreat at the gorgeous Lily Lake Resort October 27 - 29, 2017. This retreat will include self-care and self-compassion workshops in addition to restorative yoga, yoga nidra, art and meditation. We will have opportunities for rest and reflection, nature walks and conversation.

As the new school year starts it’s hard to avoid talk of productivity. But, it’s important to remember that being busy isn’t the same as being fulfilled. Well Inked Box and I want to encourage you to slow down and practice intentional selfcare. With that in mind, we’re GIVING AWAY one of their current boxes! So many goodies to do a wee bit of journalling! To enter, go to Instagram, follow us both and comment on the photo with what you do for selfcare. If you're not on Instagram, don't worry - we are here for you! Just email me with what you're doing for selfcare and we'll get you entered. Plus, for anyone local, if you'd like to sign up for a Well Inked Box subscription, they've offered free shipping by using the code EDMONTON!

In addition to all the above, I am excited to remind you that my ebook is now available and hard copies will be coming soon! I am also working to get out a creative project I've had on the go for some time - a Yoga Memory Game that would make a great stocking stuffer for any yoga lovers or young families! Stay tuned for details.

Heads up, I'll be on the Alberta Primetime Lifestyle Panel Monday September 11, 2017. Tune in at 6 pm or 11 pm as we are discussing some great topics, including managing chores at home, ways to determine school grades and the concept of "oppression olympics."

Thank you for continuing to be part of my community. I hope to connect in person soon!
Deepika

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Just a quick update to let you know that I am back online, but with a bit of a catch! Offline time felt very refreshing and so you may not see my very active on social media.

I have really enjoyed not being so tethered to my phone. Having been back in the city for roughly a week, I have found reintegration into being super available a bit taxing. So, I am planning to keep a few things the same as I did for my tech break:

1. My phone homescreen will stay just a phone!
2. All my social media apps are will remain on the last page of my phone (I didn't delete them due my horrible relationship with passwords!)

AND, new with being back online,

3. I don't intend to be scrolling - so if you don't see me 'like' something or if I don't know about an event, just know it's not because I don't care. Feel free to connect with me in another way!

What will change is that you may see me posting on social media to let you know about future offerings, updates and ways to connect. For example, you may hear a call out to tune into Alberta Primetime tonight at 6 pm and 11 pm as I'll be joining the Lifestyle Panel to discuss several interesting mental health topics.

Don't let my choices make you believe I think social media is wrong in any way. Had I been active on social media, I would have known my cousins from Dallas, Texas tagged me on FB in an effort to meet up in Ottawa... I was lucky, and ran into them by chance! It was priceless, but admittedly, could have easily been missed because I was offline.

Yet, there are a lot of folks talking about unplugging. In her recent blog post, Biomechanist and Movement Educator, Katy Bowman, commented, "It’s key to recognize that social media is the portal for communication (and the facilitator of stiff hands and arms) because we keep using it. By using social media as a portal for my information, I’ve been demanding social media movements of both me and my social media followers." My use of social media encourages your use of it and vice versa. Perhaps by toning back my use of social media and technology, I can free up some more time for all of us to catch rainbows instead!

If you're looking for more support on how to disconnect, Wellness Educator and Yoga Therapist, Michele Theoret has also just written on the topic. Plus, stay tuned, as she and I are in the midst of collaborating on a few projects for the fall (hint: think unplugging, reconnecting with yourself and coming home rejuvenated!)

As it stands, I'm on still on social media, and I may be on it more in the future, but for now, I just need a bit more time offline.

 

 

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Do you stop to see? Or are you too busy on your devices to notice? Mindfulness let's me see things moment to moment, that is, unless I am more tapped into technology then where I am or what I am doing. 

I love the photo for this post. It was shared with me last week - the simple back alley beauty right here in Edmonton. And, as much as I love it, and as hypocritical as it seems to say, the desire to share has become programmed in us and easy to indulge in. Perhaps it's becoming a lost skill to slow down, pay attention, absorb and later (often much later) describe in words, or other creative forms what we have been touched by. Instead we dash to grab our phone and share an image or video. 

Maybe try to unplug even just for a short walk and notice what you notice. Try to describe it to someone, journal about it, dance... If you're needing some support on how to have a digital detox from social media and technology, my ebook is packed full of ideas.

I'll be heeding my own advice and offline as of June 23. Excited to rejuvenate myself by taking a tech break while on holiday! I will be back in the office July 12 and encourage those of you who are current clients to book a session for my return!

 

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When Deepika first asked me to help edit her book, I didn't think what she had to say really concerned me much. Sure, I use social media, and without the benefits of technology I'd have a tough time keeping my week organized. 

Wait, organized is too soft - I need technology quite badly. 

Wait, that's not enough either - without technology I'd be out of a job in a week and I wouldn't be able to pay the bills. 

Jeez, when you put it that way, it sounds like I was plugged in pretty deeply. I was dependent on the advances of technology to stay afloat. 

That doesn't sound very healthy now, does it?

Finding the Balance

Even though I was working on the project, Deepika's message started to steadily gain more steam. As I worked through each chapter I realized just how glued my phone was to my hand. Rarely did I find myself in a situation where I didn't have a device with me, even when other devices were running in the background. 

It was too much. 

I imagine a lot of you felt the same thing as you ironically swiped between the digital pages of Deepika's book. But if you're like me and you're not ready to throw your phone in the river, hopefully you gained some insightful tips and tricks to balance your relationship with your phone. 

Because even though it contains a thousand years' worth of knowledge and entertainment, it's still just a thing. 

And you're a person. Congratulations!

Here's each chapter one more time, thanks for reading, and stay balanced!

Introduction: On Social Media & Technology Chapter 1: Is Technology Stressing You Out? Chapter 2: The Reasons For Social Overload Chapter 3: Where Does Stress Come From? Chapter 4: It's Not All Bad; Daily Benefits of Social Media & Technology Chapter 5: The 11 Culprits of Connection Chapter 6: The Mind is the Real Deal Chapter 7: Technology & the Herd Mentality Chapter 8: How to Unplug & Take Back Your Life Chapter 9: Let's Get Real About Unplugging Chapter 10: How to Help Your Overly Plugged in Friends 
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Do you have friends who are in too deep?

We’re reached the beginning of the end of our story, a chapter I hope finds you well on your way to new beginnings and a daily routine augmented by technology. Through these pages, you’ve learned how to unplug. It’s not a problem for you.

But that doesn’t mean it might not be a problem for someone else.

What action should you take when the techno-habits of your friends are negatively impacting your experience when you’re around them? Take it from me, there’s no easy answer, especially if you’d rather not become a controlling crazy lady like I was at my ‘phone-free party’. But that said, there are helpful, subtle ways to share your newfound love for device-free time without being a pariah.

1. Walk the Walk

I don’t think there is anything as inspiring as being with people who do what they say they’re going to do. The reverse is also true - it’s seriously annoying being around people behaving hypocritically. The ‘do as I say, not as I do’ model doesn’t really hold up in my books.

So here’s the good news. As you implement changes for your own technologically balanced well-being, you’re already encouraging others to think about their behaviours and to consider changes of their own.

2. Start the Conversation

I have the privilege of chatting about the topic of social media and technology on a regular basis. It affects our mental wellness, so I talk about it. Whether it occurs in individual sessions or in workshops, the topic comes up more and more often. But I’ve also realized I’m a serious outlier on this front. While mainstream media is starting to acknowledge the effects of being connected, this dialogue does not seem to have yet transferred into our personal interactions.

In other words, if I can talk about it, you can talk about it. It might be difficult to reflect and converse about our habits, especially if they’re shrouded in negativity. Yet those of us who are already immersed in the conversation can carry it on and invite others in so they can start their own journey.

This does not have to be such a heavy topic. Even a simple statement like “I pulled my camera out of the closet because I love taking photos with it instead of my iPhone” can go a long way. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more bold, try sharing helpful strategies that have worked for you. They may or may not work for someone else, but that’s up to them.

3. Make Digital Detox Fun

Unplugging can be fun. The actual re-engagement with people around you is pretty darn cool. Your friends / partner / kids may actually want to talk to you if you’re not staring into a gadget! No one wants to unplug if it feels like a chore. Heck, why would we? There’s an entire world of interesting topics at our fingertips - most of us likely don’t want to put that down to merely stare into space.

Get people on board and make it into a game of Phone Stack. Let’s say you and your friends are out at a restaurant. Get everyone to agree on emphasizing real human engagement during the evening. Once you’ve cleared that hurdle, everyone’s cell phone gets stacked up and the first to reach for their gadget pays a consequence - the tab, perhaps a round of drinks. What if you’re at someone’s home? Have everyone ditch their phones in the entryway, and the first to crack has to make dinner, put the baby to bed, or clean the toilet! Make the rules however you’d like, just go for it and have some light hearted fun!

4. Judgement Doesn’t Help

While you’re trying to rub these habits off on others, remember that just a short while ago you were hooked on the social media and technology fast track. While you may be reaping the benefits of unplugging now, try to consider those who are still plugged in without judgement. No one likes being wrong. No one likes feeling like they’re wrong. And there really is no ‘wrong’ when it comes to our relationships with social media and technology. Now that you’ve figured out your own personal balance, try to give time and space for others to experiment with theirs.

Behind the Wheel

Taking charge of your relationship with social media and technology is like taking the wheel of an enormous ship. But even if you’re in the captain’s chair, it’s important to ask yourself: when it comes to the information the sea is giving you, are you reacting to what comes your way or responding?

There’s a world of difference between responding and reacting to external stimulus. To understand what this is, we need to look closer at the physiological changes that occur in our body when it’s subjected to sensations like a tiny vibrating machine in our pocket. A reaction is when we’re threatened and experience the urge to fight, flight or, freeze. A response is when we feel safe and in control - our body’s alarm settings are calm and we have time to make an educated choice about what to do next.

The turn of the 21st century is experiencing the advent of heightened dependence on technology and social media. And here’s the best part, the cold hard truth: we’re both the ingenuitive scientist and the experiment itself.

The powerful pull of social media and technology and its addictive nature, its irresistible tendencies, means that most of us are reacting to it rather than responding. We’re constantly at its beck and call, wondering about it, or actively avoiding it. By cultivating thoughtful responses to this force, we can still interface with all the domains, the apps, the beeps, and the tweets, yet we can avoid becoming programmed by them.

Even though we’re engrossed in an international study of human behaviour, we’re still the programmers.

Not the program.

Now that we know we’re all in this together, I say to you...

We can influence this trend. We can manipulate the results of this grand experiment to suit our needs, our habits, and our tendencies. Let us respond rather than react. Let us methodically shape the future of technology into terms that suit us on a daily basis. As we actively mould our small interactions with these huge forces, we’re impacting the long term effects of social media and technology on humanity as a whole.

We can keep using these machines and devices that have become such an important thread in the fabric of our society, but let’s make sure they don’t use us.

Let the experiment continue!

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