Why You Should Do a Social Detox

Why Musicians Need a Social DetoxThis weekend we woke up early to go skiing again. I’m still pondering whether people who are happy with their lives crave escape, though I’ve discovered small ways to escape the drama and busyness of daily life.

Recently I’ve felt there’s been too much going on. If you’re feeling it too, I invite you to follow along as I clear my head with a detox.

 

In our first 15 minutes on Cypress mountain, my friend skis up a tree packed with a wall of snow and I copy him because it usually works when I follow someone else’s path.

He stands there watching, and I end up flying.

Later, we discuss my flight:

“I was trying to slow down, not ride up a tree.”

“At one point, your body was horizontal with the mountain,” Marinah says.

“I was thinking, wow, this chick is hardcore.” He says.

I fall less often on these icy conditions than on Whistler, but the falls are more impactful. Like, I rip my jacket at one point.

We’re often so focussed on others that we don’t notice that our own lives are just as spectacular to a passerby.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, we will only start to realize our own worth when we focus 100% of our attention on ourselves, and not on comparing ourselves to others.

 

Four of us are standing on top of a steep slope, blinded by fog and snow.

“This looks dangerous,” Marinah says. “Like we’re going to die.” She likes to scream a prolonged scream when it’s scary. She was very patient with me on the last trip, when I was eating a lot of snow.

I start skiing down and yell something like, “But ayyy we’re all going to die someday!”

Perhaps you think I’m being reckless, and maybe you’re right.

Marinah is more experienced in skiing and she is using her brain. But there’s no point standing there, and without goggles, my face is being stabbed with tiny little snow daggers.

It took me a year and four countries to come to terms with this:

Maybe I’m weird and reckless, but I’m me.

I’ve had music students who were energetic, or shy, or talkative, and I liked them all.

We often compare ourselves to others, but we forget that changing a fundamental part of our personality effectively changes us as a person. And no matter how great someone else’s life looks, let’s be honest, our life is the only life that we’d ever choose to have.

 

How Skiing Helped Me Become a Better Learner

“I have a speed problem,” I say.

Two guys on our trip are expert skiers. They are both calm about my shenanigans, except when I ask about the snowmobile that picked up our friend who lost a ski.

“They come get you if you’re stuck?” I say.

One guy points at me. “Don’t even think about trying it.”

“I’ve never been on a snowmobile.” I cackle.

My instinct to try new things, and curiosity about the world, was fading over the past few months, in part because I was constantly tired, thumbing through my phone. There’s research that shows how staring at a smartphone drains your energy.

Stop dividing your energy between tasks. When you devote 100% of your focus into a task, you will notice things you haven’t seen before.

 

The four of us sit in the snow. We are waiting for our German friend whom we haven’t seen in awhile.

I’m farther down the mountain, so Marinah and I are shouting across the slope.

My phone is in my friend’s jacket because my zippers are broken, and it turns out I am okay with laying in the snow catching snowflakes in my eyeballs.

Not having a phone is freeing. I’ve also deleted all my social media apps, so there is no reason to check every few minutes. Five people have asked why I deleted snapchat, but it already feels like I’ve got more time and energy in a day.

These little pockets of attention are so important. It takes a lot of effort for your brain to keep switching tasks throughout the day, and each second you spend thumbing through your phone is another second you’re not living in the real world.

That’s why I have a No phones rule in my piano studio.

Let someone else keep your phone. You can’t check it, if you don’t have it.

 

We tell a snow patrol guy cruising down the mountain that our friend hasn’t come down for ten minutes.

He makes a call on the walkie-talkie, then lays in the snow just above me on the slope.

Okay, I will just tell you that it turns out the guy we were waiting for, had gone ahead and didn’t see four really good looking people sitting in the snow. But that’s okay. If he was stuck, we would’ve found him.

No matter how strong we are, we can all use a support crew to make sure we’re doing alright. For example, you can have a support crew for music. Your crew doesn’t need to be big or formal; it can be a few friends who are working on the same piece of music with you.

I’m trying to learn React Native for developing iOS (iPhone) apps, and I have a little crew and this helps immensely: Marinah, whom I’m coding with, and another developer, who programs in this language full-time, whom we bother for questions once in awhile.

I’m not telling you to not go on a journey alone. Sometimes, we want to push ourselves.

But there’s no harm asking for help, and certainly no harm in having a crew who will support us. In fact, it’s motivating to be accountable for a task.

So, this is my detox:

Get focussed, remove distraction, and keep good company.

I invite you to join me. Leave a comment below!

2 Comments

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2 Comments

  • Reply Jocelyn (Lady J) December 15, 2016 at 3:24 am

    Morning Grace, I feel the same way,maybe not skiing,but the peace of looking at waterfalls. I have a great support system too,I remembered that in my masters class long time ago that a good leader delegates his or her duties, you don’t have to do everything yourself. For the new year l will have a sign no cell phones in the studio,just the thought of that already gives me a sign of relief. I try not to go on my phone a lot because it will drain you. Thanks for the detox,Happy Holidays to you and your family from E&J Piano Studio

    • Reply Grace Lam December 15, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      Jocelyn, that’s a great rule to try in the new year; I still remember when cellphones used to be confiscated in classrooms. Now they’re just constantly draining our energy. :) Happy holidays!

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