Recipe for a Digital Detox with Mai Nguyen

In a time when we are writing online about taking digital detoxes from the internet, are think pieces and strategies for taking a break to disconnect considered passé? We think not.

Endless scrolling and the resulting comparison mentality has negative impacts on our well being.

Being distracted by our phones keeps us from connecting at the dinner table. Sometimes our sleep is affected by screen time. Overall, we may feel run down by the constant stream of consumption and forget to notice the in-between moments in life or be present altogether.

We spoke with Mai Nguyen, a friend of AS YOU ARE, on finding her path and discovering a curiosity for learning that leads to mindfulness. Mai has worked on teams as a creative professional in the digital media landscape and also runs her own blog. Below, get a refreshing perspective on what it means to live fully IRL while creating healthy balances with social media outside of work as told by Mai.

Mai wears the Blocked Dart Bra

Mai wears the Blocked Dart Bra.

Owning your personal narrative

My name is Mai Nguyen and I'm a social influencer slash creative entrepreneur (whatever those mean!) under the self-brand, Little Mai Sunshine, with passionate affinities towards women's empowerment, mental health, and wholesome, honest living. 

But really, in large part, I'm anything and everything my mind and heart wills for, with no true north other than a path of learning. This same path has welcomed a beautiful journey of personal mindfulness and understanding how wellness is essential within my life. I share that journey online with everyone, out loud because when we're all mentally healthy, we can thrive in mental wealth together.

On the importance of taking a social media break

It is so easy to converge our physical and digital realities when our society has thoroughly weaved them as one, and we’ve conveniently interchange the two as our single line of vision. But this also breeds a problem within ourselves when digital reality starts dictating our everyday actions and we become reliant on social media for self-validation.

I believe breaks are necessary for our self-care needs and we should tend to them as often and best we can.

We shouldn’t be expected to always be on our A-game working at consistently high frequencies -- growth is not linear and our most thriving peaks are born out of the moments we give ourselves time to breathe and realign ourselves.

On disconnecting for self-discovery

I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned, especially being so deeply immersed in this industry, is to understand the difference between actual freedom and inflated freedom, and which positively empowers me in the long-run.

While connecting to people and places from all over the world through a screen has opened up so many opportunities and perspectives it also shrinks our own sense of self and distorts what our personal freedom feels like.

While connecting to people and places from all over the world through a screen has opened up so many opportunities and perspectives (I do believe it provides a powerful sense of global interconnectedness), it also shrinks our own sense of self and distorts what our personal freedom feels like.

I learned that by truly distinguishing the hard line between the two, I won’t feel the need to rely on digital connections to nourish my energy but rather only incorporate it as a beneficial supplement to my meaningful ones within my physical and present world.

Mai wears the INTO KIT by AS YOUARE

Mai wears the INTRO KIT.

On recognizing and nurturing gratitude in daily moments

First and foremost, recognize and acknowledge your gratitude. Understand all that you do have in your life and celebrate their presence. I found that this was a long-hauled process -- and not always straight-pathed as with all breaking of habits -- that required intentional effort and mindful energy from myself because when we live in a world that nurtures comparison and competition, especially digitally, it’s quite difficult to step away from what we’ve conditionally normalized.

So the first step should be to identify your treasures -- your family, friends, passions, potentials, environments, small wins, big wins, your journey -- and let those flourish within the reopened spaces you’d normally dedicate to being online. And once you’ve identified these, connect with them, like really, purposefully connect with them. Because once you do, you’ll realize where your thriving energy really comes from, and most of the time, it’s not going to be from a screen. You’ll be surprised how much more you have in your life than you give yourself credit for.

A conversation in person

Mai is speaking on the topics of mental health + social media later this month at Davines HQ.

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