Our digital connections to other people, devices, apps, and more can be felt just as viscerally as in-person interactions, contributing to chronic stress that can impact our immune system, hormone health, and more.
We have enough weighing us down in life, let’s clear the energetic clutter with cyclical hygiene practices for the digital realm.
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Referenced in this episode:
- FREE download: 6 Ways to Superpower Your Intuition Every Day
- Notion, Reddit: r/notion, Facebook: Notion Made Simple
- Holisticism Notion course
- Notion for Health Coaches
- Kat Planchette, creator of The Modern Witch’s Guide to Surviving the Digital Age
- Digital collages on Modern Women Projects
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Suffering from tech overwhelm?
Something I hear (and experience) often is that technology, social media, and always being connected are all things that we want to take a step back from. Especially during the pandemic, when it was the only thing we could really rely on, some of us got a little too digitally connected. Tech can be convenient, fun, exciting, and it can also be the bane of our existence.
How can keep that lightness around? Tech is a tool, and to different degrees, we can choose how to interact with that tool. How can we utilize it effectively without slipping into overwhelm and burnout? How can we wield it in a way that serves us? Because tools should serve us!
Part of the answer to that is privilege, of course, so not everything we talk about may apply to every single person, but take what resonates and leave the rest.
What is *digital* energetic hygiene?
Digital hygiene is traditionally about cybersecurity — protecting yourself against digital threats like viruses, phishing scams, identity theft, hackers, and so on. What we’re focusing on is tangential to this stuff — tech can bring with it a lot of stress in our lives. We receive a lot of energy through our phones and our computers, so we’re looking at digital hygiene through an energetic context.
Energetic hygiene is a proactive awareness of what affects you mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes physically, and tending to those external forces.
You know how you can be affected by the energy of different people, or the energy of a room can be real and almost tangible? That same energy can come through on social media and email and however else you interact with others.
It’s less tangible, but it still can have an impact on your stress levels – I’m sure you’ve all stressed deeply over an email from a coworker that had questionable punctuation, getting a text from an ex, getting ghosted via text, or over comment you might receive on a public forum.
Energetic awareness is psychic protection
To have a proactive awareness of your energy hygiene, you need a baseline understanding of your energy.
If you work with your intuition, or if you track your cycle, you probably already have a good idea of what impacts you and how. If you don’t already do these things, I recommend a couple things: 1. You can download my free guide, 6 Ways to Superpower Your Intuition, and 2. you can track your energy each day of your cycle.
Write down one word for the general feeling of your day, or you can add more detail if you want to. Think about how you’re feeling mentally and emotionally, and where you feel your energy in your body too.
The more you track, the more information you have to work with, and the more you’ll be able to see patterns and understand what impacts your energy from day to day.
It’s important to know how you’re impacted so you can take control and decide what to keep, what to let go of, what to set boundaries around, and what to bring in that’s new and refreshing.
Knowledge is power, and awareness is protection. Protection magic can be very practical, which you know I love. And because you know I also love a cycle and a routine, we can make it cyclical too.
A cyclical approach to digital hygiene
We use tech for ev-er-y-thing so it might feel overwhelming to tackle it all at once. To make the process of managing your digital hygiene a little easier and more organic, try approaching it from a cyclical standpoint.
In the follicular phase
Within the first couple weeks of your cycle, you’re typically best suited to prep and plan for whatever intention you want to move forward with. Let’s start there.
Get intentional with your tech.
Start with an intention for this digital evaluation.
How is your energy around the technology you’re using now, and how do you want it to be? Do you want to feel connected to your internet friends on social media or would you rather treat social like a dumpster — meaning you just post what you want and don’t look back? Nobody looks back in the dumpster at what they threw in there. Does that feel liberating? Or does it feel empty because you value those connections?
Explore a little about what you want to use your technology for, how it influences your energy, and what boundaries you might want to create to have the experience you want.
Think of all the ways you use technology.
This might feel like a lot at first because technology is so integrated into our lives, so maybe you just start by taking a day to keep note of all the things you’re using — apps, devices at home (your Kindle, iPad, Playstation, Alexa, whatever — even your electric toothbrush if you want), devices at work, the streaming services you pay for, and other digital subscriptions. Write it all down.
You’ll see just how much tech you use throughout the day, and you can also note, if you want to, if you even like what you’re using. Maybe you find you read less with a Kindle, or none of your productivity apps are actually making you productive, or you never look at your photos because your photo album is littered with screenshots you forgot to delete and you don’t feel like sorting through them. Gather information here.
Figure out what works for your productivity.
Since we have different levels of energy, stamina, creativity, and motivation throughout our cycle, keep an eye on that throughout the month to see what tools are working for you and what don’t and if that changes over the course of your cycle.
For me, I’m more active on Twitter in my luteal phase when I am feeling spicy and have a lot of opinions, but the rest of the month I just wish it never existed because I scroll endlessly and I’m not even fulfilled. The words I read are just passing through my eyeballs with no comprehension. This is all good to know about yourself.
In the ovulatory phase
In the middle of my cycle around ovulation, my energetic hygiene gets fuzzy because I have all the energy! I want to disperse it, I want to get it from others, I want to tweet and post TikToks and reply to everyone’s Instagram stories. I engage in DMs with strangers and text all my friends. I might even talk on the phone like it’s the ’90s.
I tend to invite a lot of other people’s energy into my life at this time. Maybe you do, too, because estrogen is peaking and you’re feeling communal and caring and social and you want to bond with others.
Batch your content
Ovulation hormones make you feel confident and sexy, making it an excellent time for take photos and videos. Whether you’re creating content for your business or you just want to batch your thirst traps while you’re feeling like a goddess, your future self may thank you (send ’em out in your menstrual phase, no one’s gonna know).
Assess your tech boundaries.
Are you the hyperactive IG responder this phase? How do you feel when people don’t reply for a few days and you enter your luteal phase regretting all the conversations you started?
Or if you have boundaries around your social media, are you sticking to those in this phase? You make your own rules and can do what you want, of course, but I’m thinking in the case of a business owner who doesn’t typically accept or respond to DMs asking for professional advice. If, when you’re feeling like you want more social connection, you make exceptions, does that flexibility hurt or help you?
For some people, it may feel great! For others, it might train people to not respect the boundaries that you put in place. Something to consider.
Ovulation carries with it full-moon energy. Everything becomes visible, illuminated. How’s your energetic footprint online? Google yourself. Do you know what’s out there? How do you feel about what’s out there?
Maybe you’ll find your old Livejournal giving off serious emo vibes that you don’t relate to anymore (hopefully you haven’t forgotten the password from 2003).
Someone, somewhere is going to Google you eventually, so you might as well know what’s going to come up.
Try a cord-cutting ritual.
Cords are metaphorical connections — the connections we have to others online, the connections we have to our actual devices, our thoughts and interactions and emotions associated with those connections, etc.
Remember the liquid-looking blob that extended from Donnie Darko’s chest like a tentacle? It connected him to certain things and people. This is sort of similar to that. That cord is like an electrical wire sending energy back and forth to whatever it’s connected to.
Some of that energy is vibrant, electric, exciting, nourishing, life-giving. Other times, it’s soul-sucking.
You will likely know which end of the spectrum you lean towards when you think about your connections with certain people, apps, devices, and tools.
Cord-cutting is a symbolic act, a conscious ending of a connection so you can open up more space. It’s not necessarily to bring anything new in. Mmaybe space is what you need! Space for peace.
To do this, start by meditating on the connection you’re trying to sever. What does it look like? What does it feel like in your body? Does it seem slack and inconsequential and cutting it will be easy? Or is it pulled tightly and cutting it will cause it to snap back on you? Where is it connected in your body and how? Does it feel easy to pluck out like a stray eyebrow hair or is it embedded within you like talons in your flesh?
Knowing how an energetic cord feels in your body and where is helpful for deciding how you cut it. If you believe in the chakras, maybe that can inform how you cut it, based on where it sits.
For example, if it’s in your throat, you incorporate a mantra into your ritual, or you speak truth to someone or something. If it’s in your heart chakra, maybe you can explore a ritual focused on love and compassion, for yourself or the person you’re separating from. Meditating on it can help personalize the way you do this.
Set up a devoted space to this ritual with items that represent yourself and what you’re disconnecting from. (You don’t necessarily have to do this with everything you’re separating from, just what’s bringing you the most grief.) Choose items that represent you and the other thing, and something to represent your cord — a ribbon, a thread, something you can tie the two items together with.
Speak your intention to separate the energetic connection, be clear about what you want, and thank any guides or spirits whose help you asked for. Make the cut with scissors or a hand motion (like a lil karate chop). The cord is cut.
Curate your feed.
As you ritually cut cords, feel free to go through your social media and curate your feeds, too. Get rid of anyone who doesn’t make you feel like the amazing ovulatory, celestial being that you are.
In your luteal phase
The second half of your cycle is good for more detail-oriented activities.
Clear out your digital spaces.
Delete all the apps you don’t use or that aren’t good enough for your needs, clearing some energetic space on your phone. You don’t need 10 astrology apps telling you 10 different things about the moon.
If you haven’t already unfollowed people or muted energy vampires, go ahead and do that.
Get to inbox zero if that’s a goal of yours.
Unsubscribe from all the random newsletters and email lists you’re on.
The luteal phase is more internal and focused on honing in on what’s working and what’s not, so as you do these things, think about systems you can put in place to make sure you don’t have to do this decluttering as often.
Set yourself up for success.
You could schedule a time each week on your calendar to go through your email and mass delete all the promotions, or take a couple of hours to hit unsubscribe on everything. Go through your push notifications on your phone and turn off all but the most important ones if notifications are a source of stress for you.
One of the most life-changing systems I’ve put in place for myself is creating a dashboard in Notion for my work and my finances, all the things I look at on a daily basis. If you love visual organization, if none of your productivity apps are really doing it for you right now, I highly highly recommend checking it out.
As you work on creating your systems, light a candle and ask for help focusing or finding the right ones for you. Put crystals around your desk space if you want, like selenite to help keep your space energetically clear. Cleanse your devices with smoke or sound. Set up your space for this organizational activity to feel supportive.
Getting organized is the name of the game in the luteal phase. You got rid of things that didn’t work, now you’re left with what you want to keep. Of the things you want to keep, how can you make those work even better for you? What will you need to feel really supported by them if they aren’t 100% working for you already?
Reinforce your banishing spells with protection magic
The tail end of this luteal, waning-moon phase, just before the new moon, is what’s called the dark moon phase. There is no light, you can’t see the moon at all. It’s a mysterious time, the end of a cycle. There’s destruction, finality, liberation, vulnerability, bravery. How can you apply that to the digital space?
Banishing spells are often done around this time, and I have for you a really creative one from Kat Planchette, who so generously allowed me to share with you an excerpt from their zine, “A Modern Witch’s Guide to Surviving the Digital Age.”
This is a protection spell for virtual representations of things you’d like to banish.
Often times we run into situations where we banish someone in the physical, IRL realm, but we have digital photos of the person that we wish to keep for various reasons. Whether it’s screenshots that are of value but contain the name of a person you no longer speak to, or photos that include a person you banished, it’s important to find a way to handle the energetic implications of holding onto these digital mementos. It’s difficult to effectively banish someone if you have bits of them scattered about your digital life like glitter.
If you are constantly stumbling upon pictures, screenshots, and videos unexpectedly, you are also rehashing old wounds and reinforcing once-severed energetic connections.
For this spell, you will need to create a sigil. It’s important you have a quiet space, paper, something to write with, and a candle for later on. Make sure your devices are on Do Not Disturb. I downloaded the drawing app, Procreate, to draw my sigil. You can download the drawing app of your choice, just make sure you’re familiar with it beforehand.
The first thing you will need to do is create a personalized sigil for keeping the energy contained within a specific digital space. In this case, we will be using a folder on your computer to contain any photos, videos, documents, and screenshots.
To create the sigil, you will need to write out a sentence spelling out your intention. This spell is to reinforce any of your banishing spells and to keep you safe from any incorrect energies if you should feel the need to view the contents within the folder you create. You can rephrase that sentence, or write your own.
When making a sigil, the first thing you do is remove any repeated letters and vowels from your sentence. I like to cross them out and write a new line below with the letters that are left. The last step is to combine the letters that are left into a pattern, and to reduce those letters in the pattern until you feel it’s right. I follow my intuition with this. Make sure to take your time and to get lost in the process. This produces the best results.
The next step is to cast your sigil. Open up your phone and create a new file on the drawing app that you downloaded. Light your candle.
Take the final copy of your sigil that you drew on paper. Look into the flame and visualize your sigil. Focus on it and get lost in the design.
As you start to feel yourself getting lost in your sigil, start to draw your sigil on your phone in the drawing app that you downloaded. Once you have drawn your sigil, continue to get lost, focusing on the design you created and your intention. When you feel the moment is right, light your parchment aflame. Your sigil is now charged.
After your charge your sigil, you will need to save the other sigil you drew on your phone. If there is an option to add a file name type in random letters and numbers (think a bitcoin address), save your sigil to your computer in a new folder using random numbers and letters for the folder name as well. This is done so your sigil is never consciously associated with any specific person, situation, or thing when you view it casually scrolling, only the intention that you created it for. If there is a preview photo option, add your sigil as the preview photo for the folder and keep it as such.
From there, you can add any photos, files, or other digital mementos that you need to banish from your life to your newly created folder. After you add the files to your sigil folder, delete them from other places so you can release stagnant energy and focus on keeping your digital life filled with things that help propel you towards a happy abundant future.
Delete the sigil from your phone. Restart it. Take a ritual bath in rosewater and restart yourself.
In the menstrual phase
In this new moon, menstrual phase, you can probably guess what I’d suggest, since this is typically a low-energy, rest-focused period.
And yes, rest, rest, rest. Toss your phone into the sea, metaphorically, of course.
Embrace disconnection where you can.
I am resisting the urge to tell you to do a full digital detox because that requires a lot of privilege to be able to be disconnected and unavailable, so instead, I encourage you to rest where practical and possible. You may not be able to fully detach yourself from the digital world, but can you take a social media break?
Can you set up an auto-responder on your emails? If you have the privilege of being able to choose how you interact with email, I recommend this for sure. Something simple like letting people know the window in which you’ll get back to them, or offering a bulleted list of responses to commonly asked questions. This frees you up from responding if the question has been answered there. Get creative with it.
You can also do this on your phone. On iPhone at least, it now has different options for Do Not Disturb — you can set up different parameters for work, sleep, and other focus options. You can silence all notifications but make exceptions for certain people, you can schedule it to be on at certain times of the day, you can also do an auto-reply.
If those aren’t options, try just a few minutes of being in your room without a phone or computer, or take a walk around the block without your phone. Let people know where you are and what you’re doing if you need to, but just go somewhere without an internet connection.
If you can’t take a break from it all, try some grounding practices to help anchor you inside of it.
Imagine the space you are inhabiting, the real estate of the virtual place you’re connected to that you want protection from. It doesn’t have to be a scary place, it can even be a place you enjoy spending time in the digital realm that you want to continue enjoying.
Imagine physically inhabiting that space. Wandering through it with a protective bubble around you, kind of like those inflatable balls that you can get inside of, like a hamster ball. Or imagine a light enveloping you, keeping you safe.
Meditate on that visualization, saying “I do not claim any energy that doesn’t belong to me” or “I release any energy that isn’t my own.” Then focus on how you want to feel in that space, think about your intention for being there.
Create a virtual vision board.
Speaking of intention, this leads into a new cycle. What do you want to call in? I love digital collages for creating visual intentions. Like a vision board, but less clutter.
I’ve been inspired by Sarah Faith Gottesdiener’s collages in her tarotscopes. If you’re used to the live/laugh/love type of vision board imagery — have a look at hers to see how much more symbolic (and cooler) they can be. Step outside of the box.
With visual magic like this, you can use the images as your desktop or phone background to be reminded of your spell every time you use your devices.
What are your energetic hygiene practices?
I’d love to hear how you approach energetic hygiene in the digital space. Feel free to connect with me on Instagram and let me know!