In today's fast-paced world, we have become so connected to our digital devices that we've lost some important personal connections. When I go out and see everyone, heads-down, looking at their phones, it makes me a bit sad. Eye contact and human connection is so important, and so is connecting with hobbies, nature and ourselves.
And so my journey to unplug and hug began.
My name is Annabel Olah. I'm a mom, wife, Pilates instructor, business owner, energy healer and tree hugger.
My story starts at George Mason University where I earned a degree in communications and advertising. After working in that field for a short time, I realized it wasn’t the perfect fit for me. So, seeking a career that gave me more purpose, I decided to become a teacher, and earned my teacher's certificate from the University of Virginia.
As a teacher, I wanted to understand how a child's brain developed. I was also very interested in how television and video games affected the brain and performance in the classroom. (And on the playground!)
My curiosity was taken to a deeper level when my daughter was diagnosed with sensory issues. I wondered if spending too much time in front of the TV, or playing games on my iPhone made her senses out of balance, so I started researching the health effects of electronics and digital devices, particularly on kids. Because I learned that overly using digital devices can impact cell development and social interactions, I started filling up my daughter’s time with activities, hobbies and real-world experiences.
I found that disconnecting was essential for me when my mother developed breast and uterine cancer. Finding holistic ways of healing, and practical ways to cope became my mission. When I lost my brother the night before my daughter was born, finding peace amongst the pain led me to meditation and self healing, which opened the door to a world of balance, calm and overall better health.
What did I find?
Among other activities like meditation, hiking and spending quality time with my family, my experiences guided me to Pilates, an activity that not only impacts my physical health, but also provides me a quiet time to reflect and center myself. I became a Pilates instructor so that I can share the benefits of this practice with my clients.
I also discovered the therapeutic properties of essential oils, and have woven them into my daily life. This led me to become a representative of doTerra natural oils because I wanted my family and friends to experience the peace and healing properties that oils can bring.
What have I learned from unplugging - and hugging?
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that there's a great purpose for electronics and digital devices in our lives, and that they are an integral part of our world. (Hence, I'm sharing my ideas with you online.) But, I think that relying on them for social interaction and being constantly ‘plugged in’ comes with a price.
The ideas and skills that could help us to deal with life (and help us enjoy it!) can be lost in the digital age. That’s why taking the time to connect with people, nature, hobbies and the messages that come to us from our higher self and higher power is so important.
And when I realized that there’s a world out there beyond my phone, my tablet and my computer, I started to engage my inner self, spend more time with my daughter, build stronger relationships with people (my husband, friends, family, clients) and gain a renewed appreciation for nature and my life.
And I didn't start this endeavor alone.
Together with my lifelong friend and 'digital guru,' Cory Jurentkuff, I put my ideas into action. Friends from high school, we have a shared vision to help people find a comfortable and healthy balance between digital and human connections.