Tech Free Day
Here’s a gift of self care you can give yourself every week, month or for a few hours whenever you need it most. A Tech Free Day can be one of the slowest and most peaceful days you’ve spent in a long while.
Years ago, I discovered a blog post by Tiffany Schlain about her Technology Shabbats and we decided to give it a try. We picked a Friday night at sundown, even though we aren’t Jewish, and made sure to inform family members that we would be unplugged and would appreciate text or call silence unless there was an emergency.
The result? From Friday night sundown to Saturday night sundown was the slowest 24 hour period we could remember experiencing for a very long time. We were more connected to each other and present. We created new ways to spend our time. We were more mindful of just how we were spending our time AND how much of our thoughts centered around an automatic desire to look something up on the phone or to turn on the television.
It was bliss. It was awkward. It was funny and sad and made us think about how really disconnecting technology can be. For devices that are meant to connect us with information and entertainment and service or support, they sure are keeping us from connecting in a meaningful way with ourselves and others.
I can’t stress how slowly time passes without an iPhone, iPad, television, radio, or E-reader.
For me, unplugging now and again is a self care habit. It forces me to get quiet with myself and those around me. It promotes extreme mindfulness. It relaxes me.
Now, I know what you’re saying – “I can’t have a Tech Free Day today because I am already reading this email in my inbox or looking at this post on Facebook!” I get it.
So you have a couple of options:
- Start your Tech Free Day some time today when you can and commit to 24 hours.
- Schedule your Tech Free Day for some time before the end of our #SummerofSelfCare2017
- Take a Tech Free half day, or even just a couple of hours.
Spend a little time journaling during your tech free experience. Write down how it feels. Whether this is something you want to do again. Whether you want your entire family to participate or you just want to go tech free alone. What would you like to experience tech free? Do you want to do this every week, month, or just when you really need it? Or do you never want to do this again. Could this be a regular self care practice for you?
If you’ve had to schedule a future Tech Free Day, what do you want to put in place to honor it? If you work at a job where you are on-call, can you switch with someone else? Set up a stronger boundary with colleagues?
You decide whether you feel comfortable leaving your phone somewhere you absolutely can’t access it. See how taking a walk or going somewhere without your phone feels to you.
Now, if you’re a caregiver, that may not be an option. But you can put it on silent and put it in your pocket, so you’ll get the vibration notice if need be but otherwise ignore. I would also encourage you to find someone you trust to provide respite care for you that will not text or call you unless absolutely necessary.
Will your family or friends forget sometimes and text you by mistake? Yes. Just assess if it’s an emergency, remind them gently that you are unplugged and carry on.
Can you combine a Tech Free Day in the future with a day trip, a weekend away or even an entire vacation? We took a Tech Free weekend to a local tourist destination once and it was lovely. I’ve also used Tech Free Day as a reward after a huge project or event. What about a Tech Free Day plus a massage?
In the summer, Tech Free Days can be especially wonderful if you spend time swimming, hiking, biking or reading. (See Summer of Self Care Day 7 which can be replicated any day you choose.)
Now, in the spirit of walking my talk, I am on a Tech Free Day today as well. This is possible for me because some technologies feature scheduling options. I am enjoying being unplugged.
Enjoy the silence that happens when time feels like it stands still.