Gimme a Break (a lesson on taking a digital detox)
Last summer, I had the terrible misfortune of accidentally washing my iPhone with my laundry. In case you’re wondering, cell phones can't survive that sort of adventure...even in the delicate cycle.
Anyway, because I couldn’t live a single second without a smart phone, I got myself a new one. My iPhone model wasn’t current anymore so I upgraded to the newest option. This phone had something on it that my old one didn’t have: “Screen Time Notifications”.
YIKES. So now, every Sunday morning at 9:00am, my phone chimes and Siri gives me a weekly synopsis of how much I’m on my phone, what categories of apps I’m using, AND HOW MANY TIMES I PICK UP MY PHONE per day. You guys, those are some shocking numbers if you’re not ready for them! (Did you know the average person picks up their phone and looks at the screen 100 times a day?!)
If you read our post last week, you know we’re spending time in September tackling the topic of over-consumption. Last week, we talked about swapping out better options for ones that might not always be so good for us. This week, let’s talk about actually taking a BREAK from things that take up too much “space”.
Just like a closet that needs to be culled through regularly in order to get rid of what no longer works for us, our brains need that same kind of clearing. You can think of it like a detox from certain foods so you can give your body a rest to repair itself.
For many of us, technology is our main source of communication, information, education, and productivity. We can’t simply eliminate it from our lives. But we CAN take better control of how we’re using it and even take breaks from time to time to give our brains a rest. If done with thought and intention, a digital detox can help you release some of the negative buildup of your technology use and give you the break you need to make better choices going forward. (It also models for your children and your spouse the importance of controlling technology and not letting technology control you.)
"Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things."
So what does this sort of detox look like? You can Google “Digital Detox” and find a ton of articles with great ideas on how to get started. (And yes, I 100% understand the irony of using technology to take a break from technology…!). My point is, there are a million great ways to stop the technology brain drain! Brainstorm for yourself and ask God to reveal where you might be spending a little too much time and energy, technologically speaking. Here are a few things I’ve felt led to do:
Take a Cyber Sabbath: this one isn’t for the faint of heart. Pick a day per week, or per month, etc. when you turn off your tech. All of it. Unless you have a job in which you need to be accessible 100% of the time, you can actually do this – I promise. This frees up 24 FULL HOURS for you to get outside, go to church, write a letter, pray, spend time with people you enjoy, read an actual book, play games, take a nap, cook a fabulous meal, indulge in a little self-care, etc. ALL WITHOUT THE DISTRACTION of technology. Leave your phone at home. Let anyone who regularly contacts you know of your plan. And then, enjoy the unplug. I LOVE this quote from Ann Lamott:
If totally unplugging feels a little extreme to you, start slower! How about one of these ideas?
Set Daily Limits: on most days, I give myself 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening to get on Instagram and Facebook. Social media is a rabbit hole that can reel me in quickly, without me even realizing it. It could easily suck hours of my day if I’m not careful, and that rarely leaves me feeling productive or refreshed. What apps could use a little limiting in your world?
Kick Time Wasters to the Trash: delete games or other apps you tend to access you’re when bored. Instead, take those few minutes to pray, meditate, watch the birds out your window, read a book ,or grab a cup of coffee with a friend. You can always add apps back later, but take a break for now!
Use Apps to Your Advantage: turn on “do not disturb” for an hour or two so you’re not tempted to answer every call, text ,or email the moment it comes in; set the timer to alert you when that hour is up; check your own screen time notifications every day so you’re aware of the time you’re spending - this will help keep you accountable to spend less time on tech, etc.
Make “No Tech” Policies/Spaces: declare “no tech at the table” at meals; create a space in the house that is a No-Tech zone and purposely choose time to spend there each day; ask friends to join you in the “no tech at the table” idea when you’re out to a meal or activity with them; and keep phones out of your room at night.
Next week, we’ll dive into the topic of clutter. I’ll be preaching to the choir for sure with that one...GULP.
Enjoy your week, sweet sister friends, and take a little time for you today. As always, I’m so glad you’re here. If you’ve got a second, leave me a comment below describing how YOU deal with the digital overload! I’d love to hear from you.
Peace, love and SO much joy to each of you. I’m praying for you and yours, and counting you as one of ours.