Tech-Free Tips for a Feel-Good Friday (or Totally Awesome Tuesday)
Want to give a Tech-free Friday or Turn-off Tuesday a try? Here are Kathy's tried-and-true strategies for digitally disengaging.
Pick a day to Detox. Decide if the weekend or a weekday is best. Put it on your calendar and set a reminder for the day before.
Alert friends and family. My family and close friends now know I take "Tech-Free Tuesdays.” I post a message on Facebook and turn on my out-of-office alert on my computer so others know the plan.
Create a way to deal with emergencies. I will usually accept calls just so I don't worry that someone needed me and couldn't reach me.
Resist the urge to react and respond! Turn off alerts on your phone. Put away your computer. Unplug your TV.
Decide what you want to do for your day. Make plans to walk, organize a closet, read through that stack of papers you've been putting off, get a massage, pull weeds or plant seeds, draw or doodle, take a nap, cook up a great new dish or get together with a friend or loved one.
Go for learning versus perfection. When we aim for perfection we rarely have fun. Keep it light by going for the learning. Take a shorter period of time if a full day feels daunting to you.
Notice your response. Take time to journal. Notice any cravings and how you responded. Notice how you feel that day and the next day.
Remember what it was like before Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram wrestled control of our time, energy, and focus? Writer Kathy Peterman shares her struggles with--and strategies for--detaching digitally in a hyperconnected world.
Each New Years Day, I take time to savor the year that has passed and reflect upon what I want to create in the year ahead. I began 2014 by unplugging from my TV, computer, and smartphone so I could do some serious reflecting without distraction, followed by a full day of spa treatments, It was a wonderful day.
"To check the weather, I simply opened the door instead of hitting my app repeatedly"
Upon waking, instead of grabbing my phone to see what the temperature and humidity were like and hopping on Facebook for 20-30 minutes before my feet even hit the floor, I pulled on a pair of socks, turned on the heater, and made a soothing cup of tea. To check the weather, I simply opened the door instead of hitting my app repeatedly. Remember those days, when we looked to the sky to guess what the weather might be?
By mid-morning, I was Jonesing to check Facebook to see what I was missing. Were people wondering where I was? Were recipes floating through my newsfeed, never to be found again? Did anyone "like" the last photo I posted?
This part actually became uncomfortable as I realized I spend way more time on Facebook than I would ever like to admit.
"By mid-morning, I was jonesing to check facebook"
A book became a new option for quieting and focusing myself, and eventually, it started to feel like a calm oasis. For the first time in months, I was able to sit down and become fully absorbed in a good read.
I went for walks. I read. I visited my sweet granddaughter. I cleaned house. And I made time for a luxurious soak in the tub, a facial mask, and a home pedicure. I enjoy pampering, and always intend do it more often, so this was a real treat. I took time to plan out my meals, to enjoy the sensuality of cutting and chopping fresh veggies, and to chew and enjoy each bite.
Each evening, I would once again move from peace to a little pain as I longed to watch reality TV—a favorite form of escape. Instead, I did some journaling and read old journal entries, and gradually, those cravings ceased.
"I awoke the feeling more refreshed than normal"
The next morning I awoke feeling more refreshed than normal. I noticed I was referencing my phone and computer less that before my digital detox. A day’s downtime did me a world of good--even though it had its painful moments.
Now, I do a digital detox one day a week. I call it “Tech-Free Tuesdays” to help friends and family remember I'm unplugging that day.
Michael Pollan said we shouldn't eat anything our great-grandmothers wouldn't recognize as food; I think we'd all benefit from living more like our grandmothers, too--at least occasionally. Unplugging from digital distractions—and engaging with people and activities that really matter--is one step in that direction.
photos by Myra Kilkenny
Kathy is a registered nurse who retired at age 55 and is now exploring the adventures in life after work. Her interests in health, photography, travel, being green and minimalism led her to create her blog The 3rd Chapter. She is presently writing an eBook about raw cleansing as a pathway to health.