Lately, I have been conscious of my phone use. I have always kept my phone on the kitchen counter during the day. I had found that it was an easy way to limit my phone use when I am with my kids. I also keep my phone on silent and I have turned off notifications for most of my apps. When the pandemic hit, I found myself picking up my phone more often to check the news, learn about the disease and use my social media as a way to escape reality.
I was using my 'free' time in the evenings to read over news reports, look at alarming statistics and read all of my friends' views on the experience of living through a pandemic. I lost sleep and my brain never seemed to turn off. I kept feeding my craving for information with news and social media.
It took longer than I would like to admit to realize how my screen time was hurting my mental health. I wasn't taking the time to properly care for myself and something needed to change. I became better at putting my phone away and setting time limits.
I came across the idea of a 'tech sabbath' in Casper Ter Kuile's book The Power of Ritual
. (I highly recommend this book!) I was intrigued. Casper observes a tech sabbath from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday where he puts away both his phone and laptop. He doesn't engage in social media, read emails, work, answer messages or phone calls during that time. I loved the idea and decided to bring it up to my husband.
My husband's work requires him to be on call so he can't just put away his phone for a full day, but we agreed to our own version of a tech sabbath. We decided that on Saturday night ('date night' in our house) that we would start our tech free time and that we would observe our tech free time until Sunday evening. We also made the decision to dedicate our Sunday to family time that would include a creative activity, a physical activity (family walk or bike ride) and using our family supper to have a discussion about what we are grateful for from the previous week.
Our rules for our tech free time are:
- no social media
- no games on our phones or laptops
- no podcasts
- no email
- no internet browsing
- no blogging
We have found that our tech free time has really increased our enjoyment and relaxation during our 'days off'. We truly have time to rest and we are able to tune out the rest of the world for a short period of time. It is rejuvenating.
Do you ever limit your social media or tech use?