Mental Health and the OlympicsAugust 2, 2021
Giving Up My OfficeOctober 5, 2021
Disconnecting From Technology
One Day Each Week
Unplugging one day a week. Our day of rest.
With technology available at our fingertips 24 hours a day, the boundaries have become blurred in our lives between work and rest. This can lead us to feel distracted all the time, preventing us from focusing on what is important in our lives.
We can choose to take a break, and perhaps ritualize it, making the break a part of our weekly routine. For one day, we can set a clear boundary between a day of rest and our screens.
Instead of having screens in sight, we can dedicate our attention to being with family and friends, allowing for uninterrupted attention and focusing on listening to each other and sharing common activities. We can close off the whole world and create a sanctuary. Time can slow down. Whereas technology can seem to speed up our sense of time, being able to hit the pause button can slow it down.
When we go back online after the break, we find an appreciation for the other ways to connect with others, but we have the benefit of viewing things after resetting ourselves. We may find that our productivity improves, too. We can understand how the ever-present buzzing and texts interrupts our days, and how the day of rest from technology becomes a protected space to relax.
With the new-found time not focusing on each text or email, we can find more time to do those activities that we never seem to find time for in our technology-laden days.
If a full 24 hours of a technology break seems daunting initially, commit to putting devices away the night before for a full twelve hours. Spend the morning enjoying a cup of coffee instead of endlessly staring at our phones or tablets, and see how that affects your outlook and day.
Planning as a Way to Reduce Anxiety
While preparing for what was predicted to be a hurricane (and was ultimately “downgraded” to a tropical storm) I became more aware of what helps us to keep calm and focused. It really came down to remembering what worked in the past and I found myself going back to my Scouting days: "Be Prepared."
Once I entered that space I heard my late mom and dad’s reminders as a checklist: be sure the car has a full tank of gas, put water into pitchers, fill the bathtub so there’s water to flush toilets, check flashlights for working batteries, secure any outdoor furniture or garden pots, put important papers for people and animals in a waterproof carry bag, charge the phones, check in with neighbors and loved ones, and when a friend offers you their home which may be safer than yours, accept with an open heart.
What I discovered while doing this was that I felt in control because I had a plan. I knew that in the many hurricanes and snowstorms we weathered as a family, the key was to be as prepared as possible.
Helpful tips to remind and guide you:
- Let people close to you know your plan
- Relax as best you can with prayer or meditation
- Stay connected with loved ones as best you can
- Think of how you got through challenging times before
- Remind yourself that you are okay at this moment
Kintsugi, the Japanese form of ceramic repair, literally means “to join with gold.” Broken pieces of a ceramic pot are carefully reassembled and glued together with gold-inflected lacquer. There is no attempt to disguise the damage. The point is to feature the fault-lines as beautiful and strong.
In our youth and perfection-obsessed culture, the art of kintsugi holds a particular wisdom that is applicable to our own lives just as it is to a broken ceramic pot. The care spent on shattered ceramics points the way toward respecting what is damaged, vulnerable and imperfect, including ourselves and others around us.