Whether or not you’re religious, I think that a Sabbath, or day of rest, is a great tool to lower stress and improve happiness. In many religious traditions, the Sabbath is a day set apart for religious observance and rest from various labors. Taking a technology sabbath means setting aside a set amount of time to limit our use of electronics, the internet, social media and other technology.
Unlike many “technology sabbath” articles, I’m not going to lecture about why we need to quit using electronics or how technology is ruining our lives and society because I don’t believe that technology is evil or inherently bad. I use some form of computer, electronic communication, gadget, device or other technology almost every day for work, play, communication, entertainment and more. I think the Internet is amazing! I’ve learned so much and connected with many people online thanks to the Internet.
However, I believe that, like most things, we can have too much of a good thing and we should learn to take time off. If we’re not careful we can easily spend most of our time online and “plugged in”.
In this digital era, we can so rapidly transport ourselves to places and activities that can quickly remove us from what is essential for a life filled with lasting joy.
This networked life can, if left unchecked, give precedence to relationships with people whom we don’t know or have never met rather than with the people we live with—our own family!
–Jose A. Teixeira
Sometimes the best way to appreciate something is to spend time away from it. We can also learn about our habits, twitches and addictions as we spend time away from technology. Creating structured time away from technology allows us to view the world outside, spend more time with loved ones and work on our hobbies and passions.
Technology is an amazing tool that can be used to improve our lives. But our phones, tablets and computers shouldn’t control our lives and eat up our precious time.
Learn to control your devices instead of letting your devices control you.
Don’t let the idea of a day of technology rest scare you. You are strong. You can do this. So how exactly do we rest from our devices?
First, pick one day during the week for your technology sabbath. If you don’t think you can do an entire day, pick a block of time during that day, like 8 AM – 11 AM. Saturday or Sunday usually work best, but pick a day that works with your work or school schedule.
Second, set limits. You might be required to take phone calls or need to answer some text messages during the day. Maybe you are only taking a break from social media and online entertainment. Or maybe you want to keep the TV off for a whole day. There are many ways to do a technology sabbath. Make a plan that works well for you but still challenges you to take a break.
Third, turn it off and put it away. Remove any temptations that may arise during the day. If you’re trying not to watch TV, unplug the TV and hide the remotes. If you’re avoiding social media, delete the apps from your phone.
Fourth, enjoy your day off! Find something amazing to do with your time away from technology. Write a poem, go for a walk, play with your kids, clean the kitchen, work on a hobby, practice a skill. You’d be amazed how much you can get done when you turn off the technology for just one day.
Fifth, do this at least once a week. The great thing about a technology sabbath is that they happen once a week! Take a break every Saturday, Sunday, or, if you’d like, take your sabbath time for four hours every night or every morning. Your technology sabbath time is yours. Be flexible, make it fun and enjoy your time away.
Here are some ideas for technology sabbath activities, if you’re struggling with no technology:
- Take a walk
- Meditate (or learn to meditate)
- Take a class
- Go for a hike/bike ride/run/etc.
- Go camping
- Bake bread
- Read a (paper) book
- Have a picnic
- Build a blanket fort with your kids (or with your spouse/roommates)
- Work on a hobby
- Do some crafts
- Watch a play (live, of course!)
- Go swimming
- Clean through your junk drawer
- Use the contents of your junk drawer to have an adventure
- Write a poem (or read a poem)
- Finish a project around the house
- Find shapes in the clouds
- Star gaze
- Add your own in the comments!
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