At 4:30pm on Saturday, we were at the beach and I took one last photo of the kids and my nephews playing at the beach before putting my phone back in the diaper bag. We had a great time that afternoon with my sister and her family and I kept more than busy watching all of those little bodies play in the sand and get in and out of the water. I totally could have taken more pictures (and posted some on Instagram), but refrained and just enjoyed myself.
Once the kids were in bed, I spent my evening unpacking our beach bags, plus some shopping bags from earlier that day. I started a load of laundry and cleaned our kitchen. (I don't know about you but one of my favorite things is to wake up to a clean kitchen in the morning. I love that feeling of a fresh start.) As I unpacked, I took my phone out of the diaper bag and set it face down on the counter near our back door. I'm not sure why, maybe I was taking baby steps, but I never turned my phone off during this break. I just turned it on vibrate. Not that I would have heard it vibrate way two rooms away...
For the remainder of the evening, I sat with Mark and watched a football game. I planned out the following week. I was curious about the weather in the coming days, but looking that up would have to wait. With no internet to suck me into the depths of scrapbooking, social media, blogs and message boards, I was in bed before 10:30. That alone is very rare here.
Both kids were up just before 8 on Sunday and Mark made us waffles for breakfast. The urge to check my email was strong but I stayed busy and away from my phone. More laundry, I repaired a hole in one of Morgan's shirts, and I looked through the new IKEA catalog that's been sitting on our coffee table for 3 weeks. I was finally started to relax and enjoy some intentional downtime without the temptation to get sucked into what everyone else was doing. I was getting stuff done and being with my family. I was present and focused on whatever and whoever was in front of me. And I will be the first to admit, man, that can be hard sometimes!
The consensus : when Courtney asked how it went, I said "getting used to not grabbing my phone at every whim was tough, but overall, it was quite refreshing! Need to do more often!" For sure. Probably not weekly, but I could totally do it once or twice a month. What I would truly like to work into my daily rhythm is phone/computer free times. Back at the beginning of the year, one of my less list items was to keep my phone off the table when we're eating a meal. Particularly when other people, even if it's just me and the kids, are at the table. This has been a great time for a mini digital break each day. I'm trying to set a time for myself at night to get away from the screens but have not found a good, consistent fit yet. The busier I get, the more excuses I have. Yup, I am a work in progress.
Have you ever gone on a self-imposed digital sabbatical? Do you set times for yourself for checking email, browsing the internet or working? Any tips to share to get yourself away from the all the screens and in front of the people and things you love?