Unplugged is the New Luxury

As a mom and a school leader, I am always flirting with that dreaded feeling of “I’m so worn out!” This week, I wrote “Sustain Energy” as one of my top 3 goals over the next 12-weeks and I designed objectives to achieve this goal. Also, I came across an article titled, “Why Teachers are So Tired?” It is a true struggle for those of us who care for children.  So, I want to share the rejuvenating benefits of choosing to unplug!

In the springtime, I always begin thinking about the nests we design in homes and classrooms. The birds are in a season of nurture and I am enamoured by watching them gather twigs, grasses, string, and mud to design a nest for thriving.

Selfhood_WholeChildNest   LF Coming Soonblog_07.26 (4)

Designing invites many considerations. One big idea for a design season:

Unplugged is the new luxury.

It isn’t a hardship, it isn’t a detox, it is a luxury to unplug and focus on rejuvenating. I experienced this indulgence on retreat with The Builder over spring break and so we went back to our fall-time commitment of “Screen-Free Sundays.”  Our discipline had waned over the winter season, but we gently and graciously reconsidered and now we’re back on track!

I continue to be somewhat shocked about our society’s dependence on phones, tablets, and tvs. And then, I realize, I’m shocked at my own dependence. I wonder about its impact on me.

One of my favourite bloggers, Joshua Becker, of Becoming Minimalist, offers a ton of research in a recent blog post. The most charming fact is researchers are now naming the phenomena of checking our cell phones the “new yawn” because of its contagious nature.

How do we simplify and indulge in the luxury of unplugged? Here are seven things I am learning about Screen-Free Sundays:

       1.  Unplugged is much easier when we are all committed together.

Recently, I came across the notion of Amish Hour, but when I discussed it with my husband, The Builder, he wasn’t as keen. We just find our days demanding, so fitting in one more discipline at the end feels more like a bunion than a blessing.  After collaborating, we again landed on our 12 hour screen-free Sunday, 7am to 7pm. When we announced it to our littlest one, she was so keen, she danced throughout the house the whole day singing about Screen-Free Sunday.  That’s motivation!

        2.  I have to plan for it.

It is like the Sabbath of yesteryear, when all of the work needed to be completed the day before.  My plan includes letting my team know, switching up my writing schedule, and scheduling other rejuvenating activities. Whether it is creating a great pot of soup, reading a novel, or having dinner with friends, I relish being screen-free when I have a plan.  Disclaimer – I am sure others could enjoy the spontaneous nature of this luxury without a plan, so maybe this is just a personality piece. Do what works for you!

        3.  Screen-Free Sunday fosters relationship.

During the day, there is more time for church, friendship, chatting, extended family, catching up, and lingering. The pace slows right down. We are truly experiencing a new kind of “free!” The margin is quite novel and encourages a different kind of connection.

        4.  I tackle lingering items on my to-do list.

Whether it is spring cleaning the mudroom, working in the garden, or running a few errands, it now feels like there is a natural time in my week where those tasks fit.

        5.  Unplugging encourages creativity.

My notebooks fill because I get ideas, I notice more, I feel inspired. We spend more time outside and nature encourages me. There’s time for artwork, writing, and making of all kinds. The spaciousness offers good gifts and I don’t think the inspiration ends on Sunday at 7pm. Because I unplugged, my heart feels re-invigorated and the weights are lighter. Creativity and creative solutions flow for several days from this new vantage point.

        6.  I am more fully planned and prepared for my week.

Surprisingly, I have found myself naturally getting things organized as a result of Screen-Free Sunday for Monday morning. Of course, we all know the benefits, but I don’t always execute. As we’ve implemented this practice, I find myself more consistently getting out my planner to reflect on the previous week and thoughtfully consider the one ahead. Even simple tasks like tidying bedrooms or pulling out the Monday morning wardrobe happen more naturally when we aren’t distracted by the path of least resistance for filling time.

         7.  I feel rejuvenated.

At the end of Sunday, I am looking forward to a week with energy and vitality.  I feel ready and rested.  I truly benefit from the freedom of being unplugged!

Of course, everyone doesn’t need to implement Screen-Free Sunday, but I do want to re-direct our thinking:

Unplugged is the new luxury.

How would you benefit from this luxury?  How would the children you serve benefit if you implemented this practice?  What could you plan this week to try it on?

For the sake of the children,