Every single week I take a 25-hour break from the online world. Every. Single. Week.

I turn off my phone, shut down my laptop.

I stop tweeting, liking, sharing, pinning, posting, messaging, commenting, storying. Texts or WhatsApps? Nope. Answering phone calls from numbers not in my contacts (which I don’t answer anyway)? No way. No laughing at memes, no listening to podcasts, no watching videos or Stories.

Totally offline. Crazy, right???

Take a break! Woman reading on the beach

Photo by Chen Mizrach on Unsplash

Saturday Night Sweats

If you’re wondering why I’d do something so “extreme,” I’m Jewish and from sundown Friday evening till nightfall Saturday night, I’m offline during the Sabbath. Cold turkey.

When I first started on Twitter almost nine years ago, my break caused me stress. I panicked and assumed I had missed some crucial information, a tweet that I NEEDED to see. So as soon as I could, I logged on and went as far back in my feed as possible. Yup- I was just a wee bit addicted. Ditto for Facebook.

It took some time but I came to learn that I can’t see every tweet and so if I missed something, life goes on. When this sank in, I began to appreciate my weekly break that much more. The world goes on whether I’m sitting at the computer or not- which makes my time away more relaxing.

The constant grind of wanting to suck in as much information as we can, the need to read and react, our compulsion to know what our friends are doing every minute of the day…we could ALL use a mini-vacay. Time away from the screen would benefit everyone.

Horrible Habit

For most of the remaining 143 hours during the week, I’m glued to my laptop and phone. I don’t say that with pride. It is what it is.

I don’t sleep much so I’m up at all hours conversing with people via email, Twitter, WhatsApp, private messages. Just last week I answered a Twitter DM at 1am and the response back was, “Omg! Don’t you sleep?” Not really.

Is that a good thing? Nope. I do need to sleep more. But hard to break a habit of 3+ decades.

Worse yet, if I get up in the middle of the night, guess what I do? Yup, open my phone, check my messages and emails. Respond where needed. Maybe scroll a bit through my Twitter and Instagram feeds. Nothing of interest happening? I put down the phone and go back to sleep.

When I wake up at 5am, I do what most of us do: Open the phone and scan. I’ll usually check what’s trending on Twitter just to catch up on what I missed during my few hours of sleep.

I’m the first to admit it’s addictive. Email, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram..oh look, squirrel! It’s almost hopeless to try and pull ourselves away from the screen or screens in front of us.

But it’s NOT impossible. Come sundown on Friday, I turn everything off and quiet reigns.

Take a break and breathe

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

What’s A Book?

My 25-hour ScreenFreeFest is not just a personal sleep-a-thon. Two years ago I started using my time more wisely and I went back to reading books. I started finishing a book a week. Who knew I had time for that?!

I know that my weekly vacay isn’t for everyone. I’m sure that most of you spend your weekends on your phone, with a laptop or tablet nearby. Just in case of an important work thing, of course.

Can I give you a suggestion? Turn everything off for an hour, even just once a week. Read a book. Take a walk. Dust the house. Cook or bake. Anything but look at a screen.

Forget your health. It’ll be good for your soul. It’s refreshing to step out of your routine and try something different. Trust me: You’ll feel a lot better.

To quote Aerosmith: “I don’t wanna miss a thing.” Especially my 25 hour weekly break from tech.

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