Every now and then, I decide to completely quiet the world and turn off my phone and computer for Shabbat.
For those of you who don’t know, Shabbat is a Jewish holiday that occurs every Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown. It’s a day of rest but it is also so much more. It’s a special and sacred ~24 hour period that I would simply butcher in explaining further. What I do think is important to note, though, is that many religious Jews do not use technology in this time period.
While I’ve never considered myself very religious, I’ve always felt connected to Shabbat. As a young adult, my Friday nights are typically filled with a Shabbat dinner and some of my favorite R’s: relaxing, reflecting, recharging and drinking red wine. Most recently, I’ve decided to occasionally kick it up a notch and turn off my devices when I can.
I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned in the three or four times I’ve done this so far. More than that, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it. It felt completely liberating– like I had a powerful secret that brings joy and relief and the secular world doesn’t yet know about it. Plus, everyone is welcome to turn off their phone regardless of their religious practices!
Here are some things I think I gain when I lose technology for 24 hours.
Yep, you heard me right. Boredom.
Can you even imagine the thought of just sitting on your couch with NOTHING to do? No phone to look at, no computer to work on, no TV to watch. I couldn’t imagine this scene until I did it. So I just sat. And looked around. And reflected.
When I got bored of that, I decided to explore my apartment and find things that brought me joy. I played fetch with my dog. I dug out some adult coloring books. I looked through old pictures. I wrote my fiancé a hand-written letter. I took a bubble bath.
I wouldn’t have done ANY of those things had I not given myself the opportunity to be bored.
Have you ever walked around your neighborhood without looking down at your phone a single time? Do you know that a new Asian restaurant opened up three minutes from my house and I had NO idea because I hadn’t looked up in weeks? Yup. True story.
You would be amazed at all that you notice when you actually look around.
Do you know how much more enjoyable I am to be around when there’s not a phone in front of my face? I think my fiancé would answer that by saying, “a lot.” Being present is so critically important in all relationships. Whether you’re spending time with your friends, family, significant others or even Uber drivers– putting your phone down makes you more open to both hearing and actually listening. And in my opinion, there’s nothing that says “I’m not interested in what you’re saying,” than having your eyes glued to a screen.
I have no doubt that the more time I spend on social media, the sadder and emptier I feel. It sounds dark, especially given that I work in social media, but scrolling through newsfeeds can make me depressed– especially now. Between all of the horrific things happening in this world (please don’t get me started on our president-elect), and the picture perfect picture world that celebrities and bloggers paint, I rarely feel good when I log off. By the time Friday rolls around, a break from the noise is exactly what I need.
Have you considered trying a 24-hour technology break? I highly recommend it!
P.S. I hosted a completely vegan OneTable Shabbat I hosted this past Friday and my phone was off the entire time. In the midst of great company and delicious food, I didn’t miss it for a second. More on this Shabbat dinner later!