Have a Weekly Electronics Free Day

Photo and article by Rain San Martin

The human body needs a break from the digital and electronic realm for renewal.  Extended internet use has been shown to rewire the brain.  When you unplug for a 24 hour period you will restore some of the rewiring that your brain has undergone due to continual interruptions. By implementing this discipline you will clear your mind, feel renewed and allow room for your thoughts to roam free.

Tools you’ll need:

  • Journal, notebooks.
  • Old fashioned yellow-pages phone-book, so you are not tempted to turn on the internet to fetch a phone number.
  • Physical magazines and books, the library offers all you need in this department. I have a subscription to “Fast Company” magazine, the highest quality reading I’ve observed in a publication and sharply cutting edge, “Keyboard”, and a gift subscription to “MidWest Living” (lovely travel magazine).  Occasionally I use the Barnes and Nobles Nook as it functions like a regular hard copy book with the internet connection being optional. The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite could fulfill this function as well.
  • If you have a phone data plan and access the net with your smart phone consider turning off your phone temporarily. Having a basic cell phone has it’s advantages in this area,  there is no temptation to walk around while texting or view reality through the prism of  interactive Google maps overlays.
  • Board games, sports
  • Art supplies
  • Walking shoes, backpack, bikes

Good for Kids

Having a weekly electronics free day teaches kids not to rely on entertainment devices. Kids will benefit tremendously when they observe you living your life fully in the moment rather than looking down at your smart phone. Each family will need to decide their personal rules. For me this means no computing, internet, video or radio. One way to intensify this discipline would be to employ the use of candlelight, going before the age of electricity, another life experiment in itself!

Practical Implementation

The best time to practice this discipline is when you are not required to use computing devices due to work which may require you to wait until your off hours. Perhaps your family does not practice this ritual yet you can:

  • abstain from the internet
  • tune out background sounds, if living with a noisy family
  • read print publications such as magazines or books from the library

If doing this discipline for one whole day is impractical chunk out massive slots of time throughout the week for the media fast. Rather than relax you may want to use this day to organize, perform household projects, clean or do other work related tasks which do not depend on an internet connection.

When you clear the atmosphere of this continual chatter you will notice the sounds all around you. In the summer of a suburban neighborhood notice the ambient sounds of birds, wind rustling through leaves, lawn mowers, distant conversations, and child’s play. For motivation read biographies of those who lived before the age of television, radio and computing, pre 20th century. Learn how to live outside of the matrix.

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