Do you or your family practice a Screen Sabbath at all during the week? I asked this question on Instagram the other day, but because I am going to talk more about at length it in this space, I thought Wellbeing Wednesdays would be an ideal place to start. To me, wellbeing is about intentional wellness + the tender nurturing all parts of ourselves, not just the physical, but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual components that make up who we are as complex human beings. This going to be our Wednesday rhythm on Homesong – think self-care, immune boosting recipes, reflective poetry, naturally made products for body care, digital detoxes, inward healing, and outward balance. I feel called to dig into this topic in my life personally, and hope you find it meaningful.
For one month now, the five of us have been holding space for the mindful practice of slowing down and unplugging from screens one evening a week for undistracted togetherness and connection. It doesn’t sound like much, how can one evening even make a difference? But it has.
One evening a week (and as much as possible during that particular day!) we have chosen to look at and engage with something other than a screen. Again, it sounds so simple – one day/evening, but simple isn’t always easy. Instead of a show in the morning, we’ve chosen books or games. Instead of scrolling during nap time, I have made supper early or have done a yoga session in the loft. Instead of unwinding in front of a series at the end of the day, we’ve chosen conversation over candlelight or calming tea with something to make or read. Instead of taking photos and texting on group threads when I have a moment to myself, I’ve chosen to put the phone on airplane mode and leave emails and such for another day to do something that fills up my cup outside of media and shared information.
Boundaries are shifting and the seeds of slowness and simplicity at home have been replanted.
Outside of work necessities and usage of helpful technology that doesn’t distract (music playlists, for example) we choose analog over digital that day if we can, when we’re able. I’ve even decided to go as far as make the desk in our loft an “analog space” meaning there is only reading and writing there – old school style. I have found that it opens me up to another way of thinking that I cannot tap into when with a screen. Have you ever found this to be true?
Andrew and I have decided to do a Screen Sabbath not because we have to, but because we want to see if this way of living offers our family more life, positive energy, and harmony at home and in other areas of our lives. Both Andrew and I spend a fair amount of time each day looking at screens, and we really want to be more intentional when it comes to protecting the sacred time we have with our family at home. I am not knocking TV, movies, or even Instagram for that matter! In fact, Andrew and I just watched the entire series Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat on Netlifx this weekend and had the best conversations during and after each episode. Andrew now wants to cook more! And he wants to learn how to smoke meats! What. Is. Happening. There is good media out there, you just have to be mindful about:
- What you chose to look at on a screen (does it align with your values and what you stand for?)
- And for how long.
It takes intention, presence, and self-control. It’s hard because screens are addicting, and they are only continuing to be designed that way. As we continue this practice, I hope to share more with you about how less screen time can bring about more connection and togetherness. In the meantime, here are a few ideas of things you can do at home instead of ending your day in front of a screen:
- Having a candle-lit evening with tea and stories.
- Going for a walk to collect nature to bring indoors.
- Making bread together.
- Reading a book and helping your kids put on a mini theatre.
- Listening to music and drawing as a family.
- Playing board games.
- Doing massage night where everyone gets back rubs.
- Playing musical instruments together.
- Reading out loud to one another after the kids go to bed.
- Writing out your goals for the rest of the year and sharing them with your partner.
- Journaling about something that’s heavy on your heart.
- Reading a chapter in your book.
- Doing a yoga or stretching session by candlelight.
- Lighting incense and practicing stillness and deep breathing.
- Going to bed early!
If you’ve been feeling the tug to do something like this for your crew, go for it. You’ll be rewarded in so many ways, many of which will be unexpected and very fulfilling. xx
Mariëtte - It so happened to be that I haven’t watched TV all week, this week. Normally we just don’t watch TV on Sundays. I watch screens all day during worktime, so I don’t like computertime at home at all.
Anyway, I finally find the time to read, to sketch or to make a quilt. And while you’re doing this things, you’ll get more energy too. I love it and I look forward to those warm cosy winternights with candlelight.
Warm greetings from the Netherlands!
admin - Mariëtte, I love that you don’t do computer screens at home! My husband and I were just chatting last night how we could make that more of an option for us too, to further protect this sacred space of ours from distraction. It’s a hard balance, but worth pursuing. Thank you for sharing and greetings from the Midwest! xx Amanda
Lauren - Yes! Just started this rhythm for Sundays this past month, so far just for myself. One of the surprise benefits has been how much open-ended thinking I get to do, and how much more time it occurs to me to pray for others outside of my own home. The more I’m away from screens, the more I look forward to the next break from them.
I have loved reconnecting with analog options. I wish I chose them without being bounded in, but I just realistically have not done that. Books over digital reading, records over online streaming, knitting over vegging in front of the TV. It’s given me a different kind of appetite.