In my previous blog, I discussed why we need to unplug to create sacred spaces. In this blog, I want to cover how to unplug to create sacred spaces. We can do this in a number of ways, but we need to make a mindful, concerted effort to do so. We want to reap the benefits of tech without suffering too much from the many negatives that come with it. I’ve put together some suggestions that I hope that folks might find helpful.
Suggestions for How to Unplug to Create Sacred Spaces
- No tech of any kind at meals – at home or when eating out. Take that time to enjoy the food, the atmosphere, and the company of others. Turn off the cell phones and put them out of sight, for there is research to show that the mere presence of cell phones lowers the quality of social interactions.
- Put your cell away when you are driving. Put it in the trunk if you are too tempted to look at it while driving. Distracted driving greatly increases the likelihood of accidents.
- When at the gym, don’t use your phone as your music player. If you can use a dedicated music player, that is preferable.
- No electronic devices in the bathroom. It’s a bad habit – break it. For your kids, don’t let them start!
- No TVs, game systems, or computers in the bedrooms.
- Devices must be out of ALL bedrooms by a certain time of night. So, teens should NOT have their cell phones in their bedrooms past a certain time of night. Adults should abide by this rule as well though!
- Go for periodic walks throughout the day of about 5-10 minutes WITHOUT any device. Just walk, breath, listen to nature, etc.
- When spending time with friends or family, get in the habit of turning off your cell or putting it into airplane mode. Again, it is best if your cell is completely out of sight. Just seeing a phone reminds us of the millions of other things we could be doing instead of what we are doing.
- Only have one device on at a time. Thus, when watching TV, all other devices must be put away (and silenced).
- When on vacations or family outings, resist the temptation of trying to capture every moment. Perhaps get a few photos, and then put the phone away. Focus attention on experiencing each other and the reasons that you are on the vacation/outing to begin with.
- When traveling with the family, no cell phones or other devices out. This means that kids should not play games on their phones, text, or listen to headphones. Instead, talk to one another or listen to music together (as a shared experience). As Dr. Sherry Turkle describes in her book of the same name, we want to avoid being Alone Together. This also means that the spouse in the front passenger seat should not be on his/her cell during these drives either. Now, you might make exceptions to this rule for long trips, etc., but avoid providing unrestricted access to screens when driving.
- Designate certain rooms in the house as “tech free zones,” such as a reading room.
I hope some of these can help. I sure don’t want to pretend this is easy – my family struggles with tech as well, just like everyone else. But we need to make the effort – to “fight the good fight.” If you have some suggestions of your own, please submit them through this site by clicking Your Tech Tips. I’d love to hear from you!