I was excited to practice unplugging during the week of Thanksgiving. The idea of media taking over our free time has been a topic that I have been thinking about a lot. Since I have been teaching full time and starting graduate school, I rarely have time to scroll through my phone. Yet, I find myself grabbing for my phone as soon as I do not have a paper in front of me to grade or an assignment to create. This creates very little peace and quiet in my life. I am constantly working towards the next thing on my to do list or filling my free time with mindless information on my phone. Where was there time with face to face communication with people I loved, or even just a time for my brain to day dream? This is where unplugging saved me.
The first goal that I wanted to make for myself was unplugging before and after sleep. This is a key time where I find myself reaching for my phone to update on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram or texts that I cannot get to during my school day. I really would like to focus this time away from the blinding light of my phone and take time to reflect or spend time with my fiance. I have read articles about how this light before bed or in the morning can really play with your sleep patterns. Sleeping is not my problem, since I am usually in a state of exhaustion, but I think just the way my mind wanders before and after sleep is affected by what I am viewing in the media during this mindless scrolling. For example: I find myself having nightmares about Donald Trump becoming president after reading a Twitter article update. The past week, I made sure to put away my phone and it was really nice! An hour before bed I either watched TV (this is a rare activity for me!) or flipped through a magazine, and took time to read a book I have not been able to pick up since last summer! The morning was relaxing. I spent time drinking coffee, watching the news, and going through a quick sun salutation to start my day. To be honest, at first I could not keep my phone down for the full hour. Yet, when I was home in New York later in the week, it was easier to break the habit. I plan to try to incorporate this more into my daily routine.
The time that I spent on Thanksgiving unplugged was nice. I will be honest, I did not spend the whole day unplugged, but most of the time I was home visiting with family I was mindful to keep my phone away from me. I became more aware at how much others around me were on their phone. Whether I was with friends or family, I noticed conversations were being lost when they got out their phone during a chat. Although, there were also times where a phone was helpful. Times where we were wondering about where to go to eat, where that store was in the plaza, or what time the movie we wanted to see was, we just immediately went to our phone. It has become such habit, that I never thought of it is a tool that I needed in these situations. I think that this time without my phone has allowed me to realize how reliant I am with it, and ways that I can try to be without it moving on.