Wanted (needed): sensory resets

Author hiking next to waterfallThe need for a Technology Shabbat

I was a bit late to the whole smart phone phenomenon. I got my first iPhone (4S ) in late 2012 and fell head over heels with all the apps that kept me busy: checking into 4Square; Yelping the great meal at the new neighborhood restaurant, and so on. I began using  social media apps  to market the library and also introduced Twitter to my students around that time.  After a few years,  I realized that darn phone was taking over my life and I needed to take regular breaks from it. Now, I turn off my phone every day for about an hour–usually around lunch.   On the weekends, it is off even longer, and it helps me keep my balance.  This change in my technology habits coincided with a visit to our campus by Webby Awards founder Tiffany Schlain. Below, she describes the Technology Shabbat she and her family experience every week.  I now take mini-Shabbats every week.

It’s about compartmentalizing

Heather nailed it when she described unplugging was all about compartmentalizing: when you are with family, be with family; when you are at work, concentrate on the project at hand; when you are driving, just drive. I check my social media maybe 3-5 times a day (Twitter, Instagram) and I’m OK with that.  I’m not sure others are, but so far I haven’t lost any friends and my work colleagues know they can text me if there is something urgent. If my phone is off, I guess they can come and knock on my door.  What a concept!

Sensory resets needed

When my phone is off or not on my person, I’m either in my kitchen trying out a new recipe, hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains, conversing at the local coffee shop, swimming, or reading.  In these rituals, I try to engage all five senses and my imagination. It’s about recharging some ancient human need–to engage in the world around me and observe the experience.  Corny? Yea. If I every come up with a more imaginative analogy, I’ll edit this post 🙂

4 Replies to “Wanted (needed): sensory resets”

  1. Hi Maryanne,

    I’m glad you identified with my post! Your mention of sensory resets and rituals gave me a nudge to get up and go take a walk. I can definitely identify with the need to just be present and engage the senses and could certainly use more of these moments, but I’ll take them when I can.

  2. Maryanne, thanks for sharing the video — I loved how she described the shabbot as a ritual — the candles, etc. and how you call this a “sensory reset.” Very purposeful way to get balance. Thanks. ~ Sheri

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