By Tamela Hancock Murray
Of late, several popular Christian and secular bloggers have posted about unplugging for a time. I have enjoyed reading their ideas because I realize the importance of rebooting every once in awhile.
Years ago I read an article that said if being laid up with a broken ankle for six weeks sounded good to you, then you are too stressed out. At that moment, I knew I had to change my life. And I did.
Today, my work doesn’t feel like work to me. I greet each day eager to see what each email will bring. Nor do I dread vacations, because I love spending time with my husband and family. But since vacations are brief and rare, I try to unplug a little each day. I don’t say my ideas and routines are perfect, nor will they work for everyone. They are a mix of determination and time management:
Protect your time with the Lord.
I have a place set aside in a room where I cannot see a clock. I read the Bible, and keep on hand a book of my choice that I find challenging and edifying enough that I look forward to reading it. I have just started a book on personal godliness by Puritan writer John Owen, edited by James Houston (acquired by Steve Laube when he was an editor at Bethany House Publishers). When I’m too busy, it’s tempting to make this time quick. To force myself to slow down, I light a candle and say special prayers, including the Jesus Prayer, which is, Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I also say the Lord’s prayer, The Apostle’s Creed, sometimes other prayers, and my own prayers.
Protect your leisure time with your husband and family.
You’ve read that you should make a date with your husband each week. I say make a date with him each night by putting aside quality time for each other. On a related note, make a few minutes for your children each day as well. Sit down to dinner every evening. Yes, this can be a challenge with active kids and teens. But our family has always made this a consistent practice as much as possible. We enjoy those precious times of conversation and interaction.
Protect your weekends.
I usually engage very little with email on Saturdays. I have budgeted that day for routine errands. By the same token, I run only unusual or emergency errands on weekdays so I can concentrate on work during normal business hours. On Sundays, I try to avoid email altogether. The Lord did not make the Sabbath for Himself, but for us.
Protect your breaks during each business day.
Insist on taking a half hour for lunch. You need this break. If you are feeling stressed, take an extra break. Walk around the block or drink a cup of tea. Better to take a breather than write an email or make a phone call you later regret.
I have found that when I protect special times, I don’t feel an overarching need to unplug in a big way.
Not that I would mind the occasional trip to the mountains or beach!
What is your favorite daily way to unplug?
What is your favorite way to unplug in a big way?
My favorite way to unplug is to play with my (almost) one year old. Watching him explore the world with fearlessness and wonder never ceases to remind me about what’s really important.
When he’s in bed having a nice dinner with my husband 🙂
I pray for a modicum of moderation regarding this in my life daily… Technology is like a drug to me… I need to find a way to de-tox from it’s vice. Thank you for your words. They confirm what God has been whispering to my heart.
My family and I have just recently began to celebrate the end of each day with dinner around the table. A chance to unwind, catch up and chat. I spend an hour or so each evening reading and writing, avoiding if I can the computer, my phone and my email. I spend most mornings with Bible and for now, Streams in the Desert, in hand… The practice of stillness, waiting – it does not come easy to me.
I hadn’t considered the value of daily pauses so that I don’t feel the need to run away for a longer period. Not that retreats aren’t of value, but life also allows us the pauses between breaths and we need to take them. Good advice. Thanks.
Valuable thoughts. Thank you. Spending time with a pet is another thing that refreshes and brings me into the present moment.
I have quiet time with the Lord almost every day, but there are days when it’s shorter than I like. I also only go on-line at certain times during the day. When my family is around, I’m re-establishing the discipline of keeping my computer off. I don’t spend nearly as much time online on the weekends.
I’ve read some posts on unplugging. I’m thinking having smaller ways through each day and maybe some longer periods of time once-twice a year sound good. I appreciate your post today, Tamela!
With three kids in after school and evening activities, those hours have become akin to running a daily marathon. We still manage to sit down for dinner together–most of the time. So I thoroughly enjoy my weekends, my time for errands and family. As long as I can guard the hours when the kids are in school for writing and editing, the system works very well.
Loved your post, Tamela! I take what I call “mini-vacations” throughout the day. These are one-to-five minute breaks where I withdraw from everything around me and focus on Christ within me. I speak words of praise and worship to my Lord and tune into His Presence. This practice refreshes me and reconnects me to Him Whom I love and serve. It also keeps me focused on my reason for being and doing.
By the way, Happy Birthday! 🙂
There’s one time of day when nothing and no one vies for my attention: early morning, when much of the world is still asleep. I didn’t use to be a morning person, but now it’s a joy to rise early and start my day quietly, with just a cup of coffee, my Bible and my God (not written in order of importance 🙂 )
Patti Jo Moore
Enjoyed your post today, Tamela–a great reminder for all of us. Playing my piano and stitching my latest needlepoint project are two of my favorite ways to rejuvenate throughout the day. My kitties try to remind me to take “catnaps” once in awhile too (they demonstrate frequently). 😉 Happy Birthday today! 🙂 Since today is also my b’day, I just might give in to one of those catnaps.
Happy Birthday, Patti Jo! (And Tamela!)
Happy birthday to both of you!
Sounds like a day to unwind and be loved.
Tamela Hancock Murray
Happy birthday, Patti Jo! Since I’m commenting late in the day, I’ll say I hope you got the nap you deserve and had a great celebration!
Sometimes going to service is the only way I can really unplug. I always feel re-charged afterwards.
Thanks for your post, Tamela. I unplug daily by spending quiet time with God before doing anything else. Throughout the day I take mini-breaks. For instance, today I plan to write five or six devotions for my new book. Each time I complete one, I’ll go outside and work in my flower garden for 5-10 minutes.
Unplugging in a big way? I escape on my motorbike with my husband! Vrooom, vrooom!
Confession…I’m not very good at this.
I know in my head I need to take breaks…but there is so much to do. And I’m an achiever. A goals person. I want to milk life for all it’s worth.
But I realize that burnout can happen very quickly, and I want to avoid that.
I know it’s completely unrelated, but I love the photo you’ve included! The blue and the green are so vibrant against each other, and the woman looks enthusiastic for life. I wonder how they take such perfect pictures?
Okay, back to your post. Time with the Lord is fought for and protected in this busy household of eight. Definitely rejuvenates, even just a few verses as I walk past my open Bible. We also love to travel. I don’t have a phone with internet, so when we’re on the move in our van, all I have is my family, a book, and maybe my laptop if I want to dig it out and put its’ weight on my lap. Finally, Sunday! Not always a true cyber-Sabbath (sometimes a few minutes on FB), but always an afternoon nap. Great reminders, Tamela!
I am not always good at setting aside protected time, but boy, is it necessary for our the health of our marriages and families–and for our own well-being. I love your tips and encouragement.
Thanks for the post … and happy birthday!
Wonderful reminder of what needs to be important in our lives.
Time with God – I NEED it and find myself floundering when I don’t have it.
Time with Hubby – We both need it and find that our marriage gets hang-nails if we don’t make it a priority.
Time with kids – We have two grown children, one married and out of the house, the other on his way, and a 10-yr-old. We have Family Night every week for this reason. One of the things we do to REALLY unplug is make Pillowland. We pull all the pillows and blankets and cushions off everything that has any and throw them in a heap on the living room floor. Then we burrow or flop or jump or hug or snuggle and watch a movie or read a book or just talk. There’s something very therapeutic about being surrounded by plumpy things and the ones we love all in a big heap.
I go for a very long daily walk to rejuvenate my mind and my mood. I always start out with a prayer, and then I study everything around me – the animals, foliage, lakes, swamp, house paint colors, and other people.
Wow- this was such a good word for me today. I have so much to do between now and conference. It is always good to remember to make priorities.
Johnnie Alexander Donley
Most mornings, I sprawl out in my comfy chair with my Bible, Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, and my journal. My sweet little Papillon Rugby reclines along the back of the chair (above my head!) and looks out the living room window while I read and write and pray.
You’ve given us great ideas for rejuvenation, Tamela.
HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAYS!
Jennifer Major @Jjumping
I’d need palm fronds and a fruity drink with a mini-umbrella…and 92 SPF. Okay skip that idea.
If I’m at home, it’s all about the refinishing. It is SO cathartic!!! Give me an antique that is near death and I’ll spend hours and days bringing it back to life.
I take before, during and after pictures.
It’s like with my kids, only not.
“Here she was when she had that crack through the veneer…”
Jennifer Major @Jjumping
I love this! Such great reminders, especially after the month I’ve had. Thank you!
Great reminder ! I bless you on your birthday!!!
Tamela Hancock Murray
Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes and great ways to unplug. I have enjoyed all of your comments!
Lori Ann Freeland
Love this post. It’s hard for me to unplug. But I’m going to try harder 🙂