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?