Do you feel ever empty by the time dinner time comes? No energy, no motivation? Earlier in the day do you, like me, have a million goals for the evening that inevitably get pushed to the next day after the sun begins to set?
I mentioned in this post that I have been struggling in the evenings. I felt too tired too engage with my family, and had made a habit of zoning out on my iPad when I ran out of energy after dinner.
I was cranky, my family was cranky, and I went to bed without accomplishing things I wanted to finish before the next day. In general, I just felt pretty badly about myself. There’s nothing wrong with having some downtime scrolling social media, but I was feeling like it was affecting my interactions with my loved ones.
So – I decided to start pretty small. I made a commitment to unplug from my devices from 6-9pm each night.
Here’s how it’s going so far:
The first night was amazing.
My family was so much more relaxed.
My house was cleaned up.
I was able to intently listen when people spoke to me.
Emma got her bath 😉 (If you read my first post, you know I let her skip the other night because I was just too tired to deal with it. #reallife.)
We spent quality time together.
When 9pm came, I didn’t even really want to use my phone because I was so tired! I fell asleep almost instantly around 10pm. That’s really unusual for me. I usually have to watch a boring Netflix documentary to fall asleep around midnight or 1am.
Studies definitively show that the lights from screens greatly interrupt sleep patterns.By eliminating screens for those hours in the evening, my body can relax and fall asleep as it naturally needs to. This, I love.
The first night, Emma still went to bed later than I wanted – but, I got some extra snuggles in, so that’s okay.
Day 2 was a little different:
The kids had church, so we were out. I did check and respond to a few texts, but that was it. Matt and I were on a Halloween costume mission – so it was sort of all business.
Day 3 was another good day.
After cleaning the kitchen and packing lunches after dinner, we played outside for a little while before getting ready for bed. It was nice to have individual quality time with both girls – however – I fell asleep while watching a YouTube video that Hannah requested (My commitment to unplug is waived if it involves quality time with my family.)
This little endeavor – so far – has helped me to be more diligent and productive earlier in the day. I’ve also made sure I have a few minutes to relax without feeling guilty. I like myself a lot more, and my kids are enjoying the family time together. Much of the impulse to “grab and scroll” has diminished.
I love technology, I love social media, I love having ways to stay in communication with those I wouldn’t otherwise have a connection. I love encouraging others on this platform. However, too much of anything can be detrimental and addicting. I will continue to be active in the online world but will adhere to boundaries to make it more purposeful.
I will not check my phone in the car. Aside from the occasional voice text or phone call – I usually don’t use my phone while driving. My kids are trained to pound the gavel on that one no matter who’s driving! It’s a recipe for disaster. I have, though, checked my phone while stopped. It’s unnecessary and still dangerous so I won’t do it. This also means keeping my phone in my purse when I’m in the passenger seat. It’s the perfect time to engage with my family and I’ve been known to check out mentally during that time.
*Reality check* Gosh, it’s REALLY hard to share my flaws with the world. I really want to delete some of it sometimes. However – it’s very personally eye-opening to be transparent. It’s painful – but it insights change – and that’s what I want.
This is a good reminder for all of us when the “sins” of others are made public. It’s so easy to judge – but imagine how it would feel if all of your hidden mistakes were made public? Let us be gentle with others and willing to admit our own faults.
So the first commitment was to:
Have a set period of “unplugged” time during the day.
The next commitment is to:
Put the phone away in the car.
I would love it if you would jump on this bandwagon with me to intentionally spend more quality time with those we love!