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Try a Summertime Media Break

Over the last month, I've been able to loosen my tight hold on media for a variety of reasons. I traveled to New England and stayed with family members who don't center their days around technology. I also camped with the Caz Northwest community for four days on Puget Sound, and the natural beauty and lovely people minimized my desire to hop online or find escape through a book. I also taught an introductory class on The Artist's Way, and one of the activities from the book is a week of media deprivation. This includes books and print media, which is a lot to ask of those of us who love to read. I resisted it but did it, and I reconnected with a quieter, slower, wiser side of myself. I felt more creative and full of fresh ideas. It's summertime and the pandemic is waning, and there's no better time to experiment with a media break!

My mom doesn't spend a whole lot of time online, and she has the time and patience to paint pieces like this.

There are lots of reasons to do it:

  • You'll get back in touch with your own voice and values.

  • You'll get bored, which leaves space for imagination and creativity.

  • You'll get some peace, calmness, and clarity.

  • You'll have more time for other activities - or for real relaxation.

  • You'll come back to media and technology with more intention, rather than as the default habit.

And there are lots of ways to do it, including:

  • Go for a daily walk without your phone.

  • Start your morning with 1-2 hours of media-free time.

  • Stop using your devices after a certain point in the evening.

  • Make Sunday a digital Sabbath - no tech one day a week.

  • Take a week away from all forms of reading, digital and otherwise.

An all-ages whiffleball game at Sound View Camp on Puget Sound, Washington State.

Here are a few things you can do while you're not reading or doing the Internet:

  • Cook - for yourself or others.

  • Exercise.

  • Visit with friends in person.

  • Write a poem, a story, a song or a letter.

  • Sort closets, do home projects, or just tinker around the house.

  • Go for a hike, bike ride or drive.

  • Draw, paint, or make something with your hands.

  • Do music: listen, play, sing, dance.

  • Volunteer your time to a cause you care about.

Consider tweaking your media diet in a way that helps you feel happier and more peaceful. As much as we rely on media to stay connected, informed, and entertained, there's so much more to life! More resources on this topic: Julia Cameron's Media Deprivation Tool, from The Artist's Way Four Rules for Eliminating Distractions and Cultivating Deep Work - a summary of Cal Newport's book Deep Work The Social Dilemma, a documentary about the negative impact of social media on our mental health and our democracy Conquering Digital Distraction by Larry Rosen and Alexandra Samuel

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