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No, you didn’t misread the title. I went without screens for 24 hours. Why?

I’m a super spiritual, monk-like, transcendant guru who wanted the discipline of no screens. NOT!

I had been having some weird neurological symptoms and my naturopath was treating me for electromagnetic radiation. The stuff electronics emit.

I consider myself to be less addicted than most people. Ironically, most other people probably feel the same way. And I’m definitely less addicted than my son who screams in fury when I take the iPad away.

I mean 24 hours…not a big deal, right?

Right.

I had left my children with a babysitter while I underwent my treatment.

As soon as my appointment was done, I wanted to check my phone to see if the babysitter had tried to get ahold of me. I asked the office staff to check my phone for me. I know, cheating.

Before I left the appointment my husband called and I had the staff answer it. He just called to say he loved me, he just called to say how much he cared…

Driving home, I realized it was my sister-in-law’s birthday and I had told her I would call her later that day. I would need to have my children call and speak via the speaker phone from a distance. This was proving difficult and it had been less than an hour.

Once I put the kids down, I felt the itch. I wanted to check Facebook, email and watch dumb cat videos.

I faced a horrific question:

What should I do that didn’t involve a screen?

I couldn’t even blog or call anyone! *Hands up in frustration*

Hmm…maybe I could clean, read a book, talk to my spouse, sleep or even be bored.

Recently, there have been a lot of articles about how boredom can lead to creativity. I wonder if the Michelangelo’s and Leonardo Da Vinci’s of the world would have been as prolific if they had computers and iPads.

To not be preoccupied every second of the day felt really weird, but somehow freeing.

After setting my alarm clock (those still exist), I went to bed at a reasonable hour.

As soon as I woke up I felt the itch again. The itch to look at my phone first thing in the morning.

How many likes had I gotten? How many texts had I gotten overnight? How many marketing emails for me to scroll past? Had my “friends” gone on a trip to Europe again?

As is the case every morning, my kids tackle me, usually when sleeping. I was able to focus more fully on them as I didn’t have the lingering need to check my phone.

I decided to leave my phone at home for the day. Can you imagine purposely leaving your phone at home?

What happened?

I was engaged and present in conversations and to the world around me. When I was bored I pulled my book out of my purse or daydreamed.

It’s strange how I’ve come to feel like a loser if people don’t see me doing something. It was a little awkward at first, but I was okay with people watching me just be and not with my face in my phone.

Does this mean I’m giving up my phone completely to do yoga on a Tibetan mountain top? I wish, but in my world a phone is required. I’ve realized though screens don’t need to rule my day and interactions.

I can leave it in another room while I play with my kids, I can use an alarm clock in the morning instead of my phone and I can read physical books instead of having another excuse to be glued to my phone.

How do screens affect your life? How do you find balance?