How to Have a Secular Sabbath

If you’re interested in implementing your own Secular Sabbath, here are some guidelines:

  • Choose your time.
    A secular sabbath is a digital day of rest. It can be any day of the week, just whatever works for you. It can be more than 24 hours—you might end up extending it to an entire weekend sometimes.

  • You make your own rules.
    That means you decide what you’ll give up. Some people forsake all technology, including phone and TV. Others use it at a “computer turn off” day. It’s up to you what you give up, but if you find yourself dreading doing without a particular thing for 24 hours, that’s probably a good sign that you need a rest from it.

  • Get to know yourself again.
    Remind yourself of the non-tech things you like to do, and do those things. That may sound strange, but for those of us who live by technology, we sometimes forget the simpler pleasures in life—going fishing, knitting, gardening, going to the dog park, having lunch with a friend. Before your secular sabbath write down some things you want to do on that day so that when the withdrawal symptoms hit, you’ll have a backup plan.

  • Expect withdrawal pains.
    One way to look at it is if you’re experiencing an intense longing for your email or IM or whatever, you’re doing the right thing by taking a day away. The symptoms will fade each week that you do this, and you may actually find yourself looking forward to your day of rest.

  • Focus on the benefits.
    A sense of inner calm. Being able to hear yourself think. Reconnecting with family, friends and nature. Rebooting a favorite hobby. All of these are benefits that go along with creating balance in your life.

Sharon Sarmiento wrote this article as part of Sustainable Happiness, the Winter 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Sharon Sarmiento is the owner of Streamline Virtual Office Solutions. Her Online Business Management practice helps manage the daily operations of online businesses and streamline processes to maximize personal and business productivity. On her blog Sharon writes about virtual entrepreneurism. Photo of Sharon Sarmiento
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