5 Easy Steps to Taking a Tech Break

How to turn off your devices and party like it’s 1982.

A secular sabbath is time away from your devices. It can be any day of the week, just whatever works for you. 

Photo by Fabrice Lerouge/Getty Images

This story from the YES! Media archives was originally published in the Winter 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. 

If you want to implement 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 as a “computer turnoff” 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 nontechnical 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—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

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 might 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. Rediscovering a favorite hobby. All of these are benefits that go along with creating balance in your life.