Donna Ryan

A Break Day From Screens

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Televisions, laptop, cellphone and my kindle.  I think I spend way too much time looking into them.  Last week I decided to take an entire break from all screens.

I waited for Kevin to leave for work on that determined morning and turned off the television, and shut down my telephone and computer.  I actually read inspirational books versus the many I have downloaded on my kindle and then began my daily routine.  I hate to admit but things got done much faster without the distraction of the bings and bangs of my cellphone announcing an email, text or social media comment.

OK.   Now what?  This is usually the time I begin picking up a screen.

I convinced myself my kindle was not technically a screen but immediately felt guilty as I know of course it is.   I was getting ready to shut it off when I  noticed a meditation app I installed months ago but told myself I was too busy to try.  I clicked the button and followed the instructions of getting comfortable.   It took me a while to ignore the car horns and traffic outside but I slowly felt myself relaxing.  The session mentioned the way we spend our time was a reflection of what is going on in our lives.

What a perfect message to receive on my break from screens.

I enjoyed the remainder of my day and took my dog for a nice walk, phone visited with a few friends versus my normal texting and emails and made dinner and before I knew it Kevin was home.

I have to admit I did smile when I turned the devices on the next morning to see a few missed calls and texts.   I realized I need to use them in a healthier way as they for me are bad habits.

I revisited the meditation app and more questions were asked during the ten minute relaxation sessions.  The lightbulb went off for me when the the one asking how much time I spent trying to resist pain?

The answer I was so happy to say was not as often!!

I have found for me that I made it a habit to always be on the go, moving, doing; I lived a lifetime of attempting to distract myself from dealing with emotions but honestly resisting only causes discomfort.  I was doing the same routines on a daily basis but was frustrated I was not getting a new result.

My screens gave me comfort and uplifted spirits.  Many people say that cyber friends are not real.  I beg to differ.  Through the years I have experienced fantastic conversations with like minded women who share my interests.  We have not actually met but we encourage each other on a daily basis.  I have received countless messages of comfort and emails with words just checking your OK if I shut down for a few days.  Those words meant a lot to me!!

I was reading an article this morning that mentioned people who have strong ties with family, friends and coworkers have a 50 percent greater chance of living longer than those with less social interactions.  I have to say that is true because once I began telling the story through the screen my strength muscles  began developing.   If I can feel this great through my screen I am now ready to continue the momentum.

All it takes is one fearful step to change and little by little the courage comes to take larger steps.  I heard that line for years but once I finally was ready to shut down and feel the emotions from inside I no longer need all the noise.

I now remove social media from my cellphone every few days.  (Don’t get nervous you can do it too; it is real easy to re-install!!).  I get way too hooked and distracted.  I know it may not look like it to my friends but I really am making an effort to put it down more often and enjoy the company I am with.  Just last night I attended a beautiful dinner dance and did not even bring my phone and I literally laughed, sang and danced the night away.  I enjoyed a beautiful Saturday with Kevin today shopping, running errands and no phone.  I am learning to enjoy the moment more often.

Some find my meditation habit funny but in honestly I went for my yearly physical a few weeks ago and my blood pressure was better than it ever has been in my life.

Eckhart Tolle wrote the quote ” Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside.  If you get the inside right the outside will fall into place.”

There are times I felt the need to share all of the outer happenings as I needed the thumbs up to feel confident and loved.  I think many of us have gadgets in our hands as it is easier to deal with the noise than the emotions inside of us.   I no longer resist the pain.  I allow myself a few minutes for tears every single day.  I dust off the picture and I pray on a daily basis that the family struggle will one day heal.  I then begin toning my strength muscles and get on with the day.

I now take more breaks from my screens on a daily basis.  I learned I have no regrets on my life as I once have had and actually sure as heck wish I began the journey of healing sooner.  I will never forget all the love I received from my screens and will never give them up.  Where else can I make a phone call to a love one in another state and see their faces while chatting?  I have things to learn and try, shows I want to see, friends I hope to keep in touch with for many years to come.  My tote bag is going to be way lighter when I board the plane for Atlanta in three weeks having all my favorite reads on my kindle.  Screens when used in a balanced and healthy way are wonderful!

We all need friends, encouragement, love and the feeling of acceptance.  My hope is to pay it forward as I was encouraged by so many thanks to screens.  We all face forks in our roads of life and many people get comfort from screens.  Sometimes it is easier to communicate with the glow of a screen as it does not judge us.

It is necessary to get out and keep busy as well and for me daily visits of quiet and feeling the emotions inside are the true way of finding happiness.  Noise is just a Band-Aid.

I love writing, sharing and posting things and I will continue to do so.  Just today I received a social media comment on a post I wrote saying thanks for the inspiration and the reminder to be healthier both in mind, body and spirit.

That is what it is about.  Encouraging each other to be the best we can be and no matter how hard we need to enjoy life.   We need to continue to motivate each other!!!

As I turn on my tea kettle and begin my evening vacation from my screen I am so grateful.  In a few moments I will hit publish blog and then pick up my journal and pen to document today’s memory.  Dear Diary, in the past I got through my days thanks to the screens in my life, and now I shout out all the things I accomplished thanks to them.
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Editor’s Note:  Visit AFL member Donna Ryan at her website:  http://www.50plusstickingtogether.com/.  She says, “I have always thrived on inspiration. I love reading it everywhere I can find it. I am 55 and it has been a journey with many twists and turns. I invite all 50+ women to join me in discussions on this second chapter. Our road ahead is fun and exciting because these truly are the best days of our lives.”

I thrive on inspiration; I read it every day and I try to live and share it through my actions. Stepping out of our comfort zone can be very frightening. I have learned that I will never grow if I don’t face fear! I encourage all women to join me on this sometimes weird and scary adventure. Let’s discuss all sorts of things from makeup colors, to recipes, books, funny jokes and everything in between. We are on this journey together so let’s gather around and share our stories, dreams, and goals as well as happy and sad times too. You name it; we can do it! We are fifty something and these are the best days of our lives. No matter what the circumstances you are living you are only a keystroke away from friends that care! So join the circle of the 50plusstickingtogether friendship chain. Let’s keep learning, growing and inspiring each other together. It’s Never Too Late!!! Visit AFL member Donna Ryan at her website: www.50plusstickingtogether.com.

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