Conscious Cat Sunday: A (Mostly) Unplugged Weekend

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There’s no doubt that technology is awesome.I wouldn’t want to imagine my life without it. From connecting with friends near and far via email and social media to shopping, technology has become as much a part of my every day life as breathing and eating. But of course, as with so many things in life, there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. And while it sounds easy to say “I’m going to unplug for the weekend,” the reality, at least for me, has been that no matter how hard I try, I find it quite challenging.

I love being self-employed, and I happily pay the price for the freedom being my own boss brings, which is that you essentially never get a day off. I love what I do, so for me, work and non-work often blends together. But more and more, I’m also realizing that I need to step back from everything on a regular basis. Even when I’m not working, it’s just too tempting to “check Facebook just for a minute.” Next thing I know, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole and it’s an hour later. And that’s not good for my mental health.

So when friends invited me to their lovely weekend house this past weekend, I was determined to unplug. My friends’ house is surrounded by trees, with a view of the river. The only sounds you hear there are the wind in the trees and the sounds of birds and other wild critters. There is cell phone reception, but no Wifi.

It was weird to pack without taking my laptop, iPad and assorted chargers. I only took my phone, and my Kindle.

I checked my email once on Friday evening. I woke up just before sunrise Saturday morning, and briefly checked email. I started to check in on Facebook, and then realized how crazy that was. There was a beautiful sunrise outside, just waiting to be appreciated. What was I doing staring at my phone? I grabbed a cup of coffee (my hosts were still sleeping, but had thoughtfully primed the coffee maker for their early riser guest) and headed outside. I spent the next hour on the patio, watching the sun rise over the river between the trees. I marveled at the way the light changed from one minute to the next. Assorted critters stopped by to forage for their breakfast. I felt a sense of peace unlike anything I’ve felt in a long time.

river-sunrise

For the rest of the weekend, I didn’t touch my phone except to read the texts from my cat sitter, letting me know how the girls were doing, or to take photos. I didn’t check email, I didn’t check Facebook, I didn’t even check comments here on the site (my apologies to anyone whose comments weren’t answered until Monday morning.) I admit I felt a little twitchy at times throughout the day on Saturday at the thought of what might be happening online that I might be missing, but by Sunday, I didn’t give being unplugged another thought and just enjoyed my time with my friends, the beautiful scenery, and the joy of doing absolutely nothing.

Ruby-you're-not-my-mom

“You’re not my mom!” My cat sitter texted me this slightly blurry photo of Ruby expressing her displeasure at me being gone for the weekend.

I came home Sunday evening, refreshed and relaxed. I was tempted to check on everything online that evening, but decided that everything could wait until Monday morning. I spent the evening snuggling with Allegra and Ruby, who were happy to have me home.

And you know what? Everything was still there. My business hadn’t imploded. World news was still bad (one of the best things about the weekend was that I never once checked any news sites.) I don’t think I missed anything important on Facebook, and if I did, I’m sure I’ll eventually find out about it.

I’m going to make a real effort to find a way to unplug more even when I’m home, in my normal routine. Maybe I won’t unplug every weekend, but maybe unplugging for an entire day on Sunday might not be such a bad idea. And when I need a little reminder of why unplugging is so good for the soul, I’ll go to my friends’ weekend house in my mind to help me recapture the memory of how peaceful being truly present without electronics feels like.

How about you? Do you unplug on a regular basis, or do you find it difficult?

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16 Comments on Conscious Cat Sunday: A (Mostly) Unplugged Weekend

  1. David
    July 11, 2017 at 12:24 am (2 weeks ago)

    What a great read! It reverberated with me, being self-employed (and a technology lover!). It can be so difficult to switch off and unplug, when we are always surrounded by technology. Any social media can be a huge time waster! I try to avoid it by going for a walk 🙂

    Reply
  2. Mwela Hillary
    June 30, 2017 at 5:45 am (4 weeks ago)

    Getting close to nature is always good for the soul

    Reply
  3. Allison
    June 26, 2017 at 4:35 pm (4 weeks ago)

    The internet changed my volunteer life and for that I’m grateful. But I can also easily become addicted to checking it. That’s why about a year I started trying to unplug once a week, most often on Sundays. I’ve also tried restricting check-in times. Some weeks works and I find the experience helps center me. Other weeks…. well, it can be tough. But I keep trying, because I agree with you that unplugging is very good for the health.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 27, 2017 at 5:45 am (4 weeks ago)

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who finds unplugging challenging, Allison. I’m experimenting with restricting check-in times as well.

      Reply
  4. Patricia Pond
    June 26, 2017 at 3:13 am (1 month ago)

    I unplug on a regular basis, at least one to two days a week. It’s good for my mental and physical health (hours online makes my shoulders ache and I feel guilty for ignoring my cats). It was a bit difficult in the beginning, but after realizing the positive results of a no tech day, I no longer struggle. Good on you to unplug!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 26, 2017 at 5:26 am (1 month ago)

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Patricia – it makes me more determined to keep striving toward a no tech day at least one day a week.

      Reply
  5. Patti Zentara
    June 25, 2017 at 4:24 pm (1 month ago)

    Thank you. There actually was life before
    technology.)) also, technology pollutes our
    homes and invades our bodies plus our animals. It’s a high price to pay for
    convenience.
    Those who wish to know more, please
    check out http://www.electricsense.com
    Have a great Sunday.
    The more you use technology you may be endangering your life. The less you use it -~the better. Live long and prosper.

    Reply
  6. Georgia Evans
    June 25, 2017 at 4:10 pm (1 month ago)

    Getting close to nature is always good for the soul. And when I unplug for a while I seem to have so much more time! This reminds me that I should do it more often.

    Reply
  7. Agatha
    June 25, 2017 at 10:25 am (1 month ago)

    Such a beautiful picture of the sun through the trees. Love the picture of Ruby looking suspiciously at the cat sitter too :-). I am going to be leaving on a trip to NYC soon and have been debating on if I should or should not take my laptop. Thanks for this article; I think you’ve helped me make my decision.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 26, 2017 at 5:28 am (1 month ago)

      Let me know how you did without your laptop, Agatha!

      Reply
  8. NANCY FAULKNER
    June 25, 2017 at 8:06 am (1 month ago)

    Ingrid,

    It is good to break from routine. Sounds like you had a relaxing and well deserved rest.

    Now….. you have to make up to the girls for your rest. Have you ever taken the girls with you on a vacation? Or are they not good travelers?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 26, 2017 at 5:29 am (1 month ago)

      The only time the girls have ever left the house was when they had to have dental surgeries, Nancy. Our regular vet comes to the house. I doubt that they’d be good travelers!

      Reply
  9. Janine
    June 25, 2017 at 8:04 am (1 month ago)

    I keep saying I am going to take days off, but it is hard to do.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 26, 2017 at 5:29 am (1 month ago)

      It is hard, isn’t it!

      Reply
  10. Sue Brandes
    June 25, 2017 at 6:39 am (1 month ago)

    Enjoy your Sunday.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 26, 2017 at 5:30 am (1 month ago)

      Thanks, Sue! I hope you had a great Sunday.

      Reply

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