Turn it OFF!!

*Screen time is time spent watching TV, using the computer, and cell phone. 

*Research shows that the average household has more televisions than people and has them on for more than 8 hours per day.

*Adults average about 8.5 hours of screen time per day.

*Aim for no more than 2 hours of screen time per day outside of work.

Image from Shel Silverstein’s poem “Jimmy Jet and His TV Set

Back in the early 2000s, we would sponsor something called “TV turn-off” at the school where I taught. We would encourage families to commit to one week where households wouldn’t turn on their TVs. Probably 20% of the families participated or tried to anyway.

Once cell phones became ubiquitous,…no more tv turn-off challenges.

Another challenge that I myself participated in was back in 1993. I participated in a creativity workshop based on the work of Julia Cameron who wrote the book The Artist’s WayEach week we worked through a chapter in the book and learned a new skill (yoga sun salutations, silk scar dying, vision boards…). For one week our challenge was to refrain from any media. Not just tv, but reading books or magazines. This caused quite a bit of drama for many. People wanted to read before bed, to learn about the world through the newspaper, and “learn stuff”.

Most recently, during my yoga teacher training, we were once again challenged to refrain from tv., Facebook, reading, social media, and even listening to music on the radio, news, audiobooks, and podcasts. We were not to consume ANY media outside of work for pleasure while relaxing, driving, or exercising.

WHY? You are probably asking. The answer is…buffering. We are so used to being entertained. This entertainment stimulates our brain and senses and gives us the idea of “accomplishment” by spending our time passively taking in media. I wrote about this topic before on the blog (you can find it here). 

But in reality, we are simply consuming. Others are creating and presenting ideas, images, and value to the world. We are simply taking it in. This consumption takes time and energy. Time that could be used to cook and share our own ideas and vision. It uses up the energy that is needed to write and think and draw and imagine. 

Few people are willing to challenge themselves to limit their personal screen time. Even fewer are willing to regularly give up creative consumption for creative expression. 

I know sometimes we are able to look at a challenge like giving up screens because we believe it is good for kids. There is now a new challenge that families and schools are participating in called “Screen-Free” week 2022. But I’m suggesting that you CHALLENGE YOURSELF! 

Are you using screen time as a buffer to numb your brain and soul?

How are you tricking yourself into believing that the time you are spending in front of a screen is “something you deserve”?

Is time in front of a screen the best way to bond with your significant other? 

Is it really what your body “needs” to relax?

So many say that they are committed to living a healthy lifestyle. People say they want to live life to the fullest…But are we actually doing the things we say we believe in? 

Who is Lisa


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