The author says that after an episode of seizure & fainting in 2019 she decided to slow down her life. She reduced her phone usage but inspite of that the stats on her phone told her that her weekly usage time wasn’t coming down: “I turned off my notifications years ago; my phone doesn’t join me in bed, and it’s easy for me to spend time doing things that don’t involve any technology.
Despite all of this, I’d always be a bit shocked at my Weekly Report of screen time. My phone usage seemed to be made up of a lot of micro moments, small chunks of time on my phone spread out over the course of the day.”
The author then cites stats for Americans’ screen time: “For people with children, 56% of parents report spending too much time on their phones and 71% of adults are concerned their kids are spending too much time in front of screens. So why not set the example, and the practice of going screenless? Even Bill Gates and Steve Jobs limited their kids’ screen time. Do it together with everyone and practice a family ritual, as research shows that family rituals are associated with marital satisfaction, adolescents’ sense of personal identity, children’s health, academic achievement, and stronger family relationships.”
So the author decided that every Sunday she would avoid screens of all sorts. “Rather, I sat and observed myself and the world and people around me. If I was planning to go anywhere on Sunday, I’d make sure to look up directions on Saturday, or else on Sunday, I’d do the unheard of: ask someone for directions. Without my digital friends, Google and Siri, I struck up conversations with people nearby—at the park, subway, cafes, yoga studio….
The hardest Sundays were the ones when I didn’t leave my apartment or block. Isolated in my one-bedroom apartment without use of my phone or TV to connect me to anyone else. Those days became the days where I was really forced to be friends with myself. I asked myself questions. I looked to myself for entertainment. I did art projects, wrote handwritten letters, cooked food, read books, cleaned my apartment, practiced yoga, and sometimes, I just sat looking out my window or walked alone at the park across the street…”
So what are the benefits of going screenless on Sundays? Here is the author’s view: “I noticed that on “Screenless Sundays” I feel connected, calm, joyful, grounded, rested, and energized. Those are all things I want to feel during the pandemic, and I got them without a screen…
I feel less lonely. I feel more connected to myself and others. My relationship with myself has improved. Daily journaling (and extensive journaling on Sundays), about my life, my feelings, my fears, my dreams, has all fueled self-awareness that improved my relationships and my work. I’ve made intentional decisions about my work and life, rather than reactive decisions based on whatever the world on the screen is influencing. I’m also feeling healthier, too, and haven’t fainted again (knock on wood).
I sleep better. Previously there were nights I wouldn’t fall asleep until 4 a.m. Now, I’m out by 11 p.m….
I am more focused. I’ve completed several projects that I’ve been wanting to complete. When the work week starts and I’m back on screens, I am able to shut off the screen distractions. If I can go an entire day without using Instagram…Screenless Sundays have helped me feel more creative, too.”

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