30 days with a screen curfew: challenges and learnings

CC image courtesy of Juan Ignacio Sánchez Lara on Flickr

CC image courtesy of Juan Ignacio Sánchez Lara on Flickr

My 30-Day Mindfulness Challenge has come to an end. This week, I'm sharing challenges and learnings from each of the three aspects of the challenge: mindful eating, morning meditation and the screen curfew. 

I work on a computer all day, I blog at night and I am a daily consumer of cable television. Add my iPhone addiction in the mix and I am a screen junkie. As a part of this mindfulness challenge, I made an effort to reduce my screen time by giving it a 9:00 p.m. curfew.

Here are the challenges I faced and lessons I learned along the way.

Overcoming the Challenges

Challenge 1: OITNB

"Orange is the New Black" is one of my favorite TV shows, and of course the new season came out during this challenge. This show is hard to stop watching, and the 9:00 p.m. curfew did extend to 9:30 p.m. a couple of times. 

Challenge 2: This Blog

I really love it here. But I was in the habit of working on this blog at night ... and that involves a screen. The fix for this was pretty easy — I traded my laptop for my notebook. And I like it better, actually. The feeling of pen to paper is comforting, like pancakes with warm maple syrup for my soul. 

Challenge 3: Old Habits Die Hard

I have found that it's more difficult to kill an old habit than it is to start a new one. Starting something new is fun and exciting. Stopping something isn't exciting at all; it's just challenging. I'm thankful I had the 30-day challenge motivating me on this one, because otherwise I would have lacked the motivation to keep this curfew up.

The Learnings

Fellow screen addicts — putting your screens to bed a little earlier can be a good thing. Really. Here's what I learned after 30 days of a 9:00 p.m. screen curfew:

  • Falling asleep is easier without screens. Falling into an Internet rabbit hole was a nightly occurrence before this challenge. I also think there's some science around screen time and its inhibition on your sleep. I'm no scientist, but I can tell you that I fell asleep earlier and easier.
  • The screen will still be there tomorrow. Those emails and texts aren't as important as I used to think. They can wait until tomorrow.
  • I enjoy writing. I mean that pen-to-paper writing I mentioned earlier. When I studied creative writing in college, we almost exclusively used the old-school method. Over the last five years of being a Big Girl, I've gradually lost sight of that love. I'm happy to report that it's been rekindled. I've missed you, pen.

For those of you who joined the challenge or have a screen curfew, I'd love to hear about your challenges and learnings as well!