Untethering from the Electronic Leash


A few weeks ago, I unplugged. I set up an email responder, alerted my assorted colleagues and friends, and turned off my text alerts for various networks.


My husband and I packed an enormous amount of stuff, including the kids, left the powerless-after-a-big-storm house in the care of my in-laws, and drove a crazy distance to enjoy wild ponies and the beach.

It was the first time we’ve done this sort of thing.

It was also therapeutic to be offline. Not because I didn’t sneak in to see what the phone number for the local pizza place was after a long day at the beach. Not because I didn’t pop over to verify open/close times for an attraction we didn’t want to miss.

There was a freedom in not being tethered to the virtual world. No updates. No email. No feeling of something left unread.

I love the virtual conversation. I thrive on it, and I like to think I partake in some moderation. I feel supported and encouraged by my online community, and I value that a great deal.

But, as with anything, a break can be refreshing–even if it does involve more sand than I ever thought possible, cranky car-worn kids, and junk food to the extreme.

My inbox didn’t implode from the weight of the incoming email. My feed reader didn’t reach out and smack me when I marked all as read. The Twitterstream was still sailing along smoothly and I was able to jump right back in.

I came back to my online life ready to take things on. I was rested, and that’s a feeling I could probably use more of.

Have you gone offline this summer? What was the best (or worst) part of it?

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Copyright 2012 Sarah Reinhard


About Author

When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.


  1. You went to Chincoteague?? Lucky.

    Funny story: I went off to a different state park full of wild horses (Grayson Highlands in SW VA), unplugged, and packed along a couple books. It was the break I needed. Now back to civilization, it’s much easier to set some boundaries on my computer usage, and not miss it during “off” hours.

    I don’t know if the horses are a necessary ingredient or not, though. Can’t hurt to try. :-).

    • I think that YES, Jen, HORSES HELP A LOT! 🙂

      Unplugging does seem to help distance me from the screen rage and the “need for screen” I seem to have… Hmm.

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