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Hack Your Week: Spend Saturdays Offline

Hack Your Week: Spend Saturdays Offline

    A lot of us spend a lot of time online every…single…day. Whether you’re actively surfing the Internet or have your email program actively checking in the background, you’re online. Even with notifications off and doing all you can to avoid multitasking, you’re probably still connected to the online world. And you’re doing this daily.

    Why not take a day off?

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    I’ve written about starting your week early (as compared to most others) by working on Sundays, and I’ve also touched on how I am unconventional in my starting of a new year by waiting until February. So I’m sure you’re not surprised when I tell you that I have started to take Saturdays off. Completely off. I steer clear of Facebook, I go tweetless on Twitter and my inbox fills up.

    And I’m loving it.

    So how can someone who makes their living working as an online writer and editor manage to completely disconnect from his devices one day each and every week? Because I make the effort to do so. Don’t get me wrong…it wasn’t easy to start doing this, but once I got used to it then I knew it was absolutely the right thing to do for myself, my family and my work.

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    Here’s how I did it.

    1. Automate

    I’m not one for automating every single service you’ve got going for you online, but I am an advocate for it when the timing is right. Going on vacation or taking time off is an ideal time to automate as much as possible. Schedule tweets with a service like CoTweet or HootSuite, set up an auto-responder for email like AwayFind, schedule your posts to go live on Saturday and write them in advance.

    There are no shortage of tools to keep up appearances during your “Saturday Sabbaticals” – you just have to take the time to put them into place. Set them up, foster the habit, and enjoy the freedom of disconnection.

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    2. Use Devices Offline

    Just because you’re not going to be spending time online on Saturdays doesn’t mean you can’t use your devices on Saturdays. As a writer, I do plenty of writing on Saturdays, but none of it gets put online on that day of the week. I also do plenty of task management and organization on Saturdays, but I don’t do any of that online.

    In fact, I’ve even gone so far as to turn both of my iOS devices on Airplane Mode to ensure that nothing gets in or out. It keeps me offline and my brain has now been trained to know that if there are any components of what I need to do that require an online connection, they wait until Sunday. That almost always results in a clear agenda for Saturdays. Which is a pretty nice agenda to have once a week.

    3. Disconnect to Reconnect

    By going offline and getting in touch with things outside of the online world, you’re actually setting yourself to up to reconnect with some the things that you may have lost touch with during the week. Planning meals for a new diet, going for a hike, reading that book you’ve been neglecting – all of those things (and more) will come to the forefront because you’ve given yourself limits as to what you’re exposed to on Saturdays.

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    It’s important to give your brain and eyes a rest from the deluge of information and tasks that come at you full force as a result of the Internet. When you stay up for days on end without sleep, you aren’t going to be good to anyone – let alone yourself. Think of staying online 7 days a week in a similar fashion. You need to take a break from it, and it’s that disconnection that will allow you to come back fresh and focused the next time you go online.

    Switch Off to Power Up

    It’s not impossible to stay completely offline on Saturdays. You just need to want to do it for your own well-being so that you can set yourself up for success.

    When you automate what you need to have going on during Saturdays, you give yourself the peace of mind to enjoy the day. When you don’t restrict the full use of your devices that can access the online world, but flick the switch to keep them offline, you’re not punishing yourself so that you can’t work on that book or tidy up that desktop. When you disconnect fully, you refresh yourself so that you can back at full strength when you connect again.

    But the biggest benefit of spending your Saturdays offline, is that you stand to improve your life as a whole – both online and off.

    (Photo credit: Offline Beauty Woman via Shutterstock)

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    Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

    Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

    There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

    “For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

    Primal Therapy

    Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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    How it Started

    “During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

    It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

    “I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

    Delving deeper

    Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

    Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

    Some Methods To Practice Screaming

    If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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    • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
    • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
    • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
    • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

    After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

    Scream Sing

    Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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    • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
    • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
    • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
    • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
    • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
    • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
    • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

    If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

    Scream into a pillow

    Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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    Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

    Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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