Do you ever get tired of facing the constant tug-of-war that exists between you and the web? High speed internet is an amazing tool that can contribute to our lives. But it’s also something that can quickly get out of hand in the home!
Several years ago, my man and I decided to live without internet for 12 months while we built the Mountain Cottage. And today, I want to share 9 lessons I learned in that time, both as refresher to myself and an inspiration to you!
Benefits of Living Without Internet
Before I get into this, I want to point out that I’m not anti-internet. At this current time, we do have high speed internet in our home.
I know from personal experience that blogging + no internet makes things very difficult. So I’ve developed ways and means of keeping things somewhat under control.
That being said, if I wasn’t into blogging, I seriously doubt we’d have internet in our home. Yes, I really do feel that strongly about it!
Let’s get into lessons I learned (and try to remain aware of today).
Lesson 1: Living Without Internet Gives You More Time in Your Day
As a homemaker, have you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? When we had high speed internet in our home, I faced this dilemma.
Where did the time go?!
When we gave up the internet, that all changed. Because I wasn’t cluttering spare moments with online activity, I discovered I actually gained about 2 hours per day. Time I could put toward resting, reading or learning new skills that could benefit my home!
What a wake up call.
Lesson 2: It Gave Me the Desire to Create with my Hands
When I gave up internet and my eyes and ears weren’t being constantly entertained, my creative side suddenly came to life. I felt like learning how to knit. I wanted to hand stitch new tea towels. My brain began engaging in a whole new way and everywhere I looked, I saw opportunities to create.
And I have to say there was something refreshing and rewarding about using my hands more often. I felt more alive as a woman and as a homemaker.
Lesson 3: No Internet Relieved the Pressure in my Mind
I never realized that having internet (and particularly apps on my phone) created a slight tension in the back of my mind. There was always a nagging sense that I should be checking the internet because…well…what if I missed something?If a blog reader left a comment? Or someone needs my help?
Slight though it was, this pressure went everywhere with me. When washing dishes, folding laundry, cooking a meal or even reading a book with my man, I felt the need to pop online and just “check on things.”
You can imagine how giving up internet nipped this one in the bud! Even though I didn’t really have access to the online world, I still felt pressure for the first 2-3 weeks.
I think it’s fair to say I was addicted to the internet, without even knowing it!
But after the pattern was broken, it felt wonderful to live without that weight and pressure in the back of my mind.
Lesson 4: Living Without Internet Gave Me a Sharper Mind
I’ve never been the type to retain lots of memories. But after about 12 weeks of living without internet, the memories suddenly came flooding in!
Somehow my head was clearer and my mind, sharper. Instead of dwelling on whatever I had recently consumed online, my own thoughts filled my head in a natural, healthy way.
My mind grew steadier and my thinking, more linear. Very interesting to observe!
Lesson 5: No Internet Lead to More Physical Activity
Not having entertainment at my fingertips, I felt “bored” more often. Which led to more physical activities out-of-doors!
I hadn’t realized that internet had inhibited my levels of physical activity. Even though I would often do a short workout in the mornings, I found myself getting even more exercise after we gave it all up.
I took longer walks. Explored more places surrounding my home. I spent more time in the gardens and received more fresh air and sunshine. The extra activity even helped me lose a bit of weight!
Lesson 6: All That Internet Stuff Wasn’t as Important as It Seemed
In spite of the fact that we didn’t have internet in our home, I was going in to our local library 1x a week to schedule new posts on the blog and social media. I also tried to do a weekly youtube release of our home build.
When you have an agenda and only a few hours to spend online, the important things rise to the surface. My blog posts (of course). Emails from family. Writing that friend back. Research for the next project we wanted to do on our land.
All those youtube videos from my favorite online personalities? The bloggers I’d faithfully followed? Scrolling on social media? Things I’d just pop online to check 1-2x a day?
I realized these things just weren’t as important as I thought. Because my life (and blog) went on just fine without them!
Lesson 7: No Internet Created More Intimacy in My Marriage
Before we gave up internet, I would have said that I have a close relationship with my man. He’s one of the best gifts God has given to me, and I like him more than anyone in the world!
Before we did our year without internet, I also would have told you that having Wi-fi in our home really didn’t effect our closeness as a couple.
Boy was I wrong! At the end of the year, we both looked back and realized that living without internet had done something special in us. We had spent far more time together. Real, quality, engaged time!
Instead of having our faces buried in a screen after supper and giving a half-hearted “uh-huh” to the other person’s questions or comments, we read books together. Played games together. Planned together. Took walks together. Worked together.
There was an engagement and focus on one another that hadn’t previously existed. And we liked it a lot!
Lesson 8: It Revealed Our Need for Other People
Internet didn’t just effect our marriage! Living without screens in our lives, we notice that we wanted to be with other people more often.
In spite of the fact that I’m an introvert, I felt that something was missing if we didn’t see other folks at least 2-3x per week.
It was the natural outcome of living without internet.
What a wake up call it was! Neither of us wanted to live a life where screens shoved other people out. And we knew that if we returned to the internet scene, we needed to make sure other people still had priority in our lives.
Lesson 9: I Had More Internal Peace
As I look back over that time, I realize I felt more in tune to myself. Instead of filling my day and head with internet stuff, things slowed down. And I was in touch with my thoughts, feelings and the inner workings of my soul in a whole new way.
And I have to say it: I felt more at peace than I had in a long time. Yes, we were working hard to build the Mountain Cottage. Working our fingers to the bone! But part of the reason that time was so special is because we lived without internet.
One of the benefits of running a blog is that it’s also a documentation of my life. Living with internet once again, I find it helpful to return to the lessons I learned in the past.
And if I’m perfectly honest, there’s still a part of me that wants to rip all the “internet riggings” out of our home and once again live in that quiet simplicity. I want to live in that space where it’s easy to prioritize the important things in life.
I do have a trick up my sleeve that helps. And I’ll tell you about that one soon!
But for now I just want to inspire and encourage you in your at-home life. And I want to ask “are you using your internet wisely, or is it stealing from the richness you and your family could otherwise be partaking of?”