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NO Phone September

HEADLINER: For all of September, my phone will be OFF for 80% of my week.

Picture taken by Johannes Plenio

Note: It's taken me over a week to finish this story, so some of the timing is completely off.

In terms of hours:


  • 6:30 am - 7:25 am: PHONE OFF

  • 8:00 - 1:00 pm: *nonresponsive because our outdoor classroom is low-tech

  • 3:00 pm - 8:00 pm: PHONE OFF

  • 9:30 pm PHONE OFF for evening


  • 7:30 - 9:30 PHONE OFF

  • 9:30 - 4:OO WORK *nonresponsive when in front of kids, because our outdoor classroom is low-tech

  • Evening PHONE OFF until Monday.




Four kids + no sitter + a business + teaching + homeschooling + a thinking introvert + a social introvert = burnout.

Y'all, I didn't create Shalom & Polepole merely because I enjoy quiet evenings, and I am the definition of a homebody; I designed it because it is a major part of my identity. Just as much as I need nature (hence an eco-teacher that spends 99% of my teaching time outdoors), I need slowness, solitude, and quiet. I need time to read and ponder. To dream up recipes, engage in a long journaling session, or slowly organize a random shelf. I need time.

Currently, I am experiencing an overactive mind. There is so much to think about consistently, and a lot is coming into my ears, eyes, and body without much rest and process time. This means that I am often responding without thinking, words are tumbling out of my mouth, and I am simply running on fumes vs. fuel. At first, I was simply in "chug" mode, keep my head down, and "work,"... but I'm quickly realizing that that's completely unsustainable.

As Dr. Tracey Marks says (in the video below):

"If you are always allowing yourself to be instantly available, you are never giving yourself a chance to unwind. And an overactive mind leads to stress, anxiety, and burnout."


What Next?

The thing that I love most in my life is my relationships. I want to respond, engage, and answer to the needs/wants of others constantly; however, the last two weeks - I have been in a zombie-like trance post 3:00 pm and not a great listener. My energy dispense is off balance.

Two weeks ago, on a random Wednesday, I hit an absolute brick wall of all sorts. My hormones were spiked, the kids got a cold, and an obstacle was added to our plate. All I can say is that my inner self was a jumbled mix of exhaustion, hopelessness, and burnout. But due to the grace of God, a few (too) early mornings (3:40 am), a loving husband, and a few confidants - I was able to reflect and pause - and I realized how often I filled my moments with my phone. I was texting, answering, posting, asking, sending, receiving, doing everything but thinking, breathing, reflecting...just being. I was aimlessly and subconsciously filling my quiet, reflective, present times with distractions.

Now, this "turn off" my phone doesn't just apply to my "phone"- it applies to my home as well. I am about to be UNAPOLOGETIC on "rest/re-set" time for the kids. And during that time, I am going to do what I should have done when my babies were newborns: I am going to rest when the kids are resting. "PERIODT." I need QUIET. I need REST. I need to work with my HANDS. I need a SLOW creative lifestyle. And so it's what I will give myself.

Well, friends ✌🏾polepole. shelby


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