In this hyper-connected, hyper-media culture, the idea of “leisure” has dramatically changed from a traditional definition of doing something that is not “work-related” to simply staring at the screen for media consumption.
In the past, people used to build and fix stuff when they had free time. Or they actually “went” somewhere for activities. However, modern people now rest by constantly swiping and scrolling on their phone or consume media. There is nothing wrong with watching stuff during our downtime. But the question we need to ask is, “Do they actually help us to rest?”
In the book called “Digital Minimalism”, the author contrasts these two different approaches to rest as “High-quality leisure” and “Low-quality leisure”.
High-quality leisure often requires our energy to be invested and even be physically strenuous but gives us better mental energy and a sense of accomplishment at the end.
On the other hand, low-quality leisure might require very little energy but leaves us feeling more drained or overly stimulated to focus on anything.
Unless we become intentional, since we tend to gravitate toward the path of least resistance, we will end up filling our free time with low quality leisure, without even being aware of it. It is not uncommon to spend hours on social media, unplanned.
But with Daniel Fast, since we are forced to stop our media activities for a period of time, we can take a good look at how much of our time was spent on low quality leisure.
As you take inventory of how you’ve been using your time, you will begin to notice that what you’ve considered as “leisure” activities were actually “numbing” activities. They didn’t “heighten” your senses to think and experience more in life but simply numbed your senses to forget about the reality of life.
Regardless, stopping low-quality leisure can still be challenging so here is my recommendation. Schedule in advance how you will use your free time with high quality leisure. As we begin to fill our schedule with high-quality leisure, it gets easier to limit our low quality leisure. And this will help you to continue this even after you are reintroduced to your media again after the fast.
So here are the lists of high-quality leisure for consideration:
- Making or fixing something (not on screen but in real life)
- Taking a walk
- Moderate Exercise
- Reading Non-fiction books
- Reading the Bible and praying
- Catching up with close friends
Leisure is a great gift from God that has the potential to actually energize us. If you want to use Daniel Fast to reorient your life, try scheduling your week and start planning how you will use your freed-up time for high quality leisure.