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Electronics Free Meals: Well-Being Practice

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This is the suggested Well-Being Practice for week one of the challenge. If this practice does not work for you (for whatever reason), then you can choose from one of our 3 Foundational Well-Being Practices. If you are a veteran player or these three practices are not new to you, then feel free to select from our comprehensive list of Well-Being Practices.

This Week We’re Eating Electronics Free Meals

Simple Instructions:

  1. Do not use or access your mobile phone, tablet, computer, or television during meals. This includes phone calls, texts, chat, email, Googling, videos, podcasts, or social media — for work or for play.
  2. You must complete this for two meals to get credit for the day.
  3. This does not apply to snacks or eating food between meals (e.g., you can snack on nuts while you are on a phone call or surfing the web or take a coffee break while you check emails or share a video with a coworker).
  4. You may have background music playing in the room.

Watch this video for an explanation of this Well-Being Practice from Whole Life Challenge co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck.

Why Are Electronics Free Meals Important?

We all want more life in our life. More living that feels “real” or “connected.” But those concepts often feel like, well, concepts. And it’s no wonder. No one can tell you how to “get connected.” There is no jack to plug into to get you “connected” to life. It all just sounds like a bunch of jargon.

A lot of the time it is just jargon. And maybe it’s because some people don’t want there to be a practical answer. They want magical, spiritual. They want otherworldly.

I’m here to tell you that, no, connection is real. Therefore, this week’s Well-Being Practice is practical.

The life you want to connect to is literally sitting in front of your face and this practice is something that will connect you — to the place you’re in, to the person you’re with, or just to yourself.

Ironically, connecting is all about disconnecting.

Sitting down to eat is one of the rare times when we feel justified in slowing down and connecting. Sharing a moment or two with a coworker or a friend, talking, laughing. Or even just sitting and eating, tasting our food, hearing and seeing what’s happening around us. Yes, even boredom is your real life.

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But social media, texts, emails, and TV pull at us like a drug to escape the moment we’re in — especially if the moment is bringing up boredom or discomfort.

Haven’t you seen it? Looked up in a restaurant and seen half the room staring at a device, faces dimly lit by the depressing glow of a screen? Not paying attention to each other at all?

I know from my own life that the moment I or the person I’m with (or both of us) picks up our phone to check something during a meal, I get hit with a kind of sadness. It feels like a connection is severed, or at least muted. It feels like I’ve given up, like I’m saying this isn’t enough. That right now isn’t exactly what I need.

But if this moment isn’t my life, what is? And can I really find that thing in my phone?

You can think of this week’s Well-Being Practice as an act of rebellion. We are people who will refuse to hand the keys to our life to Facebook, Google, CNN, Fox News, whatever. We are people who will live the life we’ve created as it unfolds in front of us.

For More on This Practice

Joe DiStefanoCould you go a week without your phone, email, Facebook, or even text messaging?

Joe DiStefano, founder of RUNGA, found that despite his fears a “digital detox” was exactly what he needed to break out of stress and stagnation.

Learn more about his experience and his recommendations by listening to his podcast with Andy.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.