Are you a parent? If the answer is yes, than you remember the phenomenon of Dr. Richard Ferber and his methods for helping children learn to soothe themselves. Children are taught to successfully detach from their parents and drift blissfully into sleep. The key, says Dr. Ferber, is emotional and physical readiness.
Today, many of my clients are frazzled, anxious and find aspects of their lives hard to tame and quiet down. It’s not a peaceful sleep state they have difficulty achieving, but a technology free one.
They tell me:
“I would drive 45 minutes back home to get my smart phone because I couldn’t be without it for three hours.”
“I would walk out of an important work meeting if my child texted me that s/he left his/her homework home.”
“I would not apply for a job that interests me if I would not be able to get texts during the work day.”
“I have missed seeing my child’s game winning homerun, goal, basket, etc. because I was answering an email while watching the game.”
“I would switch to a different gym if I didn’t get good cell phone reception at my current one.”
If you can relate to the above; friends, family, clients and/or bosses have gotten used to having full access to you. You are available on demand and may not be able to disconnect. When do you get to relax, regroup, or just think? When can you really take in the colors or smells surrounding you?
If you are feeling present, in control, relaxed and are really enjoying your life, read no further. Not sure yet, perhaps these quotes from clients will resonate with you.
“I check and respond to my texts/emails during all of my waking hours.”
“I never put an away message on my email or texts.”
“I get anxious if anyone suggests I turn off my smart phone.”
“I would rather get a flat tire, lose my credit card or get into a fender bender than lose my smart phone.”
“I would give up a free vacation if there wasn’t internet/cell reception at the resort.”
If some of the statements above ring true for you, read on.
Dr. Ferber may focus on infants and sleep, but I am here to tell you that his methodology extends much further, and that you have to Ferberize your life. You have to learn to break the chain holding you to your technology. If you used the Ferber Method with your children, you will remember that it was harder on the parents than it was on the baby. It only worked if the parents were very consistent and methodical. Ferberizing yourself from your technology is no different.
These simple steps will help you Ferberize your own life and self soothe long enough to be in control of your activities.
1.) Dr. Ferber created rituals to help condition babies for change. You need to do the same.
–Let clients, friends, children, etc. know about a change in your accessibility beforehand.
–For example: “Kids, I will be out of cell phone range tomorrow between 10 and 2. If you need me, I will get back to you after 2.”
2.) Dr. Ferber knew that change takes time and can be uncomfortable. He therefore used small steps.
–I recommend that you begin the same way, using an Away Message for small intervals of time for your emails, texts and phone calls. Let clients, children, friends, etc. get used to not having you immediately available. If necessary, have an emergency contact as a back-up.
3.) If the baby cried, Dr. Ferber recommended that you return every five minutes and increase the length of that interval each night.
–If you encounter push back, and feel that your work life is out of control, I recommend that you sign off for good at a predetermined time every day and sign off ten minutes earlier each day until you have gotten to a reasonable hour.
–If family, friends, clients, etc. have come to expect immediate responses from you; wait five minutes before responding and increase that waiting period by two minutes every day until your response time is ½ hour.
‘Ferberizing’ our lives is not easy. It is important to slowly wean ourselves and those who we have fed on demand. If we go too fast we can easily fail. We need support to get through the process. Who can you call upon to support you and hold you accountable? Why not ask someone you know that needs and wants to Ferberize their life to do it with you?
Where do you need to Ferberize your life? Give me a call and we can begin your weaning process together.