We recently chatted with local Jeff Stern about his passion project and side hustle—The Seacoast Digital Fast. Below, Jeff shares the who, what, when, and where of an event he conceived and introduced to our community!

What is a Digital Fast?

A digital fast is a challenge to go screen-free and device-free for 48 hours, one dedicated weekend per year.

Why did you start this?

I first started doing digital fasts with my students at Bentley college in 2014. As a professor, I witnessed how much students and I rely on our phones and computers every day. I wondered what it would be like to completely cut ourselves off from screen-based technology, so we put ourselves to the test! The consensus from our challenge was it was a nice break and brought our small community together over a common bond. I wanted to bring this concept to the Seacoast and am excited for our first big weekend coming up!

Where and when will the Seacoast Digital Fast take place this year?

The Seacoast Digital Fast will take place on May 3-5, 2019. Some special events to attend while fasting include…

Friday Kickoff at the Portsmouth Public Library with food trucks, lawn games and mayoral proclamation!

DJ Scooch spinning records Friday night at The Wilder.

All-day activities at the Portsmouth Public Library (Jedi mind training, meditation, and a book club just for Digital Fasters!).

Screen-free Brunch at Liar’s Bench on Sunday.

Drop-in games at Diversions & G.Willikers.

Postcard writing at Off Piste.

Check out the Facebook page for more additions as we get closer to the fast!

For those of us who are hesitant to take an entire weekend off from technology, how might we participate in the Seacoast Digital Fast in a smaller way?

If you have legit reasons to be plugged in and online (say you’re a doctor on call),  then please do what you have to do!

If you’re afraid or if you have FOMO, I think you should go for it cold turkey and join the hundreds of others who are doing the Digital Fast, and appreciate an opportunity to live in the moment. This isn’t a permanent change and it’s not anti-technology; it’s just a way to live life in a more focused, calm, mindful way. If you prefer to start slow, maybe you take a break from social media or texting for the weekend. It’s good to take baby steps and see how it feels; maybe next year you can go all-in!

Whenever I do a digital fast, I always come away with one digital habit I want to change. I promise you will enjoy this experience. And you won’t even miss Game of Thrones!

Thank you, Jeff!