Technology has dramatically changed the way we live, and smart phones in particular have left their mark. Our gadgets may serve amazing purposes, but they also draw our attention away from our immediate environment, which can result in a void of real human connections and a lack of awareness of the world around us. In fact, research shows that Americans are spending nearly 11 hours a day on screens. So what can we do to beat this trend? For starters, take part in the National Day of Unplugging, an annual event that starts tomorrow (Thursday, March 8) at sunset and goes until sunset the next day (Friday, March 9). It’s a great way to incorporate a digital detox into your life, and you can get your family and friends involved, too. Here are some ideas for making the most of your unplugged day:
- Revisit your favorite non-digital past times. Break out an old-fashioned pencil and paper and brainstorm all those screen-free interests you used to have – sewing, playing cards, or stargazing. Then, commit to incorporating some of them back into your life, both immediately and down the road.
- Rest up. Think about all the hours you spend late at night checking social media one last time, or catching up on stressful headlines that keep you worrying into the night. Not only do these practices prolong bedtime, the blue light emitted by screens suppresses melatonin production in the body – making it harder to fall asleep when you actually do turn in. Most Americans are sleep deprived, so use the opportunity to get some much-needed sleep.
- Cook something. With all the extra time you’ve regained, break out a favorite cookbook and whip up a family favorite. Set the table and sit down sans devices, and let the good conversation roll.
- Give others your undivided attention. With devices constantly vying for our attention, we give others our full attention more seldom than you might realize. Try to really listen to others when they’re talking and focus on making good eye contact.
- Read something offline. Grab a beloved paperback off the shelf and dive in. Or, visit your local library for fresh inspiration.
- Take a walk. A leisurely evening stroll is a great way to digest your dinner – and a far healthier alternative to a Twitter rant.
- Get together with friends and family…in person. Whether you share a meal, sit down to coffee, or round up a crew for game night, the online world is no substitute for togetherness with those you love. Rediscover the joy of an in-person connection, and you just might decide to make digital fasts a regular event in your life!
Resources:detox life, healthy, unplug