Today is National Unplug Day, a perfect excuse for some much needed digital downtime. Now while I’d like nothing more than to embrace a full 24 hours of disconnecting; the Friday before SXSW starts probably isn’t the best time for me. So with that said, I’ll be spending a few hours today unplugged and in general I’ve tried to become more conscious about how much time I spend on my various devices.
For our generation, growing up in stride with the rapid evolution of technology went from fascinating to fun and exciting to down right exhausting. We quickly graduated from ipods to laptops to AIM to iphones to Myspace to Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to Snapchat to wearable technology to virtual reality. . . to strollers that wirelessly propel themselves. (like…seriously? no. please stop now.) And then all of a sudden there was this precedent that if you weren’t on social media you were one of three things:
- hiding something
- too cool (but not really)
Either way, I think we all feel pretty obligated to be connected to at least one social network and stay ‘on call’ and god forbid: go rogue. But that is stressful. It personally causes me a lot of unnecessary anxiety. Luckily, striking a balance between my online and offline hours has helped curb those anxious feelings.
I find myself in a perpetual love/hate relationship with my iphone, computer or other various technology on any given day. (Lately, my FitBit and I have been at war. Probably because it constantly buzzes at me when I’ve been sitting too long: at my computer. How rude, does it really not know that I’m busy on Facebook!?! . . . ahem, I mean work.)
So after I get through work today; I’ve made plans to power down, spend some time outside and finally indulge in some much needed quiet time with my paint brushes for the rest of the evening. I’m going to try and stay off the technology until tomorrow. An excuse to sleep in and keep the phone on silent? YES please!
If you’d like to also participate in national unplug day, it’s really quite easy. Simply give people a heads up you’ll be going dark, out of respect for your well-being. You don’t want them calling you in as a missing person after 3-4 hours off the grid. (because we all know that’s how addicted we all are) And put your phone away, power down the laptop and turn the TV off. But what is there left todo? I know, I panicked too. Luckily, I made a long list of things to do that don’t involve technology!
Things You Can Do Once You Unplug:
- Go for a walk, hike or run
- Paint or try your hand at calligraphy
- Pick up an instrument
- Bake some cookies
- Pack a picnic and head to the park
- Go swimming, paddleboarding or kayaking
- Read a real book
- Make plans to meet a friend somewhere and have a real life conversation.
- Write a letter or postcard
- Rehab some furniture
- Clean your house
- Finish those pesky half done home projects
- Take a long bath
- Go to a drive-in movie
- Go bowling
- Take a nap (this suggestion is probably my favorite and I will most likely be partaking)
Does technology ever make you feel as stressed out as I do sometimes? What are your favorite things to do during periods of ‘digital downtime’?