Have you heard about the term “unplug”? It’s been around for a while now so I’m sure most people know what it is. For those of you who don’t know, it’s the act of disconnecting from our digital lives—email, phone calls, Facebook, blogs. You get the idea. It’s finding that peace with the real, raw world instead of getting lost in the digital space.
For a lot of people, unplugging can be a very difficult thing to do. Take a minute and think about all the times you rely on technology to get something done. Sometimes, it’s a task that can be done in a different way, like sending an email versus talking to someone in person. Other times, these tasks we do completely depend on technology, like crunching numbers in a spreadsheet or coding a website.
Unplugging has become a new fad, if you will, for people who seem to always be paying more attention to their devices rather than what’s right in front of them. It’s especially popular for people who go on vacation.
Even 10 years ago, it was easy and the norm to go on vacation without worrying about responding to emails, virtually attending a meeting, or approving a last-minute item. But now, there are countless stories of people who are afraid to unplug while on vacation (or aren’t allowed to), for fear of missing out (or FOMO) on what’s happening back at the office.
I find myself getting sucked into the plugged-in world more often these days. And when that happens, I know it’s time to find something else to do that doesn’t rely on my laptop, iPhone, or iPad.
Here’s my list of eight things do to when you unplug.
Read a book.
This is probably one of the simplest, most classic things to do. And this is, without a doubt, the first thing I turn to when I need a break from the screen.
Walk around a park with a friend.
Grab a friend and walk around a park, pond, or a hiking path. Catch up. Get to know them on a deeper, more personal level than what you find out through Facebook.
I’m not talking about a grilled cheese here. Pick up a cookbook or print out a recipe (the day before, of course) for something you’ve always wanted to try but have been too scared to attempt. I’d recommend chicken tortilla soup, Butterfinger cookies, or roasted vegetable wraps.
Go on a day trip to a new town.
Hop in the car and stop when you get to a town that looks interesting. Eat at a local restaurant. Walk down Main Street. Check out the library. Strike up a conversation with a local. You’d be surprised how much you can learn and enjoy yourself.
Take pictures of your neighborhood.
This was one of my favorite things to do while living in Chicago and New York City. I’d leave my phone at home and just take my DSLR camera. Buildings, trees, people, signs, and water are great things to look at and understand through a camera lens.
Write a handwritten note to an old friend.
Sending snail mail has really turned into a lost art. I still can’t get over people who don’t know how to address an envelope. How great do you think someone would feel if they received a one- or two-page letter written to them with good, old-fashioned pencil and paper?
Read a paper newspaper.
When’s the last time you caught up on the news from a print edition? There’s something about the smell of paper and the feel of it between my fingers that gets me every time.
Redecorate your bedroom.
Make a day or weekend out of redecorating your bedroom, or any other room you feel needs a little change. Start by walking through a fabric or crafts store, grab some items, and head back home to piece it all together. I could spend hours and hours in Hobby Lobby.
So that’s my list. I’d love to hear from you. What have you done when you unplugged? Do you have anything on your list for when you finally get to unplug?