Cell phones, laptops, tablets, TVs, email, Facebook, Netflix…the list of ways you can spend your time plugged into technology goes on and on. They can be overwhelming, and slowly but surely they can take control of your life. Isn’t it about time we were in charge (no pun intended) of our own lives, and let go of our dependence on technology? Isn’t it time we learned how to be happy with ourselves?
If you’re wondering how to reduce tension in your life and be happy again, try living a more unplugged life. Taking time to unplug can help decrease stress, improve relationships, and give you an overall increase in freedom. There’s a big world out there just waiting to be explored, right? So how do you start? Where do you go and what do you do?
Here are 10 ways to take a break from technology and plug yourself back into a fuller, happier life.
1. Turn your phone off or leave your phone at home for a few hours.
Taking time away from your home is one of the simplest ways to live life unplugged. It’s easier said than done, but it’s 100 percent essential to giving yourself a break and teaching yourself to disconnect while you pursue other interests. Go wireless and see what else you notice about your surroundings and relationships. You’ll get more out of the other ideas on this list if you can unshackle yourself from your hand-brain. Emails, texts, notifications, and calls will all be there when you get back, we promise.
2. Utilize recreation opportunities around you.
Whatever region you’re living in, explore your local terrain by using walking trails and parks. Tune into the sounds around you, even if you are in an urban area. Check your city’s website for information on walking paths and other recreation ideas.
3. Ride a bike
Biking is a great way to unplug, since you can’t bike and use a screen at the same time. It’s also a great form of exercise, which will increase endorphins and leave you feeling happy and energetic. If you don’t have a bike, search your area for used options, bike rental shops, or borrow from friends and family. A quick search of bike trails and paths in your area can get you away from traffic to more relaxing and quiet areas, where you have the freedom to coast or speed along as you please.
4. Pursue a hobby or skill you’re passionate about
What have you always wanted to learn or do but have never dedicated the time to? It could be anything from rock climbing to photography, making pottery to learning to cook fine Italian cuisine. Then keep at it; it’s easy to lose passion for a new hobby if you don’t dedicate time to it. Schedule time a few days a week to dedicate to pursuing your passions. Make sure to turn your phone and other devices off or put them out of your reach to eliminate distractions. Turn on your favorite music and enjoy doing something you love.
5. Start reading a book in a place you enjoy
Reading can catapult you into life experiences you’ve never even dreamed of. Make sure to pick a genre that really pulls you in and interests you, even if it’s just light reading. Again, put distractions aside so you can allow yourself to get lost in your reading. Better yet, take your book to a park, coffee shop, or another favorite spot, so that interruptions are less likely to disturb you. Then, start reading until you don’t notice yourself turning the pages anymore.
6. Explore your city or town
Whether you live in a big city or a small town, really get to know where you live. Go to museums, see landmarks you’ve never paid attention to, eat at a new restaurant, go window shopping, or attend a local sporting event. Find out what makes your town unique, even if it means going to see the biggest rubber band ball in the U.S. There are unique things to discover wherever you are, so get out and find them, and then share them with others.
7. Creative or journal writing…with a pen!
Writing can be therapeutic, creative, or just a great way to wind down and clear your thoughts. Your life is a story and what better way to celebrate it than to document it. Go somewhere quiet, bring your favorite drink or snack, and just let your thoughts wander out onto the paper. Notebooks can be cheap but it can also be fun to splurge and get one that really represents your personality.
8. Play board games with friends and family
Who could forget the time spent playing games like Monopoly as a kid? These days, there’s a veritable dragon’s hoard of options when it comes to board games, so there’s sure to be something to fit every taste and play style. Try some old favorites with friends and family, then try something new and exciting to shake things up. With the right board game, and the right company, game nights will always be something to be remembered.
The night sky has, historically, had a profound effect on humans—calming them, inspiring them, filling them with awe. Pick a clear, quiet night, and spend some time just contemplating the vastness of the universe we live in. If you live in the city, and light pollution makes it difficult to see the stars, trek out of city limits a little ways, and stargaze while communing with nature.
10. Attend a performance
Many people have forgotten, but people still perform on stages. Actors put on play productions, dancers have recitals, and musicians have concerts. Go attend a performing art, and experience the joy of seeing someone do something impressive. Depending on the performance, you may laugh, you may cry, you may do a little of both, but you’re sure to have a good time.