Do you ever go to dinner with your friends only to find that almost everyone is checking their phones? That can be so disappointing because connecting in person is important and special. According to the Pew Research Center, about 90 percent of American adults now own a cell phone and approximately 64 percent have a smart phone. Let’s take some time to stop looking at our phones and focus on our friends, family, or just nature for a bit. You will feel better quickly! Read on to see 10 ideas for disconnecting.
Ready to go dark and stop staring at your mobile phone for a bit? Try one or more of these fantastic ideas:
- Digital Detox (Multiple Locations)
The team behind Digital Detox has one goal: Help participants rediscover what can happen when they disconnect from technology and reconnect with the world around them. This company plans customized corporate programs, from one-hour “playshops” to multi-day retreats, while their signature “Unplug” events take place annually in San Francisco and Los Angeles. According to the founders, taking a sabbatical from your smartphone can help reduce anxiety, depression, stress, fatigue, and improve your personal wellness, relationships, happiness, and even your career. With those odds in your favor, what do you have to lose? Besides another an hour spent on Facebook, that is. (Tickets start at $12)
- Screen-Free Week (Multiple Locations)
Go big or go home. That’s the official motto of Screen-Free Week. Instead of biding adieu to digital technology for an hour or even a day, this annual event suggests going completely screen-free for a full six days. That means no watching TV, no scrolling through Instagram… basically avoiding any device you’d use for entertainment (any tech you need for work or school get the green light, though). While the official event occurs in May each year, you can organize a screen-free week in your own community or find an upcoming event near you. (Free)
- Bored and Brilliant Project
In February 2015, a public radio station in New York City launched six day’s worth of challenges with the goal of bringing back the “lost art” of spacing out. Inspired by staggering stats about our dependence on technology (like the fact that 67 percent of cell phone owners check their phones without even hearing a sound!), the show’s producers wanted to help listeners detach from their phones and spend more time thinking creatively—and even being bored, which can lead to surprisingly positive results, they say. Each mini podcast contains one simple daily challenge (for example, one photo-free day) that helps get you away from your phone. Challenge accepted! (Free; wnyc.org)
- Mindful Meditation at the Hammer
The UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center offers free drop-in classes every Thursday in an on-campus theater, where instructors teach participants how to live in the present through active observation. Not in Los Angeles? You can tune in to all past podcasts for free online.
Sometimes being antisocial is a good thing. Compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems, this app lets you add all disruptive social networking sites (it’s not personal, Pinterest!) to a block list and set up specific time blocks, from 15 minutes to eight hours, to help you power through crunch time. ($15; Windows and Mac OS)
- Cold Turkey
This blocking service claims to have saved users 3,907,970 minutes and counting—just imagine how much time it could save you. Work, study, or write distraction-free with this free app that works with any operating system to block sites that detract from your focus. Or splurge on the pro version, which offers extra attributes such as scheduled blocks and the ability to mark certain sites as an exception. It also allows breaks from your tunnel-vision focus throughout the day, which research shows actually help enhance productivity. (Free or $14.99 for pro version; Windows and Mac OS)
- Do Not Disturb
If you’ve ever been in a movie theater, you know how distracting a glaring, lit-up phone screen can be. Well, it’s equally as distracting if it keeps lighting up next to your computer! Thankfully smartphone users can give themselves a break from the incessant buzzing with one quick swipe. Switch on the Do Not Disturb setting on iPhones or Priority mode on Android devices to keep calls, notifications, and alerts under wraps. You’re also able to designate a recurring time for it to turn on, while still allowing calls from certain people. (Free)
This app is going to give Pharrell a run for his money. It’ll turn your frown upside down on the daily, letting you notice (and share!) the stuff that makes you smile. Plus, it comes equipped with courses designed to improve all aspects of life. You’ll have on-the-go yoga, self-confidence meditations, writing exercises, and more at your fingertips. (Free; iOS and Android)
- Unplug Every Day: 365 Ways to Log Off and Live Better
Think of this as the “Dear Diary” approach to the digital detox. Perfect for writers and non-writers alike, the book contains a suggestion for an offline action every day of the year. It also gives you space to jot down your thoughts once you completed the daily task. One more reason to put down your tablet? Reviewers warn that the format of this book is much better in the paper version. ($12; amazon.com)
- Color Me Stress-Free
This “zen coloring book” serves as proof that art is an ideal way to reconnect with yourself and tune out digital distractions. Written by an art therapist and illustrated by an artist, it’s designed to help keep you away from your devices, slash stress, and boost creativity. With up to 100 coloring templates, organized into seven themes, put your pencil (or crayon!) to paper to color away any stressful day. Keep calm and color on. ($11; amazon.com)
See the original article on Greatist for 21 additional great resources to help you unplug.
Image Source: Scarleth Marie