Our technology-guided era has caused most of the Western world to use the verb “unplug” in new ways. Now when people talk about “unplugging,” they are more likely to be talking about themselves rather than the laptops, tablets, iPods, e-books, and smartphones they seek to escape.
While we all have different tolerance levels and breaking points, it seems that most of us have those days when some sort of primal urge tells us that something is out of whack and we feel the need to pull away – unplug – from modern devices for a while.
For those who obey their instincts, something very grand awaits, (and I’m not talking about an over-loaded email inbox the next day.)
Taking time away from modern conveniences clears away distractions so that you can think. When your brain isn’t moving between tweets and Facebook status updates, it’s a wonder what it can come up with.
Next time you take a technology hiatus, try some of these activities, let yourself daydream, and be amazed at the fresh new ideas you think up when you unplug!
#1. Do things your ancestors did (or that you used to do). One idea – bake bread, and don’t just throw ingredients into a bread machine. Choose a recipe that requires kneading the dough. While you’re at it, make homemade butter to go with it.
#2. Exercise. Any sport will do, but I especially recommend solitary, calm sports that give you time alone, or sports that require fluidity of movement. A few examples: hiking, yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and swimming.
#3. Get creative. Creating art has a way of triggering the unexpected. Work in any medium that appeals to you. If you think you’re not artistic, you may be surprised by hidden abilities that surface – try photography or doodling and see what happens.
#4. Get back to nature. There is something instinctual that draws us to nature, even for those of us who don’t consider ourselves nature lovers. Take time to listen to the birds, walk barefoot in the grass, start a small garden or explore a wooded area.
#5. Do nothing. While you can’t really “do nothing,” you can come close. Schedule even 15 minutes to simply sit and let your mind wander, meditate, people watch, find shapes in the clouds, or ponder how a common object was made.
My last tip: Whatever you do, make sure you have a paper and pencil handy while doing these activities. You don’t want to forget all the amazing ideas and profound thoughts that come to you when you unplug.