Just what is the National Day of Unplugging? Well, it is no secret that we are increasingly connected to the world around us. Smartphones, tablets, WiFi access and the Internet have enabled us to be connected to the entire world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year.
This offers endless possibilities and has of course widened many people’s horizons immensely by showing them what the world is like thousands of miles away. However, there are also times in our lives when we seem to forget just how necessary it is to step back from out digital devices and other gadgetry and actually perform the ancient art of speaking with people around us and observe the world that is all around us, and not just the pixels forming images of reality on the screen in front of us.
Not to mention how much we could help the environment by deciding to set our electrical equipment aside every now and then and just meet up with the people we’re endlessly e-chatting with for a coffee. The National Day of Unplugging was created to do all of these things and more.
History of the National Day of Unplugging
The National Day of Unplugging was created by Reboot, a nonprofit Jewish community that was originally established in 2003. However, you do not need to be Jewish, or even religious at all to participate. The idea behind the day was to challenge people to keep their electronic devices unplugged and unused for 24 hours in order to give themselves the chance to take a break and spend time relaxing with family, friends, or alone. This is definitely something that would be useful to everyone, regardless of religion or lack of it. Reboot believes that such time taken to “reboot” or systems will make us happier, more content with our lives, and more aware of the things that matter.
How to celebrate the National Day of Unplugging
Celebrating this day is quite simple. All that one is required to do is to disconnect from the virtual “matrix” which has come to define every waking moment of our lives. So power down that laptop, leave the smartphone at home and avoid email for twenty-four hours. Instead, take a walk in a local park, and don’t just rush through the park to get it over with, either. Take the time to observe the way the squirrels scamper up and down the trees, or the way the water flows in a stream, or how a mother duck looks after her young.
Don’t just look at it as if it were a picture in a book, realize that you are a part of it, a part of nature, and appreciate that. Or you could go have a cup of coffee with a friend during which you talk about every issue that comes to mind, the large and the small because these are the things that life is made of, all of them. And of course do not take your phone out to text while nodding absent-mindedly, as that would defeat the entire purpose of the outing. In this sense, the art of “powering down” can produce some truly relaxing results, so put down that smartphone and take advantage of this truly pleasurable experience.
A National Day of Unplugging: Shut Down Digital Stress
Unplugging also means letting go of your everyday worries to reconnect with your true self. Make the most of the day to spend uninterrupted time with your thoughts. In short, take the time to listen to your inner voice and find out what you genuinely think and feel in the moment. You’ll find that a day without fast-paced digital distractions can encourage mindful habits and release stress.
Making The National Day of Unplugging Conflict-Free
What does the National Day of Unplugging, a day that encourages people to spend 24 hours away from their favorite electronic devices, has to do with conflicts? The answer is simple. We spend a lot of time on our smartphones. It is, by far, the most used digital device. More importantly, your smartphone is part of your everyday interactions, from paying in shops to checking emails. Therefore, you need to make sure that you can fully function for a full day without relying on it. Transitioning smoothly into the National Day of Unplugging celebration requires preparations, not only for you but for the people around you too.
Can you picture not being able to reach out by phone or email a colleague or a friend during an entire day? You would get worried if it was a friend or a relative. You would wonder what happened to them. If you are trying to talk to a business partner, client, co-worker, or supplier, you would be angry that they are not available to help you. The same principle applies to them when you follow the National Day of Unplugging without warning.
The Art of Unplugging: The Prep
It’s a good idea to prepare ahead of the National Day of Unplugging and let your friends and relatives know that you will be without a phone for the day. As most people turn to SMS or phone calls to get in touch with you, you need to make sure they know you won’t use your phone. Otherwise, they might worry! Additionally, it can be helpful to create an automated response for your mailbox, so that senders are also informed that you’re following the National Day of Unplugging. Most people get frustrated when they expect a quick reply; therefore, managing their expectations is detrimental! You can also inform your friends and followers on social media that you will be off for the day. Ultimately, it’s a lot easier to unplug from everyday digital distractions if you can make sure that the National Day of Unplugging will not bear any negative consequence on your work or relationships.
Celebrate the National Day of Unplugging Without Losing Touch
Leaving your phone at home can make it hard to stay in touch with the people you care for. But you can find fun ways of catching up or building meaningful connections, even if you can’t reply to their texts for a day. You can write funny little post-it notes and leave them in your children’s lunchboxes to be discovered later during the day. You can also surprise your partner with a sweet note they will find once they unpack their bag at work, for instance. It’s also the perfect opportunity to go back to your favorite pen and paper assortment and write a letter to reconnect with distant friends or relatives.
Hopefully, this brief overview can help you to embrace the National Day of Unplugging to the fullest.