Written by Jessica Root
Taking the Unplug Challenge? Create an inspiring itinerary.
With the National Day of Unplugging approaching, I’m gearing up to make the most out of my tech-free 24-hours so they’re relaxing, rewarding and enriching. Basically, the antithesis of my myriad of days consumed by Facebook, Twitter, website updates, and blog posts. All things I love, but that all have the capacity to pull me away from the balance I seek between rest, play, and work.
The Unplug Challenge going on sunset to sunset, March 4-5, 2011, will be all about restoring my sanity—the balance. And here’s exactly what I plan to include following the event’s 10 principles (in bold below) with my own personal touch (not in bold). As the website states, the principles are open to interpretation so go ahead and create your own and feel free to follow mine!
1. Avoid technology.
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Create your own rules. Prep/arrange the day prior to avoid last minute stress. If work keeps you chained to your e-mail, even on the weekends (sound familiar?), set up an auto-e-mail reply so colleagues know when to expect to hear back from you. One tech-free exception I’ll likely make: indulging in my Kindle. I’m a self-confessed bookworm and reading helps me unwind.
2. Connect with loved ones.
Let everyone know ahead of time what you’re doing and that you’re possibly cell-free. If a hang out sesh is on your itinerary, plan in advance so phone calls can be avoided. Host a brunch, lunch, or dinner party or keep it simple with a rendezvous over a glass of wine with a friend or lover.
3. Nurture your health.
This tenet is a built-in bonus. The act of disconnecting from gadgets alone de-activates the stress response. Why not take it further with a little yoga at home—or in class?
4. Get outside.
Rain, shine, cold or cool, I’ll be making a point to hit my local park for a stroll or bike ride. In Japan they call this shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing.” Recent studies have found that time spent among plants can lower levels of cortisol (which induces stress), a lower pulse rate and lower blood pressure.
5. Avoid commerce.
Yes, my lunchtime PureCitizen window web shop will be put on hold. I know stuff doesn’t bring happiness but I’m still a sucker for pretty things. Today, all things pretty will be in the form of nature, silence and sensory pleasures. All things (literally) right under my nose like trying a new recipe with items in my cupboard or enjoying a mug of tea.
6. Light candles.
Photo: Rosemary Calvert/Getty Images
Or get crafty making your own. Isn’t it fun having time to kill? Just think. The sexy dim light can set the mood for that glass of shared wine, snuggle time or booty time.
7. Drink wine.
Well, if you’re going to twist my arm… I’ll be stocking up on an organic and/or low-carbon variety. Another cool idea: seek out a wine tasting or host your own. Here in my Brooklyn ‘hood on Friday nights, several local wine shops offer free tastings. It’s a great way to bond with a friend or circulate and meet neighbors.
8. Eat bread.
Another arm twist…one that definitely calls for making your own pizza and pairing it with that tasty wine. Jerry over at TreeHugger has done all the work for you with his Green Wine Guide featuring Homemade Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onion and Gorgonzola.
9. Find silence.
Photo: Juzant/Getty Images
I’ll do that in my morning and PM meditation sessions. Simply, meditation means directing your mind one-pointedly at an object. If you’re new to this, start with five minutes, practicing keeping your mind directed toward your breath. You can do it brushing your teeth, putting on your socks or practicing yoga. If it ends up rocking your world and becomes easier to sustain, slowly increase the time and perhaps take it into a cross-legged seat. It’s a boon for the heart, anti-aging, and increasing happiness, among other goodies.
10. Give back.
What do you do best or love to do? Share it with your friends, family or extend it to your community. I’ll be offering to my local yoga community, a free window of time to practice yoga at my studio space. If you’re all out of ideas, hit up VolunteerMatch. They’ve partnered up with the Unplug Challenge.
Want more? I’ve got a slew of other refreshing tech-free ideas in my post on The 4-Hour Staycation.
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