Sep 6, 2010

Unplug & Unwind

by Kiku Reidhead

We live in a technological world. It's astonishing when you actually stop to think about our many digital ties - we are constantly connected by wires through mobile devices and high-speed internet. This accessibility is great for a college student, but some say we need to disconnect, unplug and unwind every once and a while. 

An article in the New York Times states that children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend about 7.5 hours every day on an electronic device of some sort. If you move up an age group to college-age young adults, media and technology usage is so high some are calling it an addiction.

How many hours a day do you think you are connected to some sort of technology? What about your friends or spouse? If you eliminated some of that time, what could happen to your relationships? To your outlook on life?

All too often now work, school and personal life overlap as opportunities for staying connected increase. Professionals face the struggle of balancing all aspects of life, and find they have to deliberately set aside time to focus on family or personal time.

So, train yourself now. Give yourself a break. Try it for even just a few hours, if not a whole day. Get away from your cords and antennas and rediscover the simple things life has to offer. Sounds corny, but really try stepping outside your virtual world to live in the real one!
How to Unplug:
  • Set a specific time aside to stay off the computer, Facebook, iPods and even put down your cell phone. (It may be acceptable to spend time on the phone with parents, siblings or other loved ones).
  • Decide how long you want to try your unplugging experiment (1 to 2 hours, something in between, or a whole day).
  • Be committed and find other hands-on activities to do: go for a walk, go visit a friend and talk face-to-face, write a letter or in a journal, read a book, take a nap, try a new recipe, ponder, etc.
  • After your unplug time, asses your experience and decide when to do it again.
The Internet contains numerous blogs of others who have tried this experiment. They report rediscovering old joys and old relationships. They were less distracted and anxious about who was saying what on Facebook or what the latest e-mails or tweets were. They instead focused on family and spending quality time together enjoying life.

It may be difficult, but take it as a challenge and rise to it. You might rediscover things that have been simply forgotten due to the technology-strapped world we live in today. Most of all you'll discover time and a wonderful and much-needed way to unwind.

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