23 Ways To Unplug (in case you forgot how)

It can be oddly hard to think of ways to unplug or tech-free activities that don't involve a computer or smart phone! Click through for 23 ways to give your smart phone a break!

When I was brainstorming ideas for this post, I was HORRIFIED to discover that I could only think of, like, five activities that didn’t involve technology.

So many of my favorite things – watching dance tutorials on Youtube, road tripping (via GPS), Skyping with far-flung friends – require a laptop or an internet connection. Which is simultaneously depressing and not surprising.

Like many bloggers, I’m completely addicted to technology. I’ve not yet reached the ‘work on my laptop in bed’ point, but I frequently get home from a night out and immediately walk into my office (with my coat and boots still on!) to check my email and social media.

I’ve tried to curb my habit by removing email/Facebook/Twitter from my phone (though I still half-ass Instagram) but I notice a huuuuge difference in my mood when I step away from my screen and into, well, real life.With that in mind, I’m going to wholeheartedly embrace National Unplug Day, March 7-8. (Though I’ve still got a post and social media scheduled for tomorrow for those of you who won’t be ‘celebrating.’)

It’s probably a lot easier for me to unplug than a lot of people – mostly because I can tell my clients I’m taking the day off and then close my laptop. I realize that’s not an option if you’ve got a boss and all sorts of computer-based responsibilities.  But what if you unplugged from 5 pm on the 7th to 5 pm on the 8th? You’d probably be about a million times happier with your weekend.

Here are 23 fun ways to unplug

(print ’em out, eh?)

1. Start a giant paint-by-numbers piece to hang above your bed.

2. Dig through all those cookbooks you have. Find a new, challenging recipe and make it.

3. Make lists: favorite people, yuckiest animals, movies to watch when you’re melancholy, foods you could eat every day until you die.

4. Go buy postcards from a local tourist spot and send them to your friends in other cities.

5. Give yourself (or pay someone to give you) a ridiculous manicure.

6. Go on a photo scavenger hunt. (But with your actual camera! Not your phone/Instagram.)

7. Spend some really quality time with your pet. Brushing and petting until they get sick of it. (my cat Putin neeeeever gets sick of it.)

8. Go to your city’s tallest building at sunset.

9. Declutter and happy-fy your home. Get rid of your ex’s t-shirts, those canned beets you’ll never eat, and that Very Important Novel you hated.

10. Go to a restaurant that serves food you’ve never had before. Ethiopian! Mongolian barbeque! Cambodian!

11. Check out a new class at your gym.  I’m all over water aerobics! (100% not kidding.)

12. Go to a second-run theater and watch a $2 movie.

13. Swap out your framed photos and prints. Here are 7 more cheap ways to update your space.

14. Visit your local library.  I periodically forget about them and then re-remember that you can read hundreds of magazines and books for free! Or attend cool events! Go there and read all the back issues of Cat Fancy.

15. Go for a long walk in a new park or a neighborhood you’ve never explored.

16. Detail your car. I’m not sure words can express how deeply satisfying this is.

17. Invite your friends over for soup, bread, and board games or cards.

18. Make a bonfire. Bonus points for baking potatoes in the coals!

19. Watch a high school sporting event or theater production. Watching kids be sincere and try hard warms my heart every. single. time.

20. Go to a bar and play pool or darts or monopolize the jukebox with a million Britney Spears songs.

21. Hit up your local bingo hall.  THIS IS SO MUCH MORE FUN THAN YOU THINK.

22. Write out your next blog posts by hand.

23. Explore your city via public transport.  I like to call this bus roulette.

Are you addicted to technology? And if you are – how are you dealing with it?

P.S. Do you need 1-on-1 support and accountability living your life more intentionally? I can help with that!

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  1. Sydney

    Amazing! I think Canada should jump on the "national unplug day" bandwagon, we could seriously use a break (I say as I type from my computer…) all of your ideas are fantastic!

  2. Carly Kaste

    I didn't even know about National Unplug Day! These are really good ideas! A paint-by-numbers kit, or just painting freely, sounds like fun, and so does a bonfire complete with roasted potatoes. I think I know what my tomorrow is going to look like. 🙂

  3. sometimessheblogs

    Wait. Hold the phone. Did you finally get a data plan? Or maybe I'm reading this wrong? "I've tried to curb my habit by removing email/Facebook/Twitter from my phone" do you mean that you had it and then removed it or that you refuse to have it? Whenever I get obsessive about my smartphone I always think "but Sarah Von doesn't even get email on her phone! Chill out and put it down!" So I'm curious for inspirational reasons.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      When my Garmin broke, I got a data plan on my phone so I could get gps – but I only use data for Instagram and GPS. I've been thinking about getting another Garmin and just waiting till I'm around wifi to use Instagram!

  4. Caitriona

    Love these ideas! I have decided to start doing mindfulness for 10 minutes a day to try and reduce some of my thoughtless bad habits, internet reliance being one of them! Will definitely keep this in mind this weekend

  5. Kendra

    Love! I just sent this to my husband to see if he wants to do it! We're both hooked to our phones more than we should be and it would be a great excuse to 100% focus on family time with our son this weekend. Thanks for sharing <3

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Fun! I'm literally spending about an hour today preparing to do this tomorrow – printing things out, running to the library, and scheduling a haircut!

  6. Heather Lambie

    Glad I read this TODAY so I can NOT read it tomorrow. 🙂

  7. Jenn

    So glad you announced this day — I'd never have known otherwise! It's going to be such a challenge 🙂

  8. sogugu

    I've been needing a break from technology for a while now. I got introduced to Lumia last in December of last year, and I have been hooked; taking pictures, sending emails, writing my short stories, Whatsapp, and recently, Instagram!
    Yesterday, I took a break from my phone (except for when I was taking pictures). I cooked an old favourite meal – spicy rice (we call it pilau) and zucchini and tomato stew.
    I was at the top of my office building after a great concert with a bunch of campus friends and we're meeting up for a spoken word performance with a few other after-campus friends tomorrow evening and for a poetry/writers' workshop on Sunday.
    I already have the bonfire, walk in my newish neighbourhood, quality time in a library and bus roulette on my bucket list. I love hosting and having friends over and visiting friends and staying up all night discussing literature and life.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Alison Chino

    These are great ideas! I'm trying hard to get my internet use down to an hour a day as a spring/Lent project, and it is SUPER hard. But I love the idea of doing a whole day. I also had no idea this was a thing. 🙂

  10. Laura

    I did this because I read about it on here and it happened to be on my day off- I took a two-hour walk, went thrifting, and read the entire book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. thanks for the inspiration!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Yay! That's so awesome! I got a pedi with my BFF, read a million magazines, went to the library, hung out with my dude, made 'adventure fruit salad' (from all the unidentified fruit from the Asian grocery store) and went to a dinner party!

  11. Joanna

    The movie totally doesn’t count!!! We do jigsaw puzzles with a glass of wine. Great time!

  12. Julie Friedman

    I don’t know if I’m a true blue Facebook addict… but I do find myself scrolling and scrolling. While at times there is something funny that I’m glad I saw, most of the time it makes me feel empty. I used to spend my spare minutes thoughtfully writing in my journal or drawing… but now I just have wasted time. It is sad! I’m going to try these suggestions and I must admit that the suggestion about detailing your car is true. I just did this yesterday and it feels so good!

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