Are you stressed out? Have you been stressed recently? Odds are, you answered yes. My advice to you? Toss the technology! These days, technology has infiltrated our lives. Mail travels at light-speed, computers connect us to friends on the other side of the globe, our cars can talk, play movies, and give us directions. The leaps modern technology has made in the past decades are incredible. However, along with all of these advancements comes a downside. Everyday, we are bombarded by screens, from our houses, to our workplaces, to our cars, and beyond. Often we are trying to use three of these devices at once! The world is being experienced on an increasingly virtual level and, although you may not realize it, all of that technology and multi-tasking can really take a toll on your stress levels.
In ancient times, humans did not have to multi-task. Life moved at a much more leisurely pace, allowing more time to be invested into creativity, the arts, exploration, and deep contemplation. We are hardwired to thrive when given adequate time for free thinking, and by taking a brief vacation from technology, we can make more room in our lives for creativity. As impossible as it may sound, you can reap some serious benefits by ditching the devices for a day. Spending one entire day “unplugged” can boost both your creativity and happiness, while lowering your stress levels.
Think you can’t do it? Here are some easy tips on how to clear your mind and reconnect with nature.
1. Unplug. Most importantly, power down all your electronic devices if you can. That means releasing your death grip on smart phones, MP3 players, tablets, televisions, computers, and pretty much anything else with a screen. It will be tough at first, but you will realize how liberating it is after the first few hours. Email friends and colleagues well beforehand, so that they know you will be out of reach and can plan ahead in order to avoid any unnecessary stress the next day.
2. Revisit Old Hobbies. Do something you used to enjoy, but haven’t had time to pursue. I used to love drawing, for instance, and making time to include that in my day every once in a while really cheers me up. Other ideas include pottery, gardening, playing sports, hiking, yoga/dance, or anything else that used to spark your passion.
3. Take Time to Cook. Try making a meal entirely from scratch. We can get so caught up in our hectic lives that we neglect proper meals and usually end up opening a frozen packaged dinner. Not only will a homemade meal taste better, but it will also be more nutritious! Think homemade pasta with fresh tomato sauce or oven-roasted chicken with rosemary potatoes and pan-seared brussels sprouts. Sound delicious? Try enjoying dinner by candlelight to get the full experience!
4. Return to Nature. This day is about returning to your natural, unstressed state, so try to get into nature as much as you can. Maybe take in some night gazing with a special someone. There is no better way to make your problems seem insignificant than by stargazing. Take in the sheer vastness of the universe and your work issues will bear much less pressure. Hiking can be another great way to take in nature and some exercise. You could spend time in your garden, take a walk through the park, or do more serious hiking on a nearby mountain range. Either way, breathing in the fresh air and listening to the sounds of chirping birds is a great way to reboot.
5. Pamper Yourself. Grab a good book (stick with a real book for a true “unplugged” experience), take a luxurious bath, or go get a massage. Including some yoga or meditation can be a great way to release your body and your mind.
Returning to a simpler life for one mere day can do wonders to clear your mind and reinvigorate old passions. Give it a try!
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