From March 6th through 7th, 2020, sundown to sundown, it’s National Unplugging Day. This means just what it sounds like, unplugging ALL of your electronic devices for 24 hours. Yes, that may sound like an impossible thing to do—a little nuts, and quite unheard of.
It’s totally reasonable to argue that it’s just not possible. I mean, we all have jobs, family who count on us, friends who expect us to reply to texts, and then there is always the social media. What if we miss something?
Reasons why unplugging wouldn’t work for me
I can think of so many reasons why unplugging for 24 hours doesn’t seem feasible:
- What if Mom calls me? Perhaps she would worry about me.
- Important voicemails from my patients I’m expecting during that time.
- What if there’s an important opportunity waiting in my email?
- If you have a boss or you are part of a team, not checking your phone and emails is considered irresponsible.
- If all above things may not be an issue, there’s still the big question that always comes up—what on earth would I do all day when my regular default is to grab the phone for a quick check-in?
But the truth is, I can tell my mom that I won’t be checking my phone for 24 hours, my patients will call 911 if they have a true emergency, and opportunities will actually come more often when I take care of myself.
With every choice we make, we say no to another one. When I choose to scroll on social media or pick up my phone multiple times a day, I say no to something else. I say no to really feeling what I feel, to opening a book and reading for a few minutes. Or spending some quiet time in a waiting area, just observing, instead of putting my head down and burying myself in my phone.
What if unplugging is a good idea?
Here are some reasons why unplugging for 24 hours may actually be nice:
- To remember who you are without your devices (hint: you may actually like it)
- To welcome more creativity back in your life
- To really see the person next to you
- To connect with your loved ones
- To teach through example—to your kids or whoever else may be more glued to their devices than even you are
- To play more outside
- To be fully present in the moment
- To free your mind
- To free yourself from comparing
- To learn how to use your imagination
- To feel your feelings
- Lastly, to feel and offer affection to the people around you
How to unplug from your devices for 24 hours
If you want to join me, here is what I will be doing.
I will check to see if there is anything I need to do in preparation for it. For example, if there are people I tend to communicate with frequently, I will let them know about my plans. Also, if there is anything that I need to take care of in preparation for any Sunday plans, I will do that in advance. Think ahead so you don’t start worrying about it during those offline 24 hours.
On Friday night around 6 p.m., I will turn off my cell phone, computer, and iPad. I may plug them all in as an offering of love (no kidding!) and to make sure they are ready for me again in 24 hours (really the reason)! I will make sure to place them somewhere where I won’t actually see them.
A number of things may happen from there on:
- I may feel relieved and happy and go read a good book, or go for a walk.
- I may get anxiety and so it will be best to pick up a piece of paper and journal a bit.
- I’ll probably walk around aimlessly not knowing what to do with myself.
- I’ll go to bed wanting to at least set my alarm clock; then I will remind myself that tomorrow it’s Saturday, and there’s no need for an alarm clock.
- I will wake up in the morning and have nothing to reach for on my night stand; so I will be just lying there feeling the deliciousness of my warm, comfortable bed.
- I will start thinking about my day; maybe go for a hike without listening to a podcast, cook breakfast without any of the morning news in my head; spend my Saturday without knowing what anybody is doing on social media or what had landed in my inbox in the last 12 hours.
- Perhaps I will even be bored, and then some random great idea will come to me.
- …and so on!
So if you feel just a bit excited, grab a friend (or drag them along if they’re not coming willingly) and do this challenge with me. I am excited and looking forward to what those 24 hours will feel like!