This post is brought to you by Wood, Naturally
Have you ever heard of the National Day of Unplugging?
It’s a day dedicated to reminding people to unplug, unwind, and focus on things other than our phones, computers, TVs, and the internet and it’s coming up this Friday, March 9th.
The goal of the National Day of Unplugging is to detach ourselves from our devices for an entire 24 hours and instead focus, engage with, and enjoy the “real” world we live in! Does it sound hard to you?
I think many of us have become so used to and dependent upon our phones and computers, that it can be quite a challenge. But there are huge benefits that make the effort worth it. Taking time away from our devices means that we have time to enjoy a slower and more calm start to our day. We don’t wake up with digital “noise” and we have time to prepare and eat healthier meals. We are much less distracted and are better able to focus on the work ahead of us and to interact and talk to our coworkers and family members. In addition, unplugging has been shown to improve your overall feelings of health, wellness, and quality of life.
Do you think you can do it? I’m going to try, and here’s how…
Park your devices!
First of all, we are each going to “park” out devices and put them away; out of sight, out of mind!
I found this cute little unfinished pine crate at my local dollar store, so we are going to keep it in our command closet for parking our devices when we unplug as a family.
Next, we plan to get outdoors!
One of the ways that I always feel the most recharged when I “unplug” is by getting outside. If the weather is even halfway decent, we love to get out for a family walk and get some fresh air in the nearby forest trails. During the cooler months, we also enjoy having a fire outdoors and spending time together as a family with nature around us.
While spending time in nature has been shown to improve everything from memory, inflammation, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and stress; the sense of health and wellness that comes from being in and around trees and forests can be replicated in our homes by including wood elements in our décor.
Change your view
For the National Day of Unplugging, take in a view instead of a screen. Even if you can’t get outside, just having a view of nature through the windows has been shown to reduce stress and improve our sense of wellness. Unplugging and getting in touch with the natural world are awesome ways to ground yourself and recharge from our overly stimulated, busy, digital lives.
And including natural elements, such as wood, inside and outside our home has also been found to have a positive effect on our ability to relax. We used cedar for our soffits on our lake front deck, and I find the warmth of the wood gives a much calmer, cozy feel to our view than the old metal soffits did.
Take Time for Play
We’ve all heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine”. But did you know that play actually goes hand in hand with that? Play, even as adults, is actually really important to our mental health and well-being. And by play I most certainly don’t mean video games! Take time during the National Day of Unplugging to relax, unwind, and allow yourself to play in whatever way that means for you.
Do something creative, go for a walk or a bike ride without a destination, build something with your children or grandchildren. Whatever it is, just make sure that it’s not goal-oriented. It’s within moments of play that we remember how to be spontaneous, creative, and to enjoy life away from all the digital stimulation that our brains are normally bombarded with. Play restores us and brings us a sense of calm and tranquility, much like including natural elements into our home does. Biophilic design teaches us that including wood, water, sunlight, and plants in our décor can restore our sense of health and wellness much in the same way that diet, sleep, and exercise improve our health.
Prepare a meal together
You rush home from work/school, unpack all the lunch kits and wash the dishes, try to cram in meal prep and cooking, feed the family quickly and get the kids back out for whatever activity they have that evening.
With our busy, often over-scheduled family lives these days it can seem impossible to squeeze in cooking together and enjoying a leisurely meal together as a family. And it’s even more hectic when we are constantly distracted in the process incoming texts, messages, notifications, and emails. Park your phone or device and focus on the task at hand. Include your children in the meal prep, instead of sending them off to watch TV or play on their tablet.
Research shows that by including children in meal prep, you will set the stage for them valuing the process of creating and eating healthy meals together as a family in their own later lives. Which brings me to my next idea for enjoying the National Day of Unplugging… eat together as a family!
Eat as a family (without distractions)
Our dining table is our favourite spot to spend time together as a family. We use it for sit down dinners together as often as possible, which isn’t every night with the kid’s busy activity schedule. Unplugging from tech, preparing a meal together, and sitting down and eating and enjoying what you’ve prepared is the perfect way to reconnect and recharge.
Our dining table is even more special because my Dad built it out of eastern pine boards with beautiful pine farmhouse style table legs. We stained it with a weathered oak colour that adds a richness and warmth while still feeling airy and coastal. Located directly between our kitchen and living room, our dining table is truly the center of our family living space and the natural pine adds a welcoming, cozy, and calm feel to our home that I believe is due to the warmth of the wood. It’s the one piece in our home that I would be loath to part with!
Well, do you think you can do it?
I actually can’t wait to see how it goes! I’m a bit nervous about the process of actually unplugging for an entire day, but I think the benefits of trying it make it worthwhile. There is real science behind the benefits of unplugging, just as there is real science behind the benefit of incorporating wood into our homes.