Life is good when you’re off the grid.
Not only does constant connectivity negatively affect your sleep, it also can take a toll on your mental health and can lead to workplace burnout. Ditching your devices gives your brain a much-needed rest.
In honor of the annual National Day of Unplugging — which begins at sundown Friday, March 4 and ends at sundown Saturday, March 5 — we’ve rounded up a list of activities you can do without your devices. The best part? They all benefit your well-being. Check them out before powering down this weekend.
1. Go for a walk outside.
It’s good for your mood and your mind. Research shows walking in nature may ease depressive symptoms. Giving your brain a break and spending time outdoors might help you retain information better. Plus: It’s a hardcore exercise.
2. Play with your pet.
3. Take a trip down memory lane.
Go through old photos — no, not the ones in your camera roll — and let yourself reminisce about years past. Research suggests nostalgia boosts feelings of optimism.
It’s not only good for the community, it’s good for your health as well. Volunteering has been linked to a longer life and reduced stress. Research also shows that acts of kindness boost your happiness levels.
5. Share a meal with loved ones.
Log some real face time with your BFFs at lunch or take your parents out to dinner, distraction free. Research shows shared meals can increase connection and have a host of other health benefits.
6. Try a new exercise class.
Or if that’s not your thing, a new workout. Getting active is one of the best things you could do for yourself mentally and physically. Go to Zumba, run a new route or try exercising with a partner.
7. Write in a journal.
Scribble down what you’re grateful for (it boosts your outlook!) or just jot down how you’re feeling. It’s also a cathartic outlet: Research shows that writing down negative thoughts and physically throwing them away can help clear your mind.
8. Head to a museum.
Immerse yourself in culture and learn something new about art or history at a local museum. Research suggests that learning can lead to better longevity. Education doesn’t have to remain inside of a college campus.
9. Throw a dance party.
It not only boosts your mood, it’s also a great form of cardio. Shake it off, salsa it out or bust a move. You’ll be surprised at how much more energetic you feel once it’s over.
Sit in silence. The activity can leave you feeling less stressed, positively change your brain and make you more compassionate if practiced regularly. Today may be the day you finally start a meditation routine — and stick to it.
11. Try your hand at coloring.
Coloring is no longer just for kids. The activity has been shown to reduce stress and relax your mind. Pick up those pencils and start getting creative.
12. Cook a meal.
What better time to try a challenging recipe than when you actually, you know, have time? Not only that, you’ll be consuming fewer calories and eating healthier. Try one of these mouthwatering recipes.
13. Go for a long drive.
There’s nothing like the mental clarity that comes with getting behind the wheel, playing some powerful tunes and just hitting the road. Bonus? You won’t have the slightest urge to text and drive.
14. Do some people watching.
You never know what kind of connection you could make when you’re not staring at your screen. Cultivating a sense of curiosity about the world and the people around you may benefit your emotional health.
15. Plan a vacation.
Make those Hawaii fantasies a reality or finally live up to your promise to visit a friend. Research shows that planning trips makes you happier and the anticipation before your departure can also up your joy levels.
16. Do some yoga.
Try a few sun salutations or just a few simple stretches. Either way, you’re helping your health. Research shows the practice has some serious mind-body benefits. Namaste to that.
17. Read a book.
Lose yourself in a narrative that takes you away from your current reality. There are plenty of perks to reading: Studies show it can relax you and keep your brain sharp. You’ll be surprised that you don’t do it more often.
18. Revamp your sleep space.
Hit the pillow in style and comfort. Transform your bed by replacing your pillows, picking out comfortable sheets and making your bed. It’ll make you happier and you’ll actually look forward to crawling in at the end of the night, promise.
19. Take up knitting.
Up your homemade wardrobe game. Experts say that crafts like knitting can lure you in a meditative state. A new scarf and total relaxation? Score.
20. Play a game.
Forget Candy Crush. Gather with your friends and play a game that totally entertains you: charades. Get ready to laugh and then reap its health benefits, like lower blood pressure and improved mood.
21. Watch the sun set.
Immerse yourself in a moment of awe. Research suggests that periods of wonder can boost your emotional well-being. Take in the sunset without Instagramming it.
22. Do some spring cleaning.
Clear your mind by clearing your closet. If you’re feeling super organized, try the Marie Kondo method, which encourages you to only keep items that spark joy.
23. Teach yourself a new language.
OK, this may be a little ambitious, but when else are you going to start? Bonus points if you try this activity in the evening: Research shows you better retain information when you learn it at night. Say “bonjour” to a new skill.
24. Go to sleep.
No devices means no chance for interrupted rest. Research shows that phones can mess with your sleep. The act can improve every aspect of your life, so you may as well log a few extra Zs while you’re off the grid. You may be so relaxed after it’s over that you’ll never want to power back on — and we don’t blame you.