10 Ways to Unplug in Our Virtual World
Updated: Jun 27
When work, school, and Netflix are all in the same place on a computer screen, it is easy to forget how to take restorative breaks. Instead of staring at a screen all day, try these 10 activities to refresh your brain, relieve your eye-strain, and reduce your stress.
1. Get Outside!
Do you own a pair of shoes, sunscreen, and an outfit to keep you cool? Great! Go out for a walk around your neighborhood, head to your local park for a run, or take your bike for a ride. Bring your friends or a dog with you, or throw on some music and go alone! Getting some Vitamin D and listening to the sounds of nature, while waving hello to the other strangers or neighbors you cross paths with can remind us that we are not just living in this virtual world. You may feel rejuvenated after, with added strength and energy to power through the rest of your day.
2. Game Night!
Uno? Go-Fish? Scrabble? There are many fun board games to play where all you need is a deck of cards and people to play with. Spend some quality bonding time with your family or friends to play your favorite card game or board game!
3. Read Read Read!
Whether you are a college student, a working parent, or an elementary school student, with school or work it can be hard to find the time to read for pleasure. What kind of books do you enjoy? Comic books? Action novels? Self-improvement books? Newspaper articles? Recipe books? If you are not the biggest fan of reading, start off with your favorite hobby or movie, and find a book that will best fit your interests.
4. Get Moving
Stretching, yoga, dance party? Wind down and clear your mind with a quick exercise. Even a short ten minute workout can get you out of your desk chair and moving your body. Throw on your favorite song or a fun summer playlist in between work meetings or classes, and bust out your best dance moves!
At Peace Camp, we begin every camp session with a peaceful meditation. By focusing on breathing patterns and peaceful thoughts, we can clear our minds of any stresses that are going on in our personal lives and the world around us. In the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic and shift to a virtual platform for most of our days, taking a breather can provide both psychological benefits and physical relief as we unwind. Try the Peace Meditation we use at our Peace Camps, or search up Headspace on YouTube to get started if you are new to meditating.
6. Cook or bake!
Are you tired of making the same meals for dinner every night? Grab a cookbook from your local bookstore, try a new online recipe, or get creative and spice things up by taking your own spin on a few of your go-to dishes. You can also use a website to input ingredients you already have at home, and receive recipes in return that use some or all of those ingredients. Make sure to write down the recipe so you can take a nice long screen break! Making food together and breaking bread with family or friends is one of my favorite ways to spend quality time with people I love. In addition to how much fun you will have making a meal or sweet treat, you will also get to eat it in the end as your hard work pays off!
7. Play an instrument!
Maybe you play piano, flute, or drums. Or maybe you don’t play any musical instruments, but have always wanted to. Luckily, you don’t need to purchase a $1,000 instrument to create music. There are many DIY instruments that you can make out of materials lying around your house. Do you have straws, cans, soda bottles, or rubber bands? I love to fill up soda bottles with different levels of water, and either use a stick to gently hit the bottles to produce different pitches, or blow directly into the bottle to create beautiful sounds.
8. Write! Journal!
Grab a notebook or a piece of paper and start writing about your day, draft your todo list, create a bucket list, or write down your short-term and long-term goals. It can be relieving to get whatever is bothering you out on paper, and I have even found it helpful to work out personal dilemmas on paper with pros and cons lists and free-flowing writing. If you don’t particularly love any of these ideas, check out these fun writing prompts to get started.
9. Write a letter to your friend
At times, the pandemic forced our world to rely solely on digital communication with anyone outside of our household. A fun activity for people of any age can be to find a penpal or write to one of your close friends, teachers, or family members. Instead of email or text, try writing and sending a physical letter with a stamp and an address! You can decorate with stickers, drawings, and fun colors. I love to send letters of gratitude to friends, and there is something about having a tangible note rather than a text, that makes mailed letters so special (especially during these pandemic times of isolation).
10.Start your Creative Project!
Is there a scrapbook you have always wanted to make? A new blog? A video slideshow for your best friend, or a cookbook of your parents’ best recipes? I recently had a blast making strings of origami cranes as decoration for my room. Find a fun project that you have always wanted to try but never went through with, and start planning, gathering materials, and executing it!
I hope this list of restorative break activities to unplug can provide some fulfillment and enjoyment for some of you. Whether you have a five minute break or a two hour break before your next screen time activity, come back to reference this list to see what you have time for and get gaming, reading, moving, meditating, cooking, writing, or creating!