There is such irony in writing an online blog about unplugging to get out to play, but with our increasing reliance on technology and time spent with our noses in our devices, it seems like an okay medium to pass on a message. Enough about the great irony of reading online about disconnecting from it all, it is now time for my point…
A main obstacle preventing people from unplugging and playing is the convenience and the availability of other types of entertainment. It seems more convenient to turn on the television, the game system, the computer, or the smart phone instead of going outside to play. You also don’t need to get dirty to watch television or play a video game. I work with youth, and what stands out the most is that passive leisure and inactivity is becoming a habit for those of us who are growing up with technology. This needs to change for the health and wellbeing of everyone.
In his research in 2008, R. Tagles said that “…the absence of direct experiences of natural environments appears to be a significant disadvantage in terms of development and health, and may also have a negative impact on the preservation of natural environments.” We need these natural spaces around, for food, for activities, for industry, for the health of the planet, and most importantly our own sanity.
I do not feel the need to preach. I do not feel the need to tell you to throw away all of your technology. I am not going to tell you to go live in the bush for a month. Feel free to do any of these things if that is what you wish. What I am here to do is to share some learning about the benefits of unstructured time in the outdoors, natural areas, things that grow, living actively, and share with you the enjoyment that can be gained from creating balance in our ever technological-focused lives.
When we try to do too many things at once, as it happens so often with technology, it takes away from our relationships, health, focus, work or school, and most importantly our overall enjoyment of what we are doing. Even what may seem like the most mundane of tasks can be enjoyable if is becomes our sole focus.
This coming Monday, March 23 is “Unplug and Play Day” used to help to recharge your soul. It is a small step to take to help to focus on enjoyment here and now as well as help to create balance.
This day is a great idea, but I say take it one step further. It is better to regularly take a little time to unplug and try just focusing on one thing. Call it “uni-tasking”. An easy way to do this is to go out and experience nature, or to visit your local recreation facility. Leave all those gadgets at home and see how enjoyable just being outside of the house looking at the environment around can be.
For some ideas, here are my top “uni-tasks” that I do here and now:
- Do some “soul skiing” by going for a day on the slopes (no music here);
- Practice some nature/outdoor photography or drawing (I’m not very good, but it is enjoyable);
- Bomb a hill on my longboard;
- Do some gardening;
- Climb a mountain, a rock face, a hill, a tree, a playground or anything I can possibly jump off;
- Find a quiet spot to read or journal;
- Simply go for a walk or long run without my phone.
I want to hear from you! What do you do to live in the here and now? How and where do you like to enjoy “uni-tasking”? Comment here!
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