Put The Phone Down: Why You Should Unplug On the National Day of Unplugging

March 3, 2021

by Amanda Etkind


Are you constantly looking at your phone screen during the day? Do you spend hours scrolling through Instagram, watching TikTok, and texting your friends? Do you pretty much document every outing you go on i.e. taking that obligatory mimosa pic with friends at brunch? Lastly, did you answer yes to all of the above? Because, same. We totally understand the desire to stay in-the-know with what’s going on with friends, family, and just social media in general, but spending your life buried in your iPhone is hindering your ability to foster real connections and memories with the non-digital world. Not only that, but endlessly scrolling can have a negative impact on your mental health (and your skin, but more on that later), leaving you drained, anxious, and depressed. If you’ve been looking for a way—or rather a reason—to unplug, now’s your chance. National Day of Unplugging is approaching, and honestly we’re here for it. This 24-hour period (from sundown to sunset) starting on March 5 calls for putting your phones, tablets, and laptops away and spending time relaxing, unwinding, and truly enjoying those around you. 


The idea of unplugging is really nothing new, and actually stems from an age-old Jewish tradition that takes place on the Sabbath. In 2009, after realizing the mental health implications of constantly being on your phone, the Jewish arts and culture non-profit Reboot, (dedicated to affirming Jewish traditions that everyone can apply — in this case, the value of slowing down and enjoying a Sabbath) created this national holiday in an effort to help everyone slow down. This special 24-hour period was designed to help you reconnect with your surroundings and stop relying on your phones for entertainment, validation, and happiness. After 10+ years of unplugging, this once small gathering of tech-free Shabbat dinner has transformed into a wide-spread unplugging. To help celebrate this special day, we’re sharing meaningful ways you can take part and take a break from social media. 


Keep Your Phone Locked Away
We know this sounds hard, but hear us out. Putting your phone in a drawer or tucking it away can help you truly relax and unwind without being tempted to look at it. If you’re worried about FOMO, don’t be. Just let your loved ones know that you'll be participating in this day, and not to contact you unless there is an emergency.


Prioritize Movement
Another great way to connect your mind, body, and soul is to get movin’. Go on a walk, take a workout class, or do a mid-day living room dance party. With all the great new music coming out, we’ll probably do the latter, honestly. 


Get Outdoors
Whether you have a yard, balcony, front steps, or just want to explore a new park or area in your town, soaking up the great outdoors any way you can is amazing for your mind, body, and spirit. Plus, tuning out and tuning into nature can inspire and reinvigorate your creativity. 


Spend Uninterrupted Time With Loved Ones
Raise your hand if you’re guilty of being on your phones when you’re in the presence of family and friends. Since we’re all probably raising our hands right now, use this time to really connect with your family and friends. 


Get Down in The Kitchen
You may not be Ina Garten, but there’s no reason you can’t throw down in the kitchen. Rather than ordering takeout or whipping up the same old thing, try a new recipe for dinner, or bake that dreamy three-tiered red velvet cake that’s been taking up space on your Pinterest board. Regardless of the outcome, it’ll be fun—and will certainly take your mind off of not being glued to your phone. 


Do A Puzzle, Board Game Or A Card Game
Whether a 1,000-piece puzzle, Candy Land, Go Fish, Monopoly or Connect Four, we all remember playing these games at our friends' houses growing up. Why not make new memories with these classic games? If there’s anything to take away from this day, it’s that you can still have fun while you’re unplugged. 


Start A New Book
Reading is a great way to entertain yourself without being hooked up to a tablet, phone, or TV. Pick a book that’s been on your list for a while and get reading. You can even make this a challenge with friends and have a discussion after you’ve finished the book. 


Meditating is a fantastic way to reconnect with yourself, but in our always-on society, it’s definitely hard to do. Use this day to start your meditation journey. Even if you’re just able to do so for 5, 10, or 20 minutes, you’ll feel better after and ready to take on the day. If you need a little inspo, try these four easy tips


Clean Up Your Space
Now’s your chance to let your Pinterest-loving self take the reins. If you’ve been putting off tidying up your surroundings, use Marie Kondo as your muse and take this opportunity to do so. Even if you can’t clean your entire space, use this time to pick one area of your home to get organized. After you’re done cleaning and decluttering, make a bin to donate to those who could use those items more than yourself. 


We hope you’ll take this opportunity to unplug—your mind, body, soul, and skin will thank you.