My husband and I desperately need to go on a vacation. Do we go to Costa Rica? Just north up to San Francisco? Back to the east coast? But due to some changes in my husband’s work, vacation 2017 is temporarily on hold. So to tide myself over, I planned a mini unplugged technology-free staycation.
Why an unplugged staycation?
I feel like I’m always going a mile a minute. And being an entrepreneur, I don’t have set hours. Which often means I work ALL the time. Seriously, don’t become and entrepreneur if you think it will be easier working for yourself. You’ll expect more out of yourself than any employer ever would.
I often feel like I’m always on and always connected. Which is where the desire for an unplugged staycation arose. I craved getting back to basics. And I realized I could never take time for myself if I’m still connected to everyone and everything else. Technology-free it had to be.
My unplugged, technology-free staycation only lasted a weekend. But it was long enough to find things out about myself and my life that I needed to hear. When I turned off the noise around me, I could actually listen.
I made a list of rules for my unplugged staycation
- Talk/Text (but only for urgent matters)
Hurts so good – The results
What were the results of my unplugged staycation? I’d love to tell you it was all sunshine and rainbows. But that wasn’t the case. I often found myself annoyed and bored. But this was actually a good lesson.
Because I’d forgotten how to just be. There were times as a kid when there wasn’t anything on TV, no friends around, and I had to entertain myself. But moments like that don’t happen now. There’s always a show to stream or a story to scroll. My free moments are always filled
So pulling away technology was like pulling away a security blanket. It hurt and was uncomfortable. And I realized that relying on technology had allowed me to lose pieces of myself. My staycation absence of technology made me hyper-aware of the empty space.
What could I do to fill the time? How did I need to adjust my habits to adapt to being unplugged. I didn’t have all the answers going into this technology vacuum. But here’s what I recommend for next time (And there will be a next time.)
Tips to have the best technology getaway
*Make a wish list of unplugged activities. Think beyond sitting on the couch. Without technology, you’re going to need something to fill the time. Plan ahead so you’ve got things set up on game day. It’s a no-brainer to do this for kids. Don’t forget to do it for yourself as well.
*Take time for meditation. Technology addiction often masks stress and a busy, talkative mind. So meditating helps support your stress in a healthier way.
*Listen to nature. I live in a city and this one can be hard. But even I can find pockets of nature if I try hard enough. As you sit in nature, stop and listen to the sounds around you. There’s something so grounding about this one.
*Plan a celebratory meal. Hey, without technology, you might actually talk to those around you. So make it a celebration. Why do we only share big meals on holidays and special occasions. This is perfect for any time you want to stop and savor the people and space around you.
The main lesson from my technology-free staycation
I really needed this, but it wasn’t easy. So much of life today is about technology. I didn’t realize how much of my life revolved around this false sense of being connected. When I unplugged, the first thing I became painfully aware of was silence.
And as I walked into the silence, my discomfort grew. I needed to learn a new way of being. Something I’d understood as a child, but had quickly forgotten. By going back to basics, I learned a lot about what I was ignoring in my own existence. Which taught me about how to live a technology filled existence better.
Flossie McCowald | SuperMomHacks says
This sounds like a great idea. I can imagine how hard it was for you. I regularly do this a few weeks a year, not because I absolutely HAVE to, but because I don’t want to miss time in the moment with (say) family whom I have to travel across the country (or to another country even!) to visit with! 🙂
Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh says
I love this! We go unplugged from time to time, for a day, or afternoon. I however love the idea of a few days in vacation mode!
This is great and a wonderful idea to take a break from social media and technology! Enjoy a family day of outdoors and board games. Relax and listen to music.
Angela Tolsma says
I love that you mention how hard it was. Turning off the electronics is not easy, we allow ourselves to be filled up with it. But disconnecting can be so good. I tend to do one day a month where I touch nothing electronic except my phone to respond to select people only. I really enjoy that day.
Di Hickman says
A couple of years ago I was doing this weekly. Sundays were techfree days. No social media, no checking my phone (unless urgent) and no computer. I need to start doing this again!
Amber Nelson says
I find it so hard that we are now in the day in age that we are taking time away for our electronics, that it has gotten to this point! So crazy to me!
RoseMary Griffith says
Bravo to unplugging and getting so much out of it, Erica.
I’m a country girl stuck in suburbia and get absolutely antsy and grumbly when I can’t get into nature. I don’t wear my iPod when I’m weeding, I just listen to all the neighborhood sounds around me–even if it’s made up of mowers and weed whackers. Just this morning, reading with the windows open, there was a bird singing the funniest song.
Thanks for reminding me that we can unwind without electronics!
Ayana Pitterson says
This is something we ALL must do, more often than not. I tend to giving myself a break from technology a couple of hours on the weekend but to spend a lengthy period is amazing. I am going to add this as something to do before the end of the year. Thanks for the inspiration.
Angela @marathonsandmotivation.com says
That sounds heavenly! I really need to unplug more and will give this a try, but I know it will be tough for me!!
I totally feel you here. Being an entrepreneur and not having the set time of the day to finish is quite a stress. Unplugging myself from technology seems to be hard at times, it almost feel like my body and mind is addicted to it. I do a 10 minutes a day for meditation and it seems to work. This is such a great read and a good reminder for all your readers.
Lori Bosworth says
Every blogger needs an unplugged staycation. I try and schedule moments throughout my day where I am unplugged such as sitting outside in our garden.
Amy Poulton - Page Traveller says
This is such a great idea! I’m desperate to unplug, but between my job in social media (multiple clients), my blog and my personal use of social media to keep up with friends and family while travelling – it feels impossible!
Such a great idea to unplug. So often all the electronics keep us away from actually communicating with each other. Wish more people would unplug sometimes
Jen S says
I really like cutting myself off from technology now and then. It makes me feel so much better and centered after a few days!
I recently went on a vacation to a place with absolutely no cell service or electricity and it was one of my favorite trips ever! I think taking time to be unplugged is so important with how much we rely on our technology every day. I think a staycation would be hard with the temptation right there!
This is something I need to do for myself! I always say I’ll do it and it never happens. But reading posts like this give me more encouragement! Way to go!
Emily Smith | The Best of this Life says
I love this! I recently had an unplugged week and my family and I spent it in nature – swimming, hiking, and eating locally. I find when you have a few planned activities it helps 🙂
Cindy Ingalls says
It’s crazy how dependent we’ve become on our tech. Sometimes I long for the days when we didn’t have phones and tablets, and the internet. It is hard to unplug and just be but sometimes you just have to take a breather.
This is awesome! I love the days when I disconnect from my laptop. You know it was a good day especially when you were out and about that when you get home and don’t even have any urge to open it or check media.
It always feels good to unplug from technology every now and then! Especially since we’re so dependent on it in this day and age.
Shannon Gurnee says
It sounds like you had an amazing time on your unplugged staycation. I’ve tried it before and it’s hard at first, but then really enjoyable afterwards.
This is such a good idea! I love this! I’m always about shutting off the technology and spending more time as a family.