There’s hardly any space in our lives to get away from the cycle of social media, it seems like. But, many people are making a priority of unplugging for hours, or even days at a time to gain more footing at being present in their lives. But, when you decide to step away from your smartphone or laptop, it can feel like you have more time on your hands than you know what to do with (it’s an odd, ironic truth!). Here are six things you can do if you step away from your social media apps, whether it’s for a few hours or a few weeks:
Try your hand at a new skill: Maybe you’ve always wanted to become a better cook, learn to knit, or hand letter some beautiful prints. Set aside time to buy supplies, take lessons, or become skilled at something new that you’ve never tried before. One really relaxing idea is to take a cake decorating class! It’s relatively easy to start, and there are many local, free classes at most craft stores. Plus, it’s something you can turn into a business if you find it’s a true passion.
Exercise: Many people try to get in shape after New Years Day, but you can make it a lifelong habit by setting down your phone and moving your body. There are so many resources at our fingertips these days: the Beachbody app allows you to stream workouts right in the comfort of your home or on your iPad on the go, and programs like Pelaton or Orange Theory (although they are pricy), can jumpstart you to a healthy lifestyle. If you’re on a tight budget, simply try walking around your neighborhood, and ask a friend to join you.
Read: Reading is a great way to relax, reduce your stress, and also expand your mind. Make a goal of reading two books a month, and try to include a nonfiction and a fiction title to really get your imagination and brain inspired. I recommend a title like “Ghost Soldiers” or “A Place for Us”, which have been recent bestsellers online. They are both really good reads, and will spark some great discussions.
Listen to music or podcasts: While driving, music and podcasts are a great way to pass the time, and they will prevent you from texting and driving! We recommend putting your phone in a stand or clip, or in your cupholder and using Bluetooth to remain hands-free and safe on the road. If you’re looking for a great new podcast, try searching in the Apple store for the featured and new ones, which are often filled with reviews and ratings that can help you choose the one for you!
Have coffee with a friend: If you step away from social media, you may find you have more time for your authentic, real relationships. I love having coffee with a good friend every few weeks, and making time to slow down, hear about their life, and catch up on the latest happenings in person, instead of just through texts or Instagram. Aim for a coffee date once a month to maintain those precious relationships in your life!
Do something kind: A random act of kindness is a great way to use any free time you may have. Some ideas are: making dinner for a friend or family member who is ill and delivering it to their house. If you don’t know how to cook, takeout works perfectly. Bring coffee to someone going through a hard time or experiencing a loss. Write a thank you note to a teacher or a mentor in your life, and thank them for being part of your life. Visit an elderly neighbor and ask if you can help run errands or do a household task for them. Doing something unexpected and kind for someone can not only improve their life, it can really boost your own happiness and joy.
Social media can be awesome and fun, but it can also rob us of our time and cause us to compare one another’s lives and accomplishments! Unplugging from time to time can remind us to be thankful for what we have, and invest in the people and community around us.