National Day of Unplugging

Somewhere in the beginning of my day, I reach for my phone … from my bed. That’s what starts my workday, I mean, my actual day. 

The Betty Crocker version of myself says: Read today’s Bible verse, gather the top 5 cycling news stories, check any pending charges, see what work communications have popped in overnight, what edits need to be made, etc. 

This is all during my first morning bathroom visit. The truth is, if we keep it real with ourselves is we are “plugged in” almost all the time even in the least unexpected places.  

As a WFH graphic designer, mom of 3 boys, and CEO of a unique hybrid-model banding and digital marketing firm, ‘the veil’ of both work and home life is as thin as prosciutto and often just as salty as you maneuver between the two.

For merit, when #NationalDayofUnplugging  poked its head around the corner last year,  I encouraged my kids to unplug themselves from tech for the day.  I decided to practice what I preached and participated in learning how to unplug myself from my typical 9 to 9 job, which is relies heavily on technology.

Cue “Gangster Paradise.” 

Minute after minute, hour after hour. 

How do I do this?

I had to think of a quick plan. That day taught me a lot and I adopted the following boundaries for myself.

  • Set the vacation responder asap. I literally set it and forget it with realistic steps on how to reach my team for emergencies only.
  • Leave my techie fishbowl. Can’t grow if you don’t go! I physically leave the space that I work in and don’t go anywhere near it while ‘unplugging’.
  • Get outside. Seeing and feeling green space actually relaxes our brain chemically. Walk, stare, and breathe deep. The longer you take a break the more refreshed you feel coming back to your desk.
  • Read a book or play a strategy game. Physical crossword puzzles, word search books, cornhole, even Uno can help our brain relax but also awaken other areas of our brains not used or reached when working. 

Some of the challenges I faced before realizing there was a need to unplug was moodiness and irritability. I would feel “sucked in ” and not see other options other than to keep feeling “sucked in” till whatever it was, was done.  The real tell-tell sign was a lot of hours being busy but not productive. That’s when I knew that I needed  to get up and get out, stat. 

This rule applies more scrupulously to my growing kids ranging from 16 to 2 years old.

I remember telling my children the first day they got their iPhone SE’s that “this is a tool not a toy”. And it stayed with them … for the first year. Over time they’d reach for the latest Youtube reaction videos and gameplay review the same way they reach for the household toilet paper; same spot, different day. 

I try to give technology a balanced view from the start by establishing a level of common trust and responsibility to not abuse the access they’ve been given. If they can’t follow the rules, they can’t have access. I’m that parent with my thumb on the router password. Yes, I can even suspend a phone line quicker than I can make PB&J. (I beta tested.)

In the end, balance is truly in the eye of the beholder. For us that’s systematic time limits, no stream gaming on their phones but they can watch appropriate YT shorts and TikTok videos. 

Maybe for you that’s more… or less structure. No judgment here from what works best for you, your child/ren and your nucleus values. But whatever you choose, stick to it. 

Game on for a true National Day of Unplugging!

Picture of octane


Creative, multi-business owner, published author, wife and mom of 3. Book Danielle to speak at www.daniellemeadowsstinnett.com.

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