BY GUEST BLOGGER JOYCELIN HUNTER
As a child, one of my favorite things was our annual family trip to Maine. We would pack up the Subaru station wagon and head out from our Connecticut suburb to spend a week in a world unspoiled. Hours dragged every time we drove up, such was my excitement to reach this place of boundless fun. And when we got there, I could not wait to frolic in the woods, chase down the seagulls on the beach, row out to our hidden island and lick the butter from my fingers after eating succulent lobster cooked in seawater retrieved from our dock. It was the epitome of getting away, disconnecting completely through an adventure unspoiled by TV, smartphones or iPads and it was wonderful.
In our modern age, we have moved so far away from the ability to disconnect. With pressures from work, school and our busy social life, it has become nearly impossible to engage with friends and family without outside distractions. Part of the reason my trips to Maine were so momentous was because it was uninterrupted family time. We played Crazy Eights until the wee hours of the night and ate saltwater taffy on the docks of Boothbay Harbor. We did everything together and there were no beeping phones to disturb our hours of easy, untroubled happiness.
As an adult now, I often feel the need to take a break from modern stressors in a concerted effort to reconnect with friends and family. If you have been feeling a bit frazzled recently, odds are you need a break, too. So, here are five suggestions on how to reconnect by disconnecting.
1. Take a trip. Just don’t go to a place that has cell phone service. Try a national park.
2. Power down. Since cell phone companies have discovered a way to make towers look like trees, there may still be service in the middle of the woods, so make sure you turn your smartphone off.
3. Go to the ocean. It doesn’t have to be picturesque or perfect, just get to the nearest place smelling of salt water and with a vast expanse of blue.
4. Bring your friends or family. Take those you hold nearest to your heart on this journey and make sure to preface it with a “no electronics” rule.
5. Don’t fret. There’s no need to worry about the parties you may be missing or the work you could be getting done. These things are inconsequential. What’s important is forgetting about the “what if” and living in the moment.
The main aim of these steps is to hit a refresher button, to get your life back on track and to slough off that layer of stress that’s constantly weighing you down. The only way to do that absolutely is to detach yourself from distractions, like the iPhone that has become so attached to you that sometimes you wake up in the morning clutching it in your hand. Another goal is to strengthen the bonds with your friends and family. It’s called quality time and it means time without diversions, time to sit down and have real, meaningful conversations.
So, start planning your adventure now and begin weaning yourself from your laptop because going cold turkey from your electronics is not as easy as it seems.
Image courtesy of Kiplinger.com