Can You Unplug During the Holidays? Top 5 Ways To Try
Here are my top 5 ways to try and unplug (of course, these don't ensure success):
If you’re like me, unplugging during the holidays isn’t an easy task. Between my iPhone, iPad, MacBook, AppleTV, Boxee Box, Playstation 3 and Amazon Kindle, there’s almost always a connected device no more than 3 feet away from me. But is it possible to let go of the e-mails, apps, games and endless supply of stupid YouTube videos? Maybe.
Here are my top 5 ways to try and unplug (of course, these don’t ensure success):
- Leave your phone in your coat (or your purse): It’s tempting to keep your smartphone at your side during holiday parties, either to tweet a quick picture of someone’s awful sweater or to tune out the endless drone of your in-laws. There was once a time when nobody carried a phone on them, so there’s no reason we can’t go back to that life for one night, right? Leaving your phone where you can’t see it also can help you avoid any stress or anxiety about going back to work, which could easily be exacerbated by checking your e-mail during a heavy wine and cheese cocktail session.
- Turn off notifications and set auto-reply: Maybe you really need that phone by you for an emergency. Maybe you’re coordinating plans to pick up your folks from the airport. But whatever the case is, you’re on vacation and so turn off e-mail alerts. iOS lets you turn off badges and notifications on the Mail app. Android has similar settings. Couple that with an out-of-office auto-reply message and watch the stress melt away. It’s a convenient way to have some middle ground without completely detaching yourself from the connected world.
- Abstain from status updates: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr and whatever other exhibitionist website you’ve become enamored with can wait. Not only does status-updating pull you into the world, you’re more likely to check up on those worlds to see if anyone’s liked, commented, retweeted or favorite’d your holiday witticism. If you really need to keep technology attached to you, don’t get caught up in the social networking milieu.
- Reboot a hobby: At some point in your life, you didn’t have Netflix, an iPad or a deadline. So harken back to those good ol’ days and finish building that model airplane, or get outside and take some photographs if that’s more your style. Chances are, there’s something you’ve been neglecting to do since you’ve become caught up with that tablet in front of you. (To make this work you should ensure your connected devices are a considerable distance from the location where you’re unplugging.)
- Read a physical book: You can make the argument that Kindle isn’t that connected, but curling up by the fire with a real, paper-and-spine book actually can be a pleasant analog experience. Again, make sure your iPad, iPhone or any other device isn’t anywhere within reach. Enjoy the book for what it is, make a note of words you want to look up. Don’t tweet your progress. Definitely don’t post book quotations to your Tumblr.
Got your own tips and tricks to make the holidays less like work and more like fun? Sound off in the comments. We’d love to know.