Unplug and unwind

Summer is almost over. All too soon, the leaves will start to turn and the nights will grow colder. Now is a great time to experience the moment and enjoy the last few days before fall.

But so often, we’re too caught up in our phones and our computers to even notice what’s happening right in front of us. 

It’s not just when we’re working either. How many times do you pull your phone out during the day when you have a little free time—waiting in line or riding the Metro, for example? Over the last ten years (since smartphones really took off), this has become commonplace, but it distracts us from being present with reality, and causes a lot of stress.

Being constantly plugged in means we’re constantly caught up in a cycle of needing to know more—whether the latest emails from work or just the news or sports scores. This means we never really get time to settle, to just say “okay, that’s enough for today.” How exhausting!

But it also means we miss out on the special beauty of the world around us. Right now, the crickets are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and the trees are still wonderfully green. Soon, all of that will be gone. That’s bittersweet to think about, if you let yourself, but also very special.

Isn’t it better to enjoy summer while it’s here, rather than look at photos of summer when it’s over?

One suggestion: set aside an hour each day where you don’t use any electronics. Better yet, put your phone on airplane mode at a certain time each evening, and don’t switch it back until you wake up in the morning. You can use that time to read a book, go for a walk, enjoy the company of loved ones, or just sit on your porch or apartment balcony and take in the feeling of slowing down and reconnecting with the rhythm of the great outdoors. 

This might feel strange at first. When we’re used to the rush of information we get daily from our phones and computers, taking that away is uncomfortable. But I promise you’re not really missing out—everything will be okay even if you don’t get up to the minute updates on the Nationals game or your Twitter feed. 

Listen to the crickets and savor the last days of summer!