At the Beach — June 27, 2014 at 5:00 am

6 Ways to Unplug This Summer

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loooby / iStock / thinkstock.com

loooby / iStock / thinkstock.com

Summer as a child was the best.

Maybe it was the fact that school was out, or maybe it was because the days included a few extra hours of light, but summer just seemed to last forever. Days were filled with bike rides with friends, endless hours by the pool or at the beach, and ice cream cone upon ice cream cone.

Of course, summer now is still fun—but it’s different. You no longer lose track of time quite as easily, since your phone always reminds you what time it is. It’s not as simple to get lost in a good book when you’ve got three text message conversations going on. Let’s be honest here: raise your hand if you’ve headed inside on a gorgeous day because the glare made it impossible to see your laptop.

It’s time to revert back to the glorious summers of our youth, summers before our lives were inundated with technological gadgets. Here’s how to unplug this summer.

Leave it at Home
Bringing your phone to the beach is a bad idea in so many ways. Where there is water, there’s water damage to your phone; where there is sand, it will find a way into all those tiny crevices. Consider who, exactly, will protect your phone from sticky fingers while you’re out splashing in the water.

Your phone is practically begging you to leave it at home, so listen to it. Think of it as the responsible thing to do: after all, you need to take care of your nice things!

Set Office Hours
If you use e-mail for work—and most of us do—it’s easy to want to sneak a peek at your inbox… which leads to quickly responding to a message… which leads to tackling one last item on the to do list…

This summer, stop the madness! Work hard and productively while you’re at work, and set limits to how often, and when, you’ll let yourself check in when you’re out of the office. Have a friend or your spouse keep you accountable—no cheating!

The Slow Socializing Movement
Stepping away from your phone can cause severe FOMO (fear of missing out). If you’re concerned about missing texts inviting you to spontaneous parties, or Facebook invites to galas on private yachts, shift your attitude. This summer, focus on building and strengthening your relationships the old fashioned way: face-to-face.

Instead of juggling several conversations at once, invite a friend over for some lemonade in the backyard. Focus on spending quality time with your friend in person. Rinse and repeat the next day with a different friend. Sure, technology is great for helping us stay in touch, but nothing is better than real life interactions!

Seek Non-Tech Activities
If a phone rings in the no-reception area of the woods, does it make a sound? Summer is the perfect time to explore off-the-grid spots in your area. Instead of reading about what other people are doing, close your laptop and go embark on your own adventures!

Substitute Screen Time
If you’re in the habit of flicking on the TV after dinner, set up a new family habit of post-dinner walks. Longer days mean that it’s often still light out, even once the dishes have been put away. Watching the sunset definitely beats watching an old rerun.

Find Like-Minded Summer Lovers
Commit to an unplugged summer with a friend, or another family that shares the same goals as you. The more, the merrier. Gather your friends and channel your inner child by heading up games of capture the flag, cheering on a local Little League team, or cooking s’mores by a campfire.

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