If you’re attempting a digital detox for the first time, your WiFi unexpectedly goes out, or you're going to be stranded in a dead zone at some point in the future, it's always good to have some offline activities in your back pocket. Believe it or not, spending a little time offline isn't as terrible as it sounds and can actually be pretty fun.
If you're anticipating to go off the grid any time soon, here's some ways to enjoy it.
1. Read a book — like an actual, printed, paper book
There's a lot of research out there suggesting that all of the time we spend online reading (mostly) short-form content is changing our brain's ability to understand and absorb long-form written content. Do you ever find yourself having to re-read a paragraph seven times before its meaning finally sinks in? You can blame your phone for that.
When you’re doing your digital detox, take some time to flex your old-school reading muscle. Pick up an actual book from the dusty collection on your shelf or from the library, and give it a read.
You might be surprised at how good it feels to turn those pages.
2. Spend quality time with your friends and family
With your phone firmly out of sight, consider spending some quality time with your friends and family. Our online relationships are great, but there is still a lot to be said about the power of a face-to-face connection. Plus, it will remind you what your family members look like, which will come in handy.
Make a meal together. Chat about each other’s lives. Reminisce about your childhood. Argue over politics. Just be together — fully present.
3. Go outside
If you live in North America, you’re likely enjoying the warmer weather of the summer. There’s no better way to spend your time on a digital detox than outside, in nature. Being outside is the natural antidote to fluorescent lighting and stuffy offices and classrooms. Connecting with nature can help to reduce your levels of stress and help you sleep better. That’s a win-win if you ask me!
It doesn’t matter if you live in a city with limited access to green space or in a rural area with nature as far as the eye can see. You will almost certainly be able to find a park or walking trail near you that is just begging to be explored.
4. Notice the world around you
Without your phone or laptop glued to your face, you've got some time to play a little game called looking around. Whenever you’re out and about, take 10 seconds and count five things about your surroundings you’ve never noticed before. With this new tech-free perspective, you’ll probably be able to come up with more than five, but it’s a good start.
"But Britt, why does noticing your surroundings matter?" Well, friends, our world is wide and wonderful. Even if you only notice something small, like a bird cooing on a park bench, that can have a positive impact on your day.
Our world is wide and wonderful. Even if you only notice something small, like a bird cooing on a park bench, that has a positive impact on your day.
5. Play board games — the complicated, old school kind
Depending on your age, you may have spent lots of lazy summer afternoons and evenings playing board games with your friends and family. But there's actually some positive science to it — board games are a great way to stimulate the problem solving parts of your brain that turn off when you’re mindlessly scrolling through social media.
And yes, a lot of games are now available on your phone — but does it even count as playing Monopoly if you don’t get to fight over the paper money?
Dust off an old game, order a new one (there are some really fun ones out there), or make an afternoon out of it and head to a trendy board game cafe.
6. Rest and relax
There's a lot to be said for doing in our society. Keeping busy is highly revered as a sign of success and productivity. However, something that we need to pay more attention to and make more time for is resting and relaxing. And this doesn’t need to be some Instagram-worthy fest of expensive candles and bubble baths.
Something that we need to pay more attention to and make more time for is resting and relaxing.
Spend some time doing whatever makes your heart happy. Maybe that’s something already mentioned in this list. Whatever it is, if it helps give you a little bit of mental reset, you’re on the right track.
Despite what it feels like, there are lots of things to do when we’re not staring at our phones, tablets and laptops. Sure, phones are basically mini-supercomputers with access to pretty much all of the world’s knowledge, but that doesn’t mean we need to spend all of our time there.
Whether you’re embarking on a digital detox soon, or you're due for a WiFi outage, spend some time thinking about what you’re going to do when you don’t have access to your tech. Use this list as a starting point and go from there — the possibilities are only as endless as your imagination.
Britt is the founder of Tiny Ambitions, a blog, podcast, and creative community where she explores simple, minimalist living. Her journey into minimalism and simple living began in 2014 when she donated, sold, and recycled most of her belongings in favor of a less cluttered life. Her blog and Tiny Bites podcast share personal stories like these about her experiences as a minimalist and how others can take the plunge. It's through her podcast where the Flipd team discovered Britt, and she's been one of our leading ambassadors ever since.
Want to become a Flipd ambassador like Britt? Here's how.