Are you ready for a digital detox?

Which screen are you reading this on? The small one in your hand, the medium one on your desk? Will you turn on the big one on your wall after you’re done? Now that it has gotten cold out and it gets dark early, it feels hard to take a break from all of these screens, but maybe we need to now more than ever. Increased time engaging with technology, whether it’s work, scrolling through social media, or catching up on shows, can decrease our ability to concentrate for long periods of time, increase feelings of isolation, and affect overall mental health. 

It’s unrealistic to propose that you cut all ties with technology, but I’d like to challenge you to be more mindful about when and how you use it. Give yourself a shot at a digital detox this December.

Here are some screen-free ideas to get excited about:

Read a great novel. Naturally, since I am a librarian, that’s my first recommendation. With a book, you can get lost in another world. PPL staff can help you find your next great read.

Try an activity book. You can explore coloring for relaxation, a maze, or a complicated dot-to-dot. Princeton’s local bookstores, jaZams and Labyrinth, carry a great variety.

Write. Send letters to your friends, start a gratitude journal, put your novel idea down on paper, or create a book of lists

Cook or bake. It’s pretty hard to get stuck in a screen when your hands are covered in flour! In addition to the wide variety of books available, you can see some of our staff’s recommended blogs, recipe sites, and more via Beyond the Stacks.

Learn a new hobby. Winter is a popular time to learn needlework like knitting or crocheting and you can explore a number of art and craft videos with your PPL card on Creativebug. Whether you’d prefer to juggle or explore a new instrument, the sky’s the limit if you search our catalog for anything that interests you.

Get organized. If, like me, you have gotten addicted to home organizing shows like “The Home Edit” or “Tidying Up,” maybe it’s time to find the things that spark joy in your closet and colorize your pantry. 

Practice mindfulness. Using techniques like guided meditation, controlled breathing, grounding, or yoga, you can reduce stress and relax. I recommend reading “Kintsugi Wellness.”

Now that you’re excited to try some screen-free activities, here are some tips to help you commit:

Plan ahead. Decide if you want to go screen-free the first hour of your day, during meals, after dinner, or during pre-determined break times. It might help to set an alarm or schedule the time on your calendar. Even small breaks during the day for mindfulness or doodling can make a big impact. 

Have an accountability buddy. Make the commitment with your partner, family or a friend. Share with others that you’ll be disconnecting or that you are making a commitment to spend less time in front of a screen. Other people can encourage and help you while you are trying something new. 

Lastly, if you’re not quite ready to begin, check out some of these books to guide you.

Photo by fotografierende from Pexels

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