In light of Arianna"s new book club pick, Carl Honoré's In Praise of Slowness, the HuffPost community offers its thoughts on how to slow down and recharge.
For the most part, I keep the onslaught of extraneous information at bay by circumscribing my online time. Then, for a quick local unplug, I go to yoga class. When breathing and not falling down become your top priorities, you pretty much obliterate all the stuff in your head that doesn't matter. Running works, too.
But the ultimate unplug is travel. I go somewhere the gizmos just plain don't work and commune directly with the Earth and the people on it. Sedona was good for that, as was my jaunt through the Baltic states.
To unplug, I head to the wilderness where I don't have cell coverage, as my iPhone goes with me most places. To totally unplug you'll find me in a forest where I can breathe in the fresh mountain air, or on the bow of a sailboat in the Caribbean with the salt spray on my face. When circumstances don't allow for either, closing my eyes and going there for 15 minutes in my mind works for a quick refresher too.
Whenever I need to fill up on some good old soul fuel, I partake of the following (usually in this order): a yoga class, counting my blessings to broaden my perspective, a glass of pinot grigio and the inspiration to write a passable poem in my black book.
I'm learning to fly fish. I have seen folks out there with their blackberries and phones, but because I can be a little clumsy, I always put mine in the wet bag and as a result get to enjoy some unplugged time. What's more, many of the places I've gone fishing don't even get service - it's pretty powerful to be in parts of the US (as well as the rest of the world) and not get service. It reminds me of where we've come and where we may be headed. I like being unplugged and recharging. I see my world just a little bit differently, and hopefully that helps me to help others see the possibility too.
The key to recharge for me, is total removal from the barrage of information that is work. Which means getting out of the city and as close to nature as possible. In my case it is next to a bird sanctuary on Long Island in two small cottages. It's a delightfully quiet, calm place. Nature for me, is the key to gaining perspective and regeneration.
How do I unwind? My bio says it all, "Julia kayaks as often as possible on Georgian Bay".
Georgian Bay is a place as far, far away from the work world as I can get - but is still within easy driving distance of my home. It's part of the Great Lakes, off Lake Huron. And I particularly like to paddle out of Killarney, which is the most beautiful place in the world (a claim I take quite seriously - I've added a note to my will, ensuring that my ashes will be scattered there).
It's hard to get me offline, since I'm doing periodic customer service from roughly 8 a.m. to maybe 10 p.m. or later . . .Offline, I'm probably meeting friends, maybe at Reverie Cafe in [San Francisco] or otherwise reading or watching TV. I read about a book per week or so, mostly genre stuff, and there's some TV I like a lot.
I usually run, paint, or help Livy [Livia, his wife, a self-described "wildlife rehabber"] -- sometimes I go with her when she releases a wild animal she has rehabilitated back to health.
I read a good deal of fiction and non-fiction, watch independent movies, eat big time, and hike when I can.
Nothing is better than my weekend solitary runs, with thumping house tunes, dog Darwin at my side, and a breathtaking view of the Golden Gate.
I used to never unplug. But my New Year's resolution last year was to find better balance, and I've succeeded. When I'm off the grid, I'm either on my bike (I ride 150-200 miles a week), or I'm spending time with my family. My kids seem to enjoy it when I close the lid of my laptop. I'm also a classical pianist and composer, and while that part of my life sagged the last few years as work took over my life, even that's making a comeback as of late.
I snowboard -- as many days a possible. Usually at Mount Snow, in Vermont, though we try to take at least one West Coast trip once a year (Whistler, Jackson Hole, Park City).
For most of my life, we had a cabin in the North Georgia mountains where I could go to swim and hike and get away from the world. We sold the cabin a few years ago and I have not found a similar retreat yet. I do still swim every morning -- there's a pool on the roof of our building -- and I do still like to go on walks. Some years ago, I instituted walking office hours so that I could have uninterupted time with my students and staff.
I may be in the minority here, but I don't feel like my life is moving too quickly for me, so don't ever feel like I need to slow down! Not that I'm not busy, just that I have a lot of control over what I do and when I do it.
Though if you just mean, 'What do you do when you're not at a computer?', I suppose the answer would be to do stuff everyone else does: spend time with my son, read books, have lunch with friends, cook, etc. I feel pretty lucky to have a life that feels pretty well-balanced right now.
Oy? No computer at all? So computer games and hobbyist computer programming don't count? How about long walks in the woods, then? Kidding! I am insanely boring. I watch TV. I read. And after 40 years of jogging, I remain startlingly out of shape. (I am a totally pathetic jogger: not much faster than walking, and a 3.5 mile capacity.) The truth is that I'd rather be connected than not.