It was only four short years ago that the iPhone was released and changed our world forever. Instant access to the globe at our fingertips meant we were no longer disconnected from the world, even for an instant. An afternoon stroll in the park became less about breathing fresh air and more about the change of scenery while we scrolled through our emails. A beach weekend getaway to enjoy the sun, sand and a good paperback turned into obsessive checking of the CNN, BBC and MSNBC homepages. All of a sudden the methods we used to relax, de-stress and disconnect were available to bring our work, the news and the world with us.
Today, we are so connected all the time via technology that we can't even remember what it was like when our phones weren't glued to our hands. We wake up to the radio, sit in front of our computer all day long, turn on the news when we get home and fall asleep only after we check our smartphones one more time. Some families even text each other when they could just get up and have a face-to-face conversation in the adjoining room. As our need for information ramps up, why not pick a day this week and make a pledge to you and your family to partake in a technology fast. In case you've forgotten, there are plenty of ways to bond with your family and release stress that have nothing to do with updating your Facebook status. Try these:
Hit the Library - Remember what it feels like to hold an actual book in your hand? Whether you're into fiction, biographies or The Hunger Games, the library has always been a place to sit in quiet and lose yourself in someone else's world for a while. Today many libraries offer more than just books. The New York Public Library offers classes and exhibits and the D.C. Public Library offers story time for a range of ages.
Visit a Museum - Host a family field trip to the Natural History Museum or a science museum in your area. Spend actual face time with the dinosaurs and native cultures to remind yourself of how people lived before we were glued to the computer screen.
Break out the Board Games - Rely on all you learned in school with a round or two of Trivial Pursuit. Dump a box of Legos on the floor and build something. This will spark your creativity, imagination and teamwork skills if you work together to build something amazing; all of which help to de-stress you.
Tell Ghost Stories - As the weather cools and Halloween approaches, campfires and indoor forts bring back memories of childhood. Find a flashlight and tell ghost stories while you're sitting in the dark. Storytelling is a tradition in many cultures around the world. The scarier the better the screams. Hopefully your group is smaller than the university campuses at Stanford and Northwestern, both of which hold primal screaming events the evening before finals to reduce tension and put them in a better frame of mind. No matter the size of the group, the screams are sure to turn into laughter, which has always been known as the best medicine.