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Love, Gen: Unabashed Unplugging

When I first started to write this editor’s letter, I made a conscious decision to do it the old-fashioned way: I sat down at my desk with a pen and notebook in hand and jotted down my notes. It felt good to step away from the glow of my laptop for a couple of minutes, and to make writing a more sensory experience, feeling the paper as I wrote and the weight of the pen in my hands.

So you can probably guess that July is about unplugging—in the digital sense of course, but also in just taking some quiet moments for yourself away from the hustle and bustle of work schedules, family obligations and social responsibilities. We all feel the pressure to be connected at all times, whether it’s on our phones or our social media or our email. The 24-hour cycle of technology makes it almost impossible to physically switch off our devices, but also to switch off our brains and be more in the moment, rather than rushing to check the notification that just popped up on our screens.

I can be just as guilty as the next person of being on my phone too much. We’re all so programmed to turn to social media and to others in order to create our own judgments. But it’s really important to completely unplug so we can get to ground zero in a way, whether that means going out into nature, breathing fresh air, or just learning how to switch into “off” mode. It’s about getting back to the basic, human, innate things we take for granted so we can cultivate and honor for their importance—and learning how to listen to ourselves instead of the constant buzz of social media.

Everyone has their tricks to unplug, so I’ll share one of mine: Since nature has always been a huge part of my life, I’ve found that grounding really works for me. In simple terms, it means making skin contact with the soil, whether that’s taking a stroll outside or laying on the beach. The theory is that reconnecting with the earth helps to bring us back to a more balanced state energetically, considering we’re barraged by free radicals from the technology all around us. I don’t necessarily know if that’s true, but I do know that being mindful about spending time in nature always helps me feel clear and calm. It might just be a placebo effect, but honestly, who cares?? It always makes me feel great, and that’s worth it.

This month, I’m excited to have a conversation with you about digital detoxing, setting boundaries in our schedules and finding inexpensive ways to relax. I’d love to hear about some of your favorite ways to unplug, too, so please feel free to share them below! In the meantime, I’m going full circle and powering down my laptop for a little bit. Chat soon!

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26 Comments

  • Jam

    I’m like you Gen, the nature is my escape zone.

    • Gina

      I love reading your blogs Gen, they are just so thoughtful and honest 😊 Sometimes social media can be a good thing but too much of it can give me anxiety- I love to go kayaking or take my dog for a long walk when I’m stressed 🌊☀️🐶🌻

    • Sally

      Unplugging for me is creating something. Normally building something without any type of instructions. Just pure me and my imagination. It has become relaxing and invigorating.
      I loving reading and listening to you. An excellent inspiration. Thank you!!

  • Genevieve Perrin

    Hooray for Mother Nature! Getting outdoors always does wonders for me, too.

  • Alissa

    Everything you just said reminded me of book I read recently: Your Guide to Forest Bathing. It’s a really good read and all about connecting with nature.

  • Brittney

    This post is coming at such a perfect time, you really have no idea. I’ve been thinking about unplugging in the literal sense, I just can’t find the willpower to do it. I’m trying to unplug in other ways, by taking more time to do things I enjoy, like painting and writing, instead of spending those times online.

  • Sharayah

    I’m trying to do the same thing! I’m starting to feel “lost” because of how much I’m on my phone or watching TV. It’s time to unplug and get back to my roots! Excited to follow this months topic as a recent subscriber😊

  • Mo

    I understand that feeling of being unplugged from technology and being plugged into the nature.
    ❤️

  • LC

    The very best way I unplug is an early morning on the beach going for a run. The ironic thing is, is that I hate running anywhere else, but on the beach it’s like a whole different feel that I can’t explain. My calmness, clarity, and peace is always found when I’m near natural water. Something about it cleanses my soul.

  • Nadia

    Hiking with my dog, there’s no better cure for me. Just me and him, without my kids and husband. 😊

  • Ryan

    Personally, I enjoy just going out, leaving my phone at home or completely off, and having a good time wherever I’m going. Sometimes it’s tempting, but on occasion I like to just get it out of my sight.

  • Monica Dixon

    I watch old Supernatural episodes on Nteflix after a long 12 hour night shift and fall asleep, other times I am reading a book based of the sgow The Expanse an awesome show btw. Or I am out in my mishaooen yard yes mishaooen, I rent but I like taking care of what I rent or own …many grass seeds much digging around and only 3/ 4 of it has grown…sigh….I also planted some new rose bushes into soul that once was dead full of rocks, debit aka garbage broken glass etc….YUCK who does that trashung the en ironment like that oh I digress…outside or inside I try to find somethung to help me unwind. Some mornings it dont take much as I am wioed out from work.

  • Dia

    Thanks for the post, it shows you always work really hard for us and for this blog!
    I love climbing mountains, because it is really hard but i feel good if i did it 🙂

  • Jenni

    I think it already helps to keep one’s phone in the bag and plain simply not checking social media nor taking pictures. Walks through a nearby forest helps me to relax, but also a trip to a different town that I’ve never been before helps to unlug. It doesn’t have to be far away! Just seeing something else and being “away” from everyday life. 🙂

  • Suzanne

    I always am angry when I forget my phone when I go out and then all of a sudden it’s like a blessing in disguise. Jamming out to the music, no distractions at the grocery store, enjoying the views.

  • Elisabeth

    Going out into the woods works best for me… and it seems not to be a placebo effect. In recent years scientists from different countries (among them canada and japan) have studied the effect of seeing nature and breathing in substances emitted by different trees on the human body. One of the proven effekts is decreasing stress hormones in blood and saliva. In japan they call the practice to go out into the woods to decrease stress “shinrin yoku” – forest bathing.

  • Elisabeth

    Going out into the woods works best for me… and it seems not to be a placebo effect. In recent years scientists from different countries (among them canada and japan) have studied the effect of seeing nature and breathing in substances emitted by different trees on the human body. One of the proven effekts is decreasing stress hormones in blood and saliva. In japan the practice to go into the forest to increase well beeing is called shinrin yoku – forest bathing.

  • Sara

    We have a very strict no phones at the table rule. It helps us all slow down and reconnect after the day. I also like to take walks around the neighborhood without my headphones. It helps me just to slow down a bit.

  • Julia

    As strange as it sounds, unplugging for me works best, when I’m on a scout camping trip where I have to take care of the kids and organize the schedule (Maybe that works, because I don’t have kids myself). Often, there is no cell reception anyways, but I don’t even feel this need to stare at my phone the whole day. I just enjoy the tasks I get to do, but also the nature and sometimes even the loneliness. I listen to the noises of the forest around me and just stare at the night sky (which, btw, is far more beautifull, when you’re somewhere in the wilderness) while sitting around a bonfire with my friends. Scouting has always – for 17 years now (I’m 24) – helped me forget all my problems and responsibilities at home and I am able to focus on the more important things, that don’t involve social media, or what other people think of me, or how I look. Because in these situations, I don’t care, cause I feel great!
    Thank you for sharing your stories! I love your blog! 🙂

  • Elizabth Brown

    I’m not one to be on my phone other than to use it like a phone. I never use it for emails, facebook or such and that cuts my time down on it. I love nature and I go to one os several waterfalls in my area and just sit on a rock and listen to the water, stick my feet in it and chill. It helps me reconnect with myself/ Especially after the experience I had this past week. My laptop was hacked and i was scammed. Yeah I fell for it and had to get new credit card, debt card and a new checking account. They forged a echeck and tried to run it through my bank. As soon as I saw it. I headed for my bank and got it reversed so I didn’t lose any money thank goodness since i don’t have that much to begin with. Then came the time and energy it took to contacl all the companies that draft my bills from my checking account to get the new number to them. I spend three days getting everything changed switched and hope I am done now. My laptop had to be scubbed and reprogramed. Needless to say, the stress alone was huge. I felt so violated and mad and beat myself up, but I know I’m not the only one this has happened to. They were that good. Getting away from everything whether it be going for a walk or to a waterfall always recharges me and let’s me step back to re-evaluate things and put them in perspective. Really enjoy your posts and pictures Liz

  • Priya

    Hi Gen, I love your blog and your posts made me realize a lot of things about self care, people and they way I thought about situations.
    I’m one of those thousand people who thank you for being you and sharing your thoughts and experiences.

  • Priya

    Hi Gen, You have inspired me in many ways and most importantly about important it is to be yourself.
    I am one among thounsand people who admire you and are thankful for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

  • Pepe (Miss Pep's)

    Hi Gen,
    This is my first online commentary ever on some blog and I’m very happy I’ve decided to make it on yours (which is very inspiring). I love the way you show everyone how you think (and how you live ) and the way you share a part of you in your blog, so thank you. Mostly, “unplugging” means to me t: no phonecall, no e-mails, a lot of artwork/thea time/gardening time/craft time/walk-to-the-beach time and cooking time! not always in that order though.
    Hight five for always being an inspiration Lady!
    Take care!
    Xo Pep’s

  • Jessie

    Nature is my therapy and getaway. I love hiking, swimming and just being adventurous outdoors whenever I can. It helps to clear my mind of the busy life around me on a daily basis. Most importantly it helps me to understand myself better and what I truly want and need in life. Thanks for this post Gen. It’s nice to know others unplug like I do 😊

  • Eryn Richardson

    Hey Gen, I’ve never really done a 24hr “off social media” It’s been suggested to me many times. Either I try to do it and give up or that day I will have to have check social media for my job or whatever. So It’s really hard but I’ve tried before and I plan to keep trying until I take a break from social media.

  • Angie Thayn

    You inspire me to be a better person . You are an amazing person and i love that you do what you do. I love ya and your family

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