Can You Go Dark For The National Day of Unplugging?

February 16, 2017

Ever wonder what would happen if you turned off all of your electronics for a day? This March, an organization called Reboot is giving you the perfect opportunity to find out. Read on to learn more about the National Day of Unplugging, and how it can help you reconnect, recharge, and even sleep better.

Founded in 2002, Reboot is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Jewish tradition by engaging new generations in creative projects involving the arts, food, and social justice. According to their website, one of the achievements of Reboot has been helping thousands of individuals “rekindle connections and re-imagine Jewish lives full of meaning, creativity, and joy.”

In 2010, Reboot launched the National Day of Unplugging as an outgrowth of a project called the Sabbath Manifesto—a modern adaptation of the traditional Sabbath, “carving out one day per week to unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors, and connect with loved ones.”
However, you don’t have to be Jewish to participate in the National Day of Unplugging. According to Outreach Manager, Tanya Schevitz, “The NDU has roots in the Jewish tradition of the Sabbath, and the practice of taking a break is familiar to Jews, but this modern day of rest was developed for people of all backgrounds as a way to bring balance to the increasingly fast-paced way of life and reclaim time to connect with family, friends and our communities.” So no matter what faith or affiliation you hold, you’re welcome to take the pledge and unplug!
So what exactly is the National Day of Unplugging? The NDU begins at sundown on Friday March 3, 2017 and ends at sundown on Saturday, March 4, 2017. It is a 24-hour stretch during which you put your electronics to rest. The pledge states, “I pledge to unplug during the National Day of Unplugging on March 3-4, 2017. I understand that the important first step is to unplug for as long as I can, even if it is not the full day.”
Those taking the pledge are asked to fill out and upload an “unplug sign” that reads, “I UNPLUG TO _________.” Across the country, participants have already pledged to unplug with signs that include everything from “I unplug to play,” and “I unplug to salsa,” to “I unplug to be with family and with myself,” and “I unplug to breathe.” When you make the pledge you can even request a free “cell phone sleeping bag,” designed by artist Jessica Tully to give your phone a cozy place to rest on its day off!

Although the National Day of Unplugging only comes around once a year, its intention is to inspire reflections on the impact devices could be having on quality of life, along with the value of using them with a higher sense of awareness. “What we are hoping comes out of the National Day of Unplugging isn’t necessarily that everyone unplugs for 24 hours once a week,” Tanya Schevitz explains. “We hope that from that new-found awareness, people will try to put their digital devices aside more regularly, for an hour, for the length of a family dinner or a romantic walk, for however long it takes to recharge themselves and to reconnect with those around them.”
Not only can unplugging help you re-connect with others and enjoy the moment, but spending some time away from your electronic devices can also help you get a better night’s sleep. Light sources from electronic devices such as phones, televisions, and computers can have a negative impact on sleep by disrupting the body’s circadian rhythms. When you leave these blue light sources outside of the bedroom, your circadian rhythm will regulate, allowing you to fall asleep more easily and get better rest. Additionally, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center, heavy cell phone users are “more likely to be anxious and unhappy” than those who use their phones less frequently.

So, if you’re feeling tied down by your phone, consider taking the pledge to unplug on this year’s National Day of Unplugging.

Annelise Driscoll

Annelise is a graduate of Hamilton College who enjoys writing, reading and roller derby. When she isn't noveling, she can be found doing yoga and watching British baking shows.
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