By Quinn Nystrom, MS

Noise–it’s everywhere. Finding quiet and stillness on a daily basis takes an act of congress and even when we are trying to power down from a long day our computers, mobile devices, and televisions are filled with mind-numbing distraction and demands.

People are truly in love with their connectivity (I’m guilty as well!) and to leave home or work without technology often feels like we left an appendage behind.

In the U.S., we live in a culture that inundates us with advertising designed to keep us conformed to this world. The marketing/media industry spends billions of dollars annually to flood televisions, websites, billboards, email, and regular mail. They intrude even onto gas pump screens or the screens on debit/credit card readers. They seek to define us essentially as consumers, individual economic units existing for the sake of larger market shares. In addition, each day our families, friends, organizations, religions, political parties, and society at large pressure us to fit in, to stay within the boundaries of tradition, custom, or practice that mark who we’re “supposed” to be.~Frank L. Crouch

Even if we are mindful to shut off our mobile devices, we can’t venture out of our houses without being inundated with all sorts of audio, visual, and emotionally taxing messages blaring away on everything from video screens at gas pumps to the radios in our vehicles. The *noise* and social clutter can be deafening and, without our permission, drain us of our energy and focus.

But what if we vowed to just shut.it.all.OFF, even if only for a day. Imagine our brains saying “Ahhhhhhh” in relief as the audible, visual, and emotional assault was silence for a day. Imagine the respite we would be giving our mind, body and spirit.

Well, unplugging for a day is truly a *thing.* Every year, the first Friday in March is observed as National Day of Unplugging and this year it just so happens to be on March 6th. This holiday consists of a 24 hour period from sundown to sundown, where everyone is encouraged/challenged to unplug, unwind, relax and do things other than using today’s technology, electronics, and social media to entertain themselves.

In a nutshell, it’s a day-long digital sabbatical. It’s a chance to reconnect, notice, and appreciate some of the simplest pleasures in life that we missed because our faces were buried in our phones, tablets or laptops.

So what would you do to step away from tech and re-awaken your senses for a day? Go for a walk in nature, plant a garden, read a book (a physical-in-your-hot-little-hand, book)? Play board games, do a scavenger hunt, or cook together? Or better yet, talk…actually talk to your friends and family as you look them right in the eyes.

This national observation may only happen officially once a year, but I challenge everyone to consider doing this more often. With mental health issues on the rise, any kindness and care that we can give to our brain and bodies is all good.