National Day of Unplugging is here: Will you power down for 24 hours?


From sundown to sundown, beginning Friday (March 1), some are putting down their cellphones, shutting off computers, and ignoring the Internet in celebration of the fourth annual National Day of Unplugging.

The holiday — dreamed up by the artists behind Sabbath Manifesto, a creative project revolving around the search for "a modern way to observe a weekly day of rest" — is great on paper. It comes with a list of principles which borrow from the Biblical Sabbath tradition to help us recharge our metaphorical batteries.

Studies show that Facebook can leave us feeling miserable,checking smartphones increases stress, constantly looking at email makes us antsy,and so on. Moderating the use of technology could reduce these woes. The National Day of Unplugging could be the first step in that direction.

Here are the 10 tenets for the National Day of Unplugging:

  1. Avoid technology.
  2. Connect with loved ones.
  3. Nurture your health.
  4. Get outside.
  5. void commerce.
  6. Light candles.
  7. Drink wine.
  8. Eat bread.
  9. Find silence.
  10. Give back.

Mind you, you don't need to belong to any particular religion to celebrate the National Day of Unplugging or follow the ten principles of the Sabbath Manifesto. Heck, you don't even have to unplug entirely in order to mark the holiday. "To some, 'avoid technology' means not sending text messages. To others, it means not using a stove or riding in an elevator," according to the description of the Sabbath Manifesto. "You get the picture. Find the balance that works for you."

Somewhat ironically, there's a Facebook group to help you learn more about the National Day of Unplugging and connect with other participants.

If you need some added inspiration to completely power down, check out "Yelp: With Apologies to Allen Ginsberg's Howl," narrated by Peter Coyote.

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