Can you turn off your phone for 24 hours? National Day of Unplugging starts tonight!

National Day of Unplugging
Screen capture National Day of Unplugging

Sign the pledge to unplug from sundown tonight to sundown tomorrow. What will you do with all that extra time?

Do you ever feel like the incessant noise of the Internet and social media are driving you mad? Well, now is your chance to ignore it all. For 24 brief hours, you can join thousands of other people in the National Day of Unplugging, which officially begins at sundown tonight (the first Friday in March) and goes until sundown tomorrow.

To some people, it may sound silly to make such a big deal out of turning off one’s phone; but the fact is, hardly anyone does it. Our phones, computers, and iPads are on all the time, close at hand, constantly accessible. If it takes community mobilization such as this National Day of Unplugging to shake us out of our device-induced stupor, then why not embrace the opportunity? There is something exciting about unplugging along with thousands of other people, all of whom crave time for other, better things to do.

You can sign the pledge online and download the sign reading “I unplug to…” Fill in the blank and send it back to inspire others to do the same. It’s interesting to see all the different activities in which people plan to participate while unplugged for 24 hours – salsa dancing, gardening at night, giving more hugs, riding bikes, frolicking, tuning in, and relaxing, to name a few.

The National Day of Unplugging is an offshoot of the Sabbath Manifesto, a “creative project designed to slow down lives in an increasingly hectic world.” It is inspired by the ancient ritual of the Sabbath, which requires people to carve out one day per week to relax, unwind, reflect, play, get outdoors, and connect with loved ones. Far too often, the downtime that we so desperately need as humans gets forgotten.

There is a website with unplugging resources to help with the transition, if this is something that intimidates you. It provides ideas for alternative activities, including 23 non-technology things to do while unplugged. You can have a family member hide your cell phone, then play a fun game of hot-and-cold to find it once the sun sets tomorrow night. Search TreeHugger for ideas, too.

The organizers of National Day of Unplugging hope that the momentum created in this 24-hour period can be carried on throughout the rest of the year, and that the memory of the peace and relaxation found in this day will inspire you to continue turning off your phone, putting it away, and engaging with the real, present world around you. Good luck!

Related Content on