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National Day of Unplugging Urges People to Turn Off And Tune In

If you're reading this story online, turn off your device and go outside to celebrate National Unplugging Day.
Image: meditate in office
Meditation.Jose Luis Pelaez Inc. / Getty Images

If you haven't printed out this article to read on a bean bag chair with a hot cup of tea and your digital devices turned off, you may not be fully taking advantage of the National Day of Unplugging.

Celebrated the first Friday in March every year since 2010, the day is a way to disconnect from digital distractions and get back in touch with what matters most.

"We increasingly miss out on the important moments of our lives as we pass the hours with our noses buried in our phones, chronicling our every move through social media and shielding ourselves from the outside world with the bubble of 'silence' that our earphones create," the National Day of Unplugging website reads.

The project invites participants to sign a pledge and post their declaration of what they're unplugging for to social media — before the sun goes down. After that, power your phone down, hide it in a drawer, yank the computer's cord out of the wall, turn off your iPad, power down your other smartphone... and then?

"Connect with the people in your street, neighborhood and city, have an uninterrupted meal or read a book to your child... relax, reflect, get outdoors, and connect with loved ones," until sundown on Saturday, the organizers advise.

If that has echoes of something familiar and ancient, you're right. The project is an outgrowth of Reboot, a group that creates new ways for people to make Jewish traditions their own.

Observers of the Jewish Sabbath take a day of rest every Friday to Saturday night and avoid work, which for some includes avoiding using electricity.