Two Women Eating Meal Together At Home

It’s time to silence your cell phone, tuck away your iPad, and turn off the computer. This Friday, March 7, marks the fifth annual National Day of Unplugging. The idea of letting go of technology (from sundown on March 7 until sundown on March 8) was originally created to link with the Jewish Sabbath. But organizers say the event is no longer connected to any religious observance. They want to encourage everyone to give their gadgets a rest.

It may be tough to let go of the computer keys at first, but there are significant health benefits associated with powering down. Continual computer use and logging on late at night may lead to lost sleep and increased stress. Media multi-tasking, such as searching the Internet while watching TV, can cause depression. So give yourself a break.

You never know — you may find that you enjoy Internet and smartphone-free living so much that you try it more often than one day a year. Here are a few relaxing suggestions for spending time away from your technology this weekend:

▪ Read a book. Spend a lazy afternoon browsing the book store, pick a guilty pleasure and enjoy. Settle into a comfy chair, brew a cup of tea and do something you cannot do with a Kindle. Cradle the book in your hands and turn the pages at your leisure without worrying when the battery will die. You may also find that without the impulse to scroll, you will spend more time with the words on the page. There’s also something to be said for the feel of high-quality paper, as opposed to plastic and glass. You can even read a book in the sun.

▪ Discover a new hobby. Find something new to do that does not involve a computer. Take up knitting, sign up for a jewelry-making class or learn to salsa. Whatever you do, use your body, hands and mind in a natural way that does not involve buttons, keyboards or back-lit screens.

▪ Have tea, don’t text. Since you cannot text your friends, how about actually spending time with them? Have coffee, lunch or dinner with someone you usually contact primarily via text or email. Take pleasure in all of the great things you can only do face-to-face. Share a great laugh, check out each other’s new “do,” lean in and whisper a secret. Texting is quick and easy, but nothing beats seeing a good friend’s smile.

About Fierce Fridays — Tips for Weekend Well-Being

We each cherish those precious days off at the end of the week, but increasingly those of us who are charter members of the sisterhood of the stressed and overworked are losing our Saturday and Sunday leisure time to weekend work and domestic duties.

To make sure that you do something every weekend that’s just for you, we’ll be sharing a little advice to make those 48 hours a great time to recharge your batteries, bring a little good news into your life or discover a quick and easy way to improve your health.