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October 19, 2017

Be honest. If you lost your phone, left in at home all day or destroyed it by accidentally dropping it in the toilet would you feel completely lost? If you answeredyes, then you’re with most of us on this one. If you answeredno then you’re either lying, or are a complete angel. This article is not for you. But for everyone else who finds themselves resorting to desktop Instagram (no stories?! What is this?!), freaking out because the only phone number they know is for the landline of their childhood home, or playing solitaire on their work computer because it’s the only decent option when they are (for whatever reason) without their phone, this is for you.

We love our devices, there’s no doubt about it. And we shouldn’t feel shame for loving technology: It’s done some insane things to better our world, and also help us through awkward social situations. But as much as we love our phones, sometimes we need to turn them off, shove them to the back of the sock drawer, or have our significant other change the passcode so we can’t get into them because really we just need a friggin’ break from the screen!

Anyone who’s taken an out-of-country vacation (without buying extended coverage), gone camping or to the cabin will know the joy of unplugging; not worrying about whether your crush has texted you back, how many emails your boss has sent you in the last hour or how strangers are living their lives on Instagram stories. So why not take this whole idea of unplugging and bring it into our everyday lives? We really don’t need to be deep in the mountains or on another continent to have our phones or electronics glued to our hands and laps. Here are some of our tips for taking a little time to unplug all while remaining in civilization.

Leave it at home

There are some tasks we just don’t need our phones for, but we’re so used to having them within reaching distance that we don’t always notice when they’re not needed. Errands, for example are a chore you don’t really need to have your phone to do. If you write your grocery list using an app, try writing it down on a post-it note instead and leave your phone at home while you shop. If you’re used to texting while at the gym, leave your phone in your locker while you workout. You may not have all your pump-up jams blasting in your ears, but you may just find yourself more present in your workout.

Airplane mode

Airplane mode is not just for flying anymore. This little tool is great for stopping all incoming (and outgoing) communication from your phone but still lets you use the basics like the alarm, clock and music player. The next time you’re at an event or out to dinner with a friend, switch your phone to airplane mode so you won’t be tempted to check it (how rude!). Another idea is to turn it to Airplane Mode and hour before bedtime, that way you give yourself a chance to unwind before hitting the sheets.

Put it away

Our phones “save” us in a lot of social situations; we can pull them out while waiting for a friend, plug our headphones in while we commute, or take a call (is someoneactually calling?) when we want to avoid our high school nemesis. As soon as we pull out our phones in these situations, we are removing ourselves from the present moment. You don’t need to re-read your emails while your friend leaves the table for two minutes to use the washroom. Be present; notice the people around you, buildings, signs, smells. You’d be surprised at how much you’re missing out on when your eyes are glued to that tiny screen. So just put it away and take it out when you really need to use it for something (actually).