Enough with the polar bears already.
Global warming might be a planetary crisis, but we’ve all got more pressing things to think about. Like homework. And friends. And jobs. As it turns out, though, there’s another reason to unplug: your own sanity. That’s because many of the things you can do to save energy also happen to make you healthier, happier, and more connected to your community. So forget about the ice caps for a minute - and Facebook, and American Idol. Take a deep breath and unplug.
Do you feel drained after spending all day on the computer?
According to the US Census Bureau’s 2007 Statistical Abstract of the United States, Americans spend 8.5 hours a day watching television, using computers, listening to the radio, going to the movies or reading – more time than ever before. As a result, we’re increasingly prone to stress and illness resulting from “techno-fatigue”; in China and Korea, Internet Addiction is considered a serious and pervasive affliction. Here are some tips for combating the energy-addicted lifestyle:
- count how many hours you spend “plugged in” each day: online, on the phone, watching TV, playing a video game
- try going without TV or your ipod for a week
- when you open up your computer, set a goal of only staying on for a certain amount of time
Do you feel like you’re doing way too much?
To unplug is to simplify. Sometimes, in the quest to Do It All, we end up committing ourselves to far too much – with the result that none of it gets done as well as we’d like. Think about all the activities you’re involved in, and how you might be able to cut or combine them. Talk to your friends and family about it, or, if you prefer, get in touch with the Wellness Exchange
Does hanging out under a tree cheer you up?
According to biophilia theory , humans have a psychological need to engage with the natural world – a need that’s being met less and less. A 2006 study in the Journal of Environmental Management, for instance, found a direct link between decreased attendance at national parks and increases in the time we spend plugged into electronic entertainment.
It’s especially tough to honor your biophilia in nature-starved New York City, but there’s plenty of nature around if you choose to seek it out. Here are some ways to get your green back:
- Take an excursion to central park, prospect park, or the west side greenway.
- Use the resources the City has to offer; there are a number of public recreational facilities all over the City. Play tennis in Central park, rent a paddleboat at Flushing Meadows or ride your bike in Cunningham park. Learn about these facilities today
- Check out the clouds when you’re walking to class
- Grow some plants on your windowsill
- Get to know your local vegetable grower at the Union Square Greenmarket