Welcome to modern society. A world where the internet holds precedence over several things. And where the smartphone plays a pivotal role in your day-to-day affairs. Right from undertaking a simple chore like grocery shopping to complex ones like fixing that annoying humming sound coming from the refrigerator - it is the ubiquitous smartphone that comes to the rescue. What's more, all it requires are a few simple taps and lo and behold! Grocery is at your doorstep within hours while a technician has arrived to repair the fridge based on your booking on a services app.
Meghna M, a housewife, says the smartphone is one thing she cannot do without. "My family has started teasing me that my smartphone is my 'actual' baby as I need to hold it and see it several times a day. From watching cooking shows, reading the news, shopping on e-commerce sites, booking my next haircut - it is the ultimate 'accessory' to have and flaunt."
Meghna is not alone in her views. The current pandemic has only added to our over-dependence on the smartphone. Online classes, daily newsfeeds, work emails, WhatsApp messages, social media posts, you name it and it is on the smartphone.
However, despite the undeniable convenience that technology provides, it can prove detrimental to your lifestyle and health. Have you taken a step back to think about 'activities' that you enjoyed before the entry of the smartphone into your life? A time when stepping out with just your house or car keys and the wallet for company was normal.
Well, do not lose hope. It is still not too late to rediscover some of those lost joys. ParentCircle has curated a list of fun activities that you can 'actually' do smartphone-free. During the pandemic, staying indoors has proved challenging for many, especially children. However, on the upside, it has provided ample opportunity to do things other than being glued to the smartphone for hours on end. Be surprised, amazed, and happy that there is a world of activity without you reaching for your... Smartphone!
12 Activities to Do Without the Use of Smartphones
Write: One valuable habit that the smartphone has destroyed is that of penning down your thoughts on paper. Writing is one of the great realms of imagination where the smartphone has no use. All you require is a notebook or even a few sheets of paper, a pen or a pencil and you are all set to delve into the magical world of words and letters. Start with a few minutes a day before gradually increasing the time. Not only is writing a great activity to test your imagination but also great for your mental health.
Cook dinner together: Put aside those enticing cooking videos for a while. You do not need to be a master chef to put together a simple but hearty meal. It could be a meal of rice, daal (Indian lentil curry), chapati (Indian flatbread), and vegetables that do not require you to use a smartphone. Involve the children in cutting vegetables (under supervision) while you handle the fire-related parts. This is also a great bonding session for the entire family.
Play games: A wonderful method to make proper use of your time indoors is to play games and we are not referring to the ones that are downloaded on your smartphone. Board games, word games and puzzles are a great way to enjoy your spare time and to eliminate the usage of smartphones for a precious few minutes.
Watch a sunrise or a sunset: Often, the simple joys of life are those that do not require a smartphone. Watching the first rays of the rising sun envelope the sky in different hues of orange and red is breathtaking. Keep your smartphone aside notwithstanding its impressive camera. You have to immerse yourself in the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset to truly appreciate the splendour of Mother Nature.
Paint or use your 'colourful' imagination: There was a time when we would actually paint on a canvas rather than use a fancy paint app on a smartphone. So, take off an hour or two every few days to channel your inner Picasso. Not only will you feel uplifted by the whole experience of putting brush to paint but will relish it too.
Clean and de-clutter the house: As straightforward as this task may seem, it is not, and it does not require the smartphone. Who does not fancy a neat, clean, and clutter-free house? Select any day of the week for this activity. Divide the different sections of the house among family members as this will ensure the house is cleaned and de-cluttered quickly. What's more, the discovery of items 'long forgotten' or lying neglected is sure to evoke glee and surprise.
Switch on the 'idiot box': Be a couch potato for a day and switch off your smartphone in case you want to Netflix and chill and binge watch television series or movies. Remember those days when everyone would assemble around the television to watch movies and cartoons and serials together. This is one thing which you can do without using your smartphone at all. Simply switch on the television, make some popcorn and have a great time.
Go through old family albums: Everything has gone the 'digital' way today including photo albums. Flipping through the pages of an album to look at moments captured in time is a joyful experience that can never be replicated by pictures uploaded on social media or the gallery of your smartphone. Many may argue that the smartphone has made clicking and storing photos much simpler but the excitement of going through old family albums is something else.
Create a 'lockdown' journal: Nothing tests your imagination and gets your creative juices flowing than maintaining a journal. This year, the pandemic turned life upside down! The world has witnessed unprecedented scenes - both good and bad. Take aside a few minutes from your busy schedule every day to write down your thoughts. It could be anything - from the new skill you learnt to the tasty recipe you finally mastered; from helping out your neighbour to upgrading your technological skills, a journal is your escape into the wonderful world of words.
Build a fort with your children: One great 'smartphone-free' activity that will be an engaging session for the whole family is building a fort. Unleash your creativity - use carboard boxes or pillows to build walls and a bed sheet as a roof of the fort. Keep some space inside the fort for snacks, colouring books and a flashlight (children love the idea of exploring with a light). If you have unused refrigerator boxes, you can create tunnels going to and from the fort. Transport your kids back in time and we guarantee you will forget the 'smartphone' for a period.
Learn to play an instrument: "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything." Plato, Athenian philosopher. Take a deep pause and step away from the numerous musical apps on your smartphone that promise to transform you into a musician in a matter of days. Instead, take time off to learn a musical instrument of your choice - a piano, a guitar, or the drum. Attend classes if you must because learning to play an instrument offers a host of benefits. There is no better substitute than learning from an instrument from scratch all the while looking a musical note.
Make a bucket list: Put pen on paper and start listing things you have always wanted to do. Some may not be possible due to the pandemic, but you can always postpone ideas that require extensive travelling. Start with the plausible ones such as watching the sunset, learning a new language, writing thank you letters to your colleagues and teachers, etc.
Taking some time off from the glaring screen of the smartphone will come as a much-needed respite from the deluge of apps and activities that surround us. Apart from helping you overcome your smartphone addiction or gaming addiction, re-connecting with the 'real' world will do wonders for you, both mentally and physically.
Remember, the world does not revolve around social media accounts. There is a wonderful and real world out there waiting for you to experience the joy of living.