The One Thing You Should Always Do To Unplug While on Vacation

The One Thing You Should Always Do To Unplug While on Vacation

Vacations are best enjoyed when you can take a break from the buzz of your day-to-day life. That means saying no to checking emails, making phone calls, and worrying about what happened at the meeting while you were away. It isn’t always easy to unplug, because let’s face it, most people are glued to their digital devices, whether it’s a laptop, tablet, or in most cases, a phone. But it’s important to disconnect, especially when you’re in vacation mode and want to sink into the moment and enjoy whatever your time off has to offer. 

Before leaving for vacation, there are a few micro changes you should make so you can ensure your downtime is interruption-free. Let people in your professional and personal life know you’re on vacation and will likely not answer texts, emails, or phone calls. (Even better: Turn off your personal and social media notifications.) It’s also a good idea to have an automatic vacation reply go to anyone who may try to contact you. If you’re still tempted to take a look at your phone, uninstall certain apps and leave your work laptop behind, if you have one. You can always easily reinstall these apps when you return home.

That said, these micro changes might not be quite enough and they may not be possible for everyone. Some people may not be able to completely unplug, especially if you’re a small business owner or someone who needs to keep communication open to maintain your position or income. Worry not: There is still a way to protect your vacation mode without worrying about what you may be potentially missing at work and home. 

The one thing you should always do to unplug while on vacation is keep your electronic devices behind in your hotel room while enjoying your new locale. If you want to immerse yourself in the local sights and sounds, leaving your phone in your room will push you to enjoy the present. There isn’t the distraction of checking your device as you’re observing nature, walking through a museum, or relaxing on the beach. Gone are the buzzes and pings and the need to check your phone while enjoying lunch or dinner with family or friends

I’ve tried this experiment. On a recent vacation, I made a vow to leave my phone behind in the hotel room and I realized how much more I noticed as I was sightseeing. My mind wasn’t split in two, with half of my attention dedicated to the notifications on my phone and the other half barely listening to the tour guide explain the historical significance of a particular landmark. It was liberating to fully immerse myself in what was in front of me instead of constantly looking up and down at a device to keep checking insignificant notifications.

When it came time to take pictures, since I was traveling with good friends, I asked them to take over photography duties since I didn’t have my phone. This was also an interesting exercise, since it pushed me to appreciate what was in front of me instead of trying to take a picture and then spending the next 20 minutes finding the right filter to post it on Instagram. I could spend the entire day engaging in my environment, being present with my friends, and fully inhabiting my vacation experience. 

When I returned to my hotel room, I checked my phone, and made certain I didn’t spend more than 10 minutes browsing it. The irony? I didn’t miss a single thing when I unplugged. Everything was right with the world. And I gained a full distraction-free day of simply appreciating my vacation.

This piece is part of Go Slow Month, where we’re celebrating taking your time, taking a deep breath, and taking a step back from it all. From deliberate design ideas to tips for truly embracing rest, head over here to see it all.

Rudri Bhatt Patel

Contributor

Rudri Bhatt Patel is a former attorney turned writer and editor. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Saveur, Business Insider, Civil Eats and elsewhere. She lives in Phoenix with her family.

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Here’s What “Rest Snacking” Is — and Why You Should Start Doing It

Here’s What “Rest Snacking” Is — and Why You Should Start Doing It

Working is exhausting but, unfortunately for most people, it’s a total necessity. Come Friday evening, after spending 40-plus hours at an office or switching from Zoom call to Zoom call at home, most people are pretty wiped out. And though getting a full night’s sleep every night can ease some of this fatigue, it can also be helpful to take little breaks throughout the day to keep yourself motivated.

Enter “rest snacking,” a phrase we’re officially coining to encompass all the small ways you can rest throughout the day before getting a “full meal” of actual sleep at night. Whether you only have a few seconds between calls or a bit more flexibility, consider working a few of these rest snack breaks into your daily routine to feel instantly refreshed and a bit more rested.

I Waited Nine Months for My Bed Frame to Come — Here’s What I Learned

I Waited Nine Months for My Bed Frame to Come — Here’s What I Learned

Blair Donovan

Shopping Editor, Style

Blair is Apartment Therapy’s Style Shopping Editor, where she covers the latest brand launches, need-to-buys, and anything related to her two unofficial beats — cane and rattan. Whenever she’s not perusing for the latest home finds (a rarity), you’ll probably find her reading, watching a horror film, or on the hunt for the best tacos in New York (recs are encouraged).

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This Simple Summertime Pleasure Is My Favorite Way to End the Workday

This Simple Summertime Pleasure Is My Favorite Way to End the Workday

Kristen Garaffo

Contributor

Kristen is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance writer and homebody. She specializes in home and lifestyle content, and loves helping others live their best lives at home and beyond. Romanticizing her life since 1987, you can probably find her sipping on iced coffee, crushing a Crossfit workout, designing her next dream space, or blasting Taylor Swift.

6 Reasons Why Wheel Throwing Is The Perfect Creative Summer Hobby

6 Reasons Why Wheel Throwing Is The Perfect Creative Summer Hobby

I first started wheel-throwing this year in an attempt to recover from burnout. During the pandemic, my job dominated my life. I desperately wanted to reconnect with my creative side and nourish the parts of my brain that seemed to be shrinking after constant screen-bound work. When I thought back on creative pursuits I’d enjoyed, I remembered the ceramics class I took in high school and decided to give it another try.

I enrolled in classes at a local studio, where I spend at least three hours a week elbow-deep in clay. Though it’s a time-consuming hobby, having a set window to explore my artistic side and create without pressure has been an incredible outlet.

And I’m enjoying my hobby a little extra now that it’s summer: It feels particularly luxurious to immerse my hands in cold clay while the sun bakes the pavement outside. While wheel throwing may seem daunting or out of reach, it’s actually easier to get started than you might think. Here are six reasons why wheel throwing is the perfect summer hobby.

Wheel-throwing is soothingly ritualized, with a sequence of steps that you will do for every piece (wedging, throwing, trimming, firing, glazing). Within that structure, the details are up to you. Once you get into the rhythm of wheel-throwing, you could throw six of the same object in a row or spend an afternoon experimenting with whimsical forms. Working with the clay itself is deeply relaxing as your thinking brain gives way to muscle memory.

Wheel-throwing can’t be rushed: No matter how fast you throw a piece, you still need to wait for it to dry. Working with an organic material also requires flexibility, since you don’t always know how a certain glaze will fire or how much water your clay can absorb. It’s one of the rare activities that actually forces you to slow down and accept a bit of unpredictability — and the outcome is often unexpectedly beautiful.

You’re physically engaged in the activity.

As all potters know, wheel-throwing is surprisingly physically involved. We spend so much of our time either swiping or staring at screens; in contrast, wheel-throwing engages your entire body. While your core muscles and arms stabilize the clay, your hands shape it, and your foot controls the speed of the wheel with a pedal. That level of connection means you physically feel the weightless joy of a perfectly centered pot, or the obstinance of an unwieldy piece of clay. When you throw, you can’t help but be engaged with the process. That physical engagement is what often allows for total mental relaxation. 

It doesn’t have to be expensive.

While classes can be pricey, they aren’t always — if you look online, you may find low-cost classes at a smaller local studio or at a YMCA. And classes aren’t the only way to learn how to wheel-throw. YouTube videos are incredibly helpful for honing your skills; I’ve personally been amazed at how much Florian Gadsby’s YouTube channel has made some trickier techniques “click” for me. One option could be to take an introductory class or two (either privately or with a group), then find a studio space where you can work. Some studios allow you to use their pottery wheels, purchase clay, and glaze and fire your pieces for a fee all without enrolling in a class. 

Another alternative is to get your own wheel and clay at home to set up your own studio. Wheels can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, but it’s not unheard of to snag a used wheel for $50 online. If you do decide to throw at home, make sure to be rigorous about your cleaning and safety procedures, as dry clay dust can be harmful to your lungs over time. (For example, ensure proper ventilation, always mop and sponge down surfaces, and never sand greenware inside.)

The value of a cooling and calming activity in the heat of summer can’t be overstated. Though it’s a physical and engaging craft, wheel throwing is also very cooling — studios tend to keep things cool in order to prevent clay from drying out too quickly, and while throwing is strenuous, you’re also constantly dunking your hands in water. Though kilns get incredibly hot on the inside, most of the heat is contained, and you’re never going to be working right next to one. 

You get to keep and use what you make.

Many people start wheel throwing because they want to make something in particular: a planter, a vase, a mug. The possibilities are endless, and even if your work doesn’t turn out exactly how you wanted, there’s still a unique beauty in any handmade object. You can make your own stoneware, from plates to teapots, or create beautiful objets d’art. And if you run out of space, you can give away your work or even sell it online or at farmers markets.

It can help you hone your aesthetic tastes.

Whether you dabble in pottery or devote hours a week to it, wheel throwing can really help you refine your eye for design. You’ll start to notice new details about the stoneware and decor you see in the world and pick up inspiration for pieces of your own. You might find artists you’d like to emulate, or discover that you’d like to explore other art forms as well. There are so many different disciplines and forms of pottery around the world, and it’s an incredibly engaging way to learn about artistry and design through firsthand experience. 

This piece is part of Go Slow Month, where we’re celebrating taking your time, taking a deep breath, and taking a step back from it all. From deliberate design ideas to tips for truly embracing rest, head over here to see it all.

Katey Laubscher

Contributor

Katey Laubscher is a freelance writer from California. She’s passionate about travel, pop culture, and historically accurate period dramas.

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