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Annabel Olah

Wife | Mom | Teacher

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2017 | Unplug & Hug 

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Unplug & Hug Blog

March 2, 2018

National days are great.

They give us the opportunity to focus on one important thing for 24 whole hours! 

While my favorite one, of course, is all about chocolate (but let's not go there), I was thrilled to find out that Friday, March 9 is 2018’s National Day of Unplugging!

That's right. Unplugging is actually 'a thing.' 

And the National Day of Unplugging is a perfect time to challenge ourselves to do just that. Think, turn it off, shut it down, put it on silent, close it out and disconnect!

But we've got an even bigger challenge for you: Host an Unplugged Dinner!

(That means no phones, iPads, laptops, TVs, etc.)

Here are the challenge details:

If You Recharge Best Alone

Do just a bit of planning. If you like cooking, then grocery shop ahead of time for your favorite meal. Or, if cooking stresses you out, order the most tantalizing take-out meal you can think of. (Or that you can afford, because let’s be real.)

When you get home from work or school on the 9th, turn off your phone, lap...

December 16, 2017

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a local diner for breakfast. We sat up at the counter, and next to us were a young man (early 20s) and his father. A charming picture, except for one thing: The entire time, the son was glued to his phone. Didn’t say a word that I could tell to his father, who ended up chatting off and on with the cook and wait staff. Then the check came, and the father took out his wallet and paid the bill.

What’s he paying for? Clearly not the pleasure of his son’s company!

First of all, yes, this brings to mind the conventional wisdom of “appreciate your loved ones because you never know how much time you’ll have with them”. But what really struck me about the whole thing was just how rude it was! This guy’s father could’ve taken him to McDonald’s drive-thru or gotten a bag of donuts at the Wawa next door.

But, no. He took him to this diner, presumably to spend time with him. But instead of appreciating the gesture, the son couldn’t be bothered to speak to him, much le...

October 22, 2017

I've talked a lot about the social and personal benefits of unplugging.

When we unplug we are able to make one-on-one human connections and forge stronger personal bonds with our loved ones. Shutting down periodically also provides opportunities to appreciate the beauty of nature, do hands-on activities with our kids, explore our hobbies, be more productive at work and get in touch with our inner selves through things like meditation and exercise. (For me, that also includes a healthy dose of retail therapy!)

But unplugging is also a way to stave off health issues associated with the over-use of our phones, tablets and computers. And there are many. An abundance of research shows a direct correlation between the use of digital devices and things like increased stress levels, decreased attention span (especially in our kids), radiation and cancer. 

Using our Smartphones, tablets, smart watches and computers is unavoidable in our (ever growing) digital world. We nee...

August 20, 2017

No matter where you are, who you are or how many obligations you have on Monday, forget about them, at least for a few hours.

Because there’s no better time to take a moment to unplug. That is, when there’s a solar eclipse on the horizon! (Pardon the pun.)

On Monday, August 21, we’ll be treated to a total eclipse of the sun that can be seen all across North America. Now, you might know this (and probably do given the mass media coverage), but are still saying to yourself, “I can’t miss this meeting,” or, “I’m supposed to be on a conference call” or, “I’ll catch it the next time.”

Why not unplug instead?

This major astronomical event gives you a free pass from the pressures of deadlines and emails, and we invite you to be a part of something the cosmos rarely shows us.

Because the 2017 solar eclipse eclipses everything.

A total solar eclipse that can be seen by everyone in North America won’t come around again until 2024. Don’t wait another seven years to see this phenomenon. For some, it’s...

May 23, 2017

We talk a lot about unplugging so that we can connect with family, friends and the world around us. But disconnecting also helps us to reconnect with ourselves - physically, emotionally and spiritually. That’s why I’ve incorporated Pilates, meditation and essential oils in my life.

So, how do I “hug” myself?

I practice Pilates.

I started practicing Pilates because I was looking for an exercise program to support my cardiovascular health, strength, endurance and flexibility. (And let's face it, I needed a way to get back in shape after having my daughter.) Additionally, because I have lower back pain and sciatica, I also needed an activity with therapeutic properties. 

Practicing Pilates, I realized an additional benefit. It gave me a sense of calm, inner peace and focus, particularly upon losing my brother unexpectedly the day before my daughter was born. The practice gave me peace, time to think and space where I could listen to my body and soul.  

My love of Pilates inspired m...

May 12, 2017

Do you know where the term, 'potty' came from? Read on...

Yesterday I chaperoned my daughter’s field trip to Colvin Run Mill, ‘the sole surviving operational 19th-century water-powered mill in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area… and a nationally significant example of automated technologies pioneered in milling and later adopted across American industry. ’

One of the most interesting (and enlightening) activities of the trip was a guessing game where the Colvin Run historians showed our group of 3rd graders common items used by the pioneers, and asked them, ‘what do you think these were used for?’ Here’s a handful of the items we looked at along with the kids’ guesses.

  • Carpet swatter? Snow shoe!

  • Boot jack? Airplane!

  • Old-timey curling iron? Scissors!

  • Washboard? Game board!

  • Clothes washer? Plunger!

You get the idea.

Granted, many adults might not guess correctly either. (Even I got stumped on a few.) However, the activity reminded me of the ingenuity, practical...

May 1, 2017

We all know the physical health benefits of walking, like weight loss, improved strength and increased endurance.

But, did you know that taking a walk also improves your mood, sharpens your memory and helps you have a good, peaceful and re-energizing sleep? There are so many ways that a simple walk affects your brain and mental health!

We also like using walking as a way to unplug, and especially love it because it stimulates our connection with the world around us. Most importantly, nature.

How Does It Work?

Think about it in terms of your 5 Senses: Taste, Touch, Smell, Hearing and Sight.

  • Taste. ‘Consume’ the great outdoors simply by breathing in the fresh, clean air.

  • Touch. Every step you take connects you physically with the earth under your feet. If you’re hiking, or on a nature trail, take a moment to touch a flower or a tree, or stop for a moment to feel the sun on your face.

  • Smell. Have you ever walked on the beach and been invigorated by the salty sea air? Wherever you...

April 26, 2017

We're so excited that you found us!

The Unplug & Hug Blog is our space to provide you tips, insights and resources to help you disconnect from the digital world, so that you can connect with yourself, and your family, friends, hobbies, nature - whatever brings you happiness and peace in the world outside your phone, social media and information overload in general.

Our goal is to share our thoughts on why it's important to unplug on a variety of levels - from social to physical to mental. We'll explore things like: 

  • Why it's important to unplug

  • Ways to connect with the world through exercise, activities and hobbies

  • Ways to connect with your kids, spouses, friends and family

  • Ways to disconnect from daily stresses, like work, bills and the hustle and bustle called life

  • How to achieve mindfulness to take care of your mind, body and spirit

  • The impacts of digital on our minds, brains, bodies and overall health

  • And much more!

We look forward to sharing o...

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