We asked, You Answered: Tell Us Your Favorite Way to Unplug

The pandemic has forced many to both work and play from home, using Zoom to see family, friends, and coworkers. Having had more than enough screen time, association professionals are finding novel and creative ways to disconnect.

The need for physical distance to keep people safe during the pandemic has led to a marked increase in the use of technology to stay connected for work, school, and social activities. From remote work to distance learning to virtual book clubs, many people are spending way more time staring at screens than they did a year ago.

With all this time spent on devices, people find they need to unplug. In a nod to the National Day of Unplugging, we asked how readers are disconnecting. Read on to see how some of your colleagues are breaking free from their devices.

Sharon Kais

Associate Executive Director, New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians

My favorite way to unplug is to reconnect with myself through yoga and meditation. This past year has produced levels of stress beyond comprehension at times. It’s so easy to allow the outside clatter I experience daily in my work life to overspill into my personal life and downtime. Allowing time to get reacquainted with my inner peace always helps to ground me. Some days during meditation, it starts with a simple “Oh, hello. There you are. How are you doing?” Asking myself how I am doing brings so much perspective to self-care. I truly believe we all must first take care of ourselves in order to then care for others.

Stephen Gold

President and CEO, Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation

I am an avid reader of books in many formats and genres—I always am in the middle of an audio book, a Kindle book, and a paperback or hardcover book. Topics can range from history and historical novels, to cooking, to mindfulness, to current affairs. It allows me space to unwind and enjoy topics I don’t get to discuss with staff and members.

Madhuri Carson

Business Development Manager, Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals

I am not an outdoorsy person by any means, but during the pandemic, outdoor activities have truly been my favorite outlet. In the spring, something as simple as walks around the neighborhood were revered. In the summer, my kids and I tried to find the best beach in the greater Chicago area, visiting a different one every two weeks. And in the winter months, we’ve created a lot of art in the snow—building forts, making ice orbs, and “spray painting” the freshly fallen snow with food coloring in water bottles. These activities have really made me wonder what I could have been doing pre-pandemic for all of these years.

Tony Conant

CEO, American Rental Association

I found an old Honda motorcycle to restore. It takes a lot of research and puzzle working to put something together that you found in parts. The online forums for hobbies are amazing. In some cases, I typed a question in the Facebook group and got an answer within minutes. It also exposes you to a whole new set of people that have a similar interest.

Lynn Shotwell

CEO, Worldwide ERC

After being told that I was “bad at art” by an art teacher in elementary school, I shied away from doing anything with my hands. But four years ago, I took a stained glass class. I did about one piece a year until this summer. Now I work on it several times a week. Concentrating on the glass while listening to podcasts is a great way to clear my head. It may not look perfect, but that’s OK. I’m even starting to consider myself an artist!

Rachel Rossos Gallant

Senior Director of Membership and Marketing, League of American Orchestras

Since December, we’ve started a ritual where each evening at the end of dinner or during dessert, I read Harry Potter aloud. What started as a comforting activity during an isolated holiday season (it is one of our favorite series) has become a restorative way to separate from the day, connect with each other, and start to wind down for bed. I don’t know what we’ll move on to when we finish the series—it’s only been two months, and we’re already halfway through book four!


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Rasheeda Childress

By Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a former editor at Associations Now. MORE

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