Graphic of the word unwind written in sand and filled in with blue, yellow and pink brush strokes

5 fun ways to unplug, relax and unwind! 

University can be stressful and how we use our down time can massively shape how we feel in the week ahead. If (like me) you often find yourself feeling glued to your phone or endlessly scrolling social media and then getting frustrated that you can’t seem to stop, you might want to try going on a Digital Detox. 

The concept of Digital Detoxing has been around for a while but I only found out about it recently when my friend gifted me a book filled with 100 activities to unplug and de-stress. I love the idea of being more intentional with my free time and making the most of small everyday moments, so I jumped right in. I’m really new to my Digital Detox journey but already I’m finding it such a great way to unwind, reduce stress and try fun new things that I otherwise wouldn’t think of doing.  

It’s important to keep in mind that there are no strict rules for a Digital Detox. You can do unplugged activities as often as you like and you can bring friends on board or do it as your own solo journey. The key is to gravitate towards things that you think you’ll enjoy, whether it’s something you’ve done before or totally brand new. These have been my favourite activities so far… 

Visit an art gallery

It’s been on my to-do list for a long time to check out The University Gallery on campus and I’m so glad I finally did! It’s a lovely spacious place immersed in nature, and you can see some amazing artworks in your break between classes or even join the mailing list to get details for upcoming workshops and events. I went during the ‘Subtle Art of Theatrical Realism’ exhibition and was mind-blown to see that the realistic artworks were oil paintings, not photographs! If you’re based in the Newcastle city campus, you can also check out the Watt Space Gallery that displays artworks by Uni Newcastle students. Visiting an art gallery is a nice way to see new things, get inspired and feel like a tourist for a day. 

Long shot of the Jonathan Dalton exhibition at the Callaghan gallery
Section of the exhibition at The University Gallery, Callaghan 

Go to a yoga class 

It’s no secret that yoga is a great way to de-stress and relax your body and mind. Lately I’ve been doing lunchtime classes to break my day up with movement and rest but you might prefer to do it in the morning to get the day started or in the evening to unwind. If you have a yoga class near you that you’re able to go to, it’s great as a solo activity or with a friend. If you can’t attend a class in-person, there are plenty of free YouTube videos you can watch from the comfort of your own home. Yes, technically using YouTube is not 100% Digital Detoxing but that’s absolutely ok, the point is to unwind and incorporate fun new things into your day-to-day, and if you’re using some technology to achieve that there’s no shame. 

Paint a colourful picture 

Regardless of your skill level, painting is a great way to unplug and live in the moment. I like to use bright colours and paint peaceful scenes, it puts me in a positive mood and gets my mind off usual day-to-day stresses. If you’re painting something for the goal of Digital Detoxing it doesn’t have to look amazing, the key is just to enjoy the process. For me, I like to use paint-by-numbers or adult colouring in books because it takes away the effort of planning a design and lets me focus on colour combinations, and I find that floral scenes really help me unwind. 

A colourful paint by number of flowers in a vase and a geometric flower colouring in progress.
My latest colourful paintings

Donate your old clothes 

Another thing I’ve done recently is reorganise my wardrobe and donate a bunch of clothes. There are so many perks: you can give old things a new home, it’s easier to find what you want and you might rediscover things that you forgot you had. Also, once you’re gotten rid of a heap of things, you can buy yourself some new items guilt-free as a little treat. If (like me) you’re not a fan of waste, you can also upcycle old clothes by turning them into cleaning rags or making a fun crafty project, like a wall hanging or quilt. 

Wake up early and see the sunrise 

This one was a bit tricky for me because I usually love to sleep in and have a lazy start to the day, but throughout this Digital Detox journey I wanted to challenge myself to do things I wouldn’t normally do. The sunset was so pretty that I couldn’t resist taking a quick picture but then I put my phone away and just watched the sky. It was a really special start to the day, and I definitely preferred it to just staying in bed, so I think I’ll do this more often. 

A sunrise photo taken over a carpark with trees off to the side and powerlines running through
The beautiful sunrise from my front doorstep

These are just some of the many things you can do during a Digital Detox. The possibilities really are endless, so find something that resonates with you and give it a try. You can bake something you’ve never tried before, go for a hike with friends, have a picnic in the garden, visit a new neighbourhood, check out a public garden or so much more. There are also plenty of ideas you can check out online or you can meet up with friends and make your own personalised activity list. Enjoy your Digital Detox journey! 🙂 

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