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Non-Digital Distractions: Backing Away from the Screen


Here at ProfHacker we’ve shared a number of digital distractions, but what about those times when wellness demands time away from the screen? There’s lots of talk (and debate) over limiting screen time for children, but sometimes a break from social media and continual screen-based overload is what we all need. As someone who works digitally, I’m usually guilty of engaging with at least three screens at once, often for hours on end. Often this leads more to fatigue than to action, especially at times like this, with  seemingly endless flow of important concerns demanding our collective attention.

Here are a few of the non-digital distractions that I’m relying on for structured breaks from the screen:

  • Board games. Several of us have shared favorite board games over the years on the ProfHacker gift guides. For beginners, I particularly recommend Exploding Kittens (illustrated by The Oatmeal) for its fun if vicious social mechanics; Tokaido, a gentle game set on Japan’s East Sea Road where the journey is more important than the destination; and Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle, a cooperative card game with a great (familiar) story arc; and Mysterium, a stunningly beautiful board game where psychics try to unravel the visual messages of a ghost.

  • Hand Lettering. There’s an incredible crafty community sharing inspiring (and, let’s face it, intimidating) images of just about anything you can imagine on Instagram and Pinterest. I’m currently addicted to the hand lettering tag and communities, which is a practice that offers both physicality and simplicity of planning–unlike with sitting down to draw or make something, it eliminates a lot of decision making, particularly with prompts and ideas shared constantly. It also has the advantage of being cheap and portable.

  • Running and Walking. Mark Sample shared Zombies, Run a few years ago, which is an audio narrative augmentation for running. If zombies seem too close to home, BattleSuit Runner offers a more sci-fi narrative and Fit for Battle features a fantasy adventure game. There are also tons of great recent narrative podcasts for when non-fiction is too much:  I particularly recommend Limetown, The Bright Sessions, TheBlack Tapes, and Wooden Overcoats.

Picking up something new can be a great way to get both a change of pace and a mental wellness break. What are your favorite non-digital distractions? Share them in the comments!

[CC BY 2.0 Photo by Josh Lee]

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