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Horizontal Reality: you should turn off your smartphone and play in the dirt | Enhanced Garden&Life

We all know that smartphones are bad for our attention span, and yet we can't seem to put them down. The perfect antidote is to escape the digital world of screens and get back to nature. Turn off your phone, grab a shovel, and head into your backyard or neighborhood park! Turn your screen time from horizontal reality into a real-life adventure.

You spend so much time looking into the screen of your smartphone that you might forget what it feels like to look up. Turn off your phone, grab a shovel, and head outside! Turn your screen time from horizontal reality into an adventure in real life. When did you last see a tree? A butterfly? Or heard kids playing out their backyard while shouting at each other across the way about who's turn it is on the monkey bars?

We often don't realize how important these experiences are until we're locked away inside at home with our screens all day long.

Here are some ways to get back to nature and not just your phone:

- Turn off your smartphone at home for an hour each day.

- Turn off the WiFi router in your house after dinner to avoid checking email or social media while snacking on takeout.

- If you're a parent, get outside with kids every chance you can! Play catch, go for a bike ride together, have them help plan out their birthday party instead of doing it all online.

- Keep a journal (or better yet, start one) about what's happening around you when you're away from screens so that years later when everything is digitalized, we'll remember these moments as they were meant to be experienced - in real life!

What do I need to do to make my life more horizontal?

- Turn off your phone and play in the dirt

- Turn off WiFi at home or after dinner for an hour each day

- Turn on screens only during designated times of the day (ex: morning, afternoon, evening)

- Keep a journal about stray moments that happen when you're away from screens so we can remember these moments as they were meant to be experienced - in real life!

You might think it's impossible to go "offline," but there are plenty of ways. Find a time where you feel calm and comfortable without feeling like you need a constant distraction. Turn off your smartphone and give yourself permission not to answer every email immediately because when was the last time anyone looked you in the eye and said, "I need to tell you something?" Turn off your phone, grab a shovel, and make sure that screen time is spent in reality.

Turn on screens only during designated times of the day (ex: morning, afternoon, evening) or designate specific areas for these activities. If you're feeling adventurous, try going an entire day without using any digital devices!

- Turn off WiFi after dinner

- Turn off smartphone from home

- Social Media - turn it on just before mealtime so we can interact with dinner guests/family members rather than just staring into our phones. Dinner should be a full experience, not one more thing checked off the list.

- Turn on screens only during designated times of the day (ex: morning, afternoon, evening)

Bonus Tip to Turn off your Phone and Play in the Dirt - Turn off WiFi after dinner so that it's not accessible from our phones or computers when we're home relaxing with friends or family members. This will keep us all more engaged as opposed to having one eye glued to a screen, whether it be phone, tablet, laptop, etc. Plus, if you have kids, they won't feel anxious because there isn't something "wrong" with their phones.

The world around us is transforming, and it's time that we change with it. Turn off your smartphone for one day a week (every Sunday) to enjoy the growing season in all its glory.

This also goes hand-in-hand with spending more time in nature, which has been proven to be good for mental health as well as our physical health. Find a place outside of town or at least away from other people where you can do some digging through dirt without worrying about getting dirty!

You'll better understand how plants grow if you see them sprouting out of soft earth than by looking on Pinterest or watching videos online. And being close to the earth will naturally make you think about what we can do to help it along.

It's time to get back in touch with the ground beneath our feet and enjoy the changing seasons like they were meant to be enjoyed! Turn off your phone for one day a week, every Sunday, and spend some quality time outside breathing deeply of fresh air without worrying about getting dirty because when kids play in the dirt, their parents are glad they're not inside playing on smartphones or watching tv all day long. Gardeners know that turning away from screens is good for them too- so turn off your smartphones, grab a pair of gloves and go dig into life itself by getting down low next to plants sprouting out of soft earth instead! Playing outdoors makes us happier, healthier, and more connected to nature.

There are many reasons to turn off your smartphone and play in the dirt. Turn it off; go outside, find a garden plot somewhere nearby or out of town, pull weeds for no reason at all. It's this purposeless activity that has proven most beneficial to my personal health. I'm not alone - over 50% of Americans report spending less time gardening than they did 20 years ago (according to the National Gardening Association), while almost 80% say they don't get any exercise beyond their daily commute and desk job duties, according to Pew Research Center).

This is unfortunate because being outdoors can actually lower stress levels by up to 68%, increase creativity by 35%, improve mental clarity by 18% compared with indoor environments, and offer the same health benefits as exercise.

The next time you feel like your brain is getting foggy or that stress-related symptoms are creeping in, call a friend and set out to weed their garden for no reason at all. Turn the smartphone off (or put it away). Turn on some music, singing along if you're feeling up to it. There's nothing more satisfying than giving back with work done without the expectation of payment. It'll make us stronger people living healthier lives - not just adults but children too who will grow into adulthood with memories of outdoor physical activity rather than sedentary screen time spent indoors alone or online connecting with others through social media instead of face-to-face encounters.

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