Try to disconnect from your devices and explore these local parks

How disconnecting from technology can benefit your mental health.

Do you remember what it felt like to play outside as a child, carefree, with no set mindset and no need of finding a purpose yet? Where books, payments, homework or jobs didn’t take up our daily lives. Aside from that, phones weren’t even present. Well, I sure do remember and so, I took some time disconnecting and getting outdoors; enjoying the leaves, the wind in my hair and the rain on my skin – something I could never do on my phone.

Photo by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia | Shore view, Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, Washington

Technology is sweeping up this generation: new trends of fake positivity, tarot readings that feed delusions on how you should be living your life, and overwhelming negativity like new facts about toxins in foods and ignored world issues. By living our lives through our screens, we’ve all been starting a downward journey into losing self-awareness. 

Tiffany Shlain’s new book, “24/6: The Power of Unplugging one day a week,” says “Spending time away from your screens will lead you to deeper connections with those around you and more presence to the wonders and joys of your everyday life.”

I’ve found that disconnecting can lead me to being more productive, keep me focused, and reduce my stress. However, for others I feel it would benefit in the same way but also in others such as making better connections and obtaining them, better sleep and just having the time to know yourself more. As I’m understanding and taking in my own advice by learning to disconnect more, I found that parks are what made the disconnect worthwhile: here are two closeby parks in Tacoma that you all might consider disconnecting in.

As our school is located in the city, there aren’t many parks closeby. That is unless you look for them, such as Wright Park, which is not too far from campus. The park is just about three minutes by car, but a 15 to 20 minute walk. The park resides next to a few shops and restaurants. Once you enter it, you’ll be met with green and brown trails with many seated areas and occasionally interesting characters that’ll remind you that you’re in Tacoma. But beyond that, what makes this park a lovely pick would be its trail leading up to the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory. The small conservatory is filled with unique flowers and a gift shop, along with benches and fountains nearby. Along with this garden is a single arched trellis located outside with flowers and rose bushes surrounding; only sprouting during spring. 

Point Defiance Park would be another to seek out. With it being conveniently located right by the Point Defiance Zoo and 15 minutes away from the school, I’d seek out this park for a couple hours of leisure time. I recommend taking a book if you don’t plan on exploring the entire park, and just observing the scenery and taking in your surroundings: birds chirping, people running by, children playing. 

Ruston Way and the Waterfront strip would be my final recommendation, if you’re more open to crowds and activity-based scenarios. Ruston Way offers bike riding down the strip with a close friend or more, or just sitting by the water—watching the waves move quickly with the wind. Enjoy the vast options of restaurants around or just Ice Cream Social if you are into cold desserts in the winter time.

I hope you don’t let the rain or windy climate stop you from enjoying the fresh air and the ability to remove yourself from technology and its unrealistic depictions of life. It’s important with finals coming up that you take the time to relax and choose self-care this winter entering into spring.

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