painting of italian coast

It’s hard to unwind these days— with so many distracting screens on top of work and social obligations, there’s less and less time to unplug and de-stress. Phones buzz with every little alert and notification, TVs live in every room, and computers are bursting with time-sucking trash.

As someone who can’t stand to spend the entire day glancing between my phone and laptop, I’ve found a few great ways to step away from technology and the world for a minute. Without further adieu, here are my top ways to unwind away from screens:

1.) Paint by number

These engrossing, beautiful painting kits are pretty cheap and come with everything you need to paint. Along with brushes and numbered paint containers, some kits even come with a little packet to help you can your work on the wall. What I like about paint-by-number kits is that they take a while (dozens of hours) to complete, so you definitely feel like it is worth the $10-20. Even the most inexperienced artist can make an impressive masterpiece with one of these kits. There are hundreds of designs to choose from and many different styles, so there is surely a painting for everyone.

2.) Puzzles

Most people think of puzzles are an activity for rainy days in far-away mountain cabins, but I would encourage you to give one a try. Puzzles are cathartic — they are easy enough to be relaxing, but difficult enough to give a sense of accomplishment once completed. I find that the hardest part is just finding a flat hard surface to build the puzzle on.

3.) Books… paper books

Yes, I know, reading on screens is convenient. I have a Kindle Paperwhite and I love it. I read on my phone and laptop all the time. But there is really nothing like reading a nice paper book — it is easier on the eyes and helps remove all the distractions of reading from a screen. Reading from paper will also give you a chance to feel the satisfaction of actually moving through the book, something that many people miss when using e-readers. It is a simple but meaningful difference in the reading experience.

4.) Instruments

Not everyone is lucky enough to have access to a musical instrument, especially in their own home, but these are a great way to unwind. Making music or even just exploring guitar strings and piano keys is a nice way to spark playfulness and creativity. Many people are surprised to find that they can play a few notes of a song by ear, and figuring out each note can be a fun challenge.

5.) Self-care routines

When I really feel like I need a break from reality, I indulge in a multi-step self-care routine. The steps often include rubbing lotion on my skin, using face masks, painting my nails, and other simple beauty routines. This may be the most effective de-stressing method I have because not only does it make me feel calm, but it reminds me that my body is precious and worth taking good care of. Not only does it make me happy, but encourages me to be healthy in my future choices.

I hope these tips help you find a good way to relax today. There are dozens of other ways to de-stress, so explore your creative interests and remember to take some time away from screens while unwinding.