With technology ruling the day and televisions, cellphones, and computers everywhere we look, it often can be hard for us to find a time when we're not staring at a screen. Whether it's our choice or not, technology has been woven into our everyday lives and is only becoming more prominent as time ticks on. Almost unknowingly, we can take the world around us for granted and forget about new and interesting experiences around us that require little to no technology at all. We can quite literally be "blinded by the light" of our smart-devices and ignore all of the opportunities in front of our faces. But have no fear, while technology is now undeniably a part of our lives, taking time away from your phone is much less difficult than it seems. Here are ten things that you can do in your everyday life instead of blankly staring at a screen.

Read a book

  1. Let's start simple! Books are all around us and are a perfect way to spend your time. You might be saying, "But Sydney, I don't like to read books!" -- That's only because you haven't found the right book to read! Go to your public library, bookshops, anywhere! Explore! After all, books were the original smartphones.

Write something

In the same vein as reading, writing is also a perfectly easy (and free) way to spend your time without technology. Pull out a pen and some paper and let your mind wander. Write a story, a poem, do some stream of consciousness writing! Maybe you could even write a letter to your future self that you aren't allowed to open until years later! No matter what you write, you're becoming more connected with yourself rather than the internet.

Talk with a friend in person

There is something to be said about human connection and interaction. While talking on the phone is convenient, there is nothing like laughing and smiling with your friend in person. With few exceptions, the feelings you get and the strong bonds you make can only truly be formed when you're face to face with someone. So go out to lunch, take a walk, or sit at a park. Maybe chat with an old friend! Just communicate in the real world.

Listen to music you never have before

There are so many genres of music out there, so take a listen to something new! While you may love show tunes or classic rock, who knows where your next favorite jam will come from? Although this might require you to use the internet to access the music, turn your phone down and just focus on the music itself. What are the melodies like? The instruments used? Think about what you hear and how it makes you feel.

Be crafty

So, in this case, your local thrift shop and dollar store are your best friends. Think of something you wanted to make and go make it! How about a new jewelry box? Wallet? Bag? Anything under the sun, you can find a creative way to make it. This is even more fun when you collaborate with friends.

Bake or cook something new

You know how you have your grandma's old cook books sitting in your kitchen? Use one! Flip through and find a recipe you've never tried before and make it. "But Sydney, I'm not a cook!" Well try to learn! You have books and books of recipes everywhere, surely one will be a success!

Make a character costume

Remember how you idolized that one movie or TV character? Get a jump start on Halloween and make their costume! Understandably, this could be quite hard to do. Making a costume for the transformer Optimus Prime is much different than that of Harry Potter, but this is where creativity comes in. Do your best and just have fun! The goal is not to have a movie-ready costume, it's just to be in the moment without technology.

Sleep

It's remarkable how much time is wasted by scrolling on Instagram or binging YouTube videos right before bed. Catch up on that time lost and take a few hours to nap. Or, better yet, make a pact with yourself to completely ignore the phone right before bed. Try it for at least a week and I guarantee you'll be feeling more rested.

Walk around in Nature

Nature is all around us and so easy to get sucked into. Listen. Are there birds chirping? The trees swaying from the wind? Embrace those sounds and get lost in your thoughts. Some of the best ideas are created when people are left alone with nature. It's peace and serenity at its finest.

Learn something new

The amount of hours total that people spend wasting their time on videos and social media is astounding when you add it up. Instead of taking an hour or more on instagram each day, try to dedicate an hour of your life to learning something new. Ever want to speak French or learn about cars? Go get a book on cars. Cheat from this article a bit and use technology for good! Go to Lynda.com or YoutTube for the sole purpose of learning. You have the power. Make it happen!

There are so many ways for us to be connected with each other and with ourselves without technology. If we just took the time, even for just an hour a day, we would most likely find ourselves happier and more satisfied with the lives we lead. Take advantage of what you have around you and go after it. Learn something new. Create. Connect. Take the first step and do something else than stare at your screen.