10/20/2013 04:05 EDT

Rick Mercer, The Trudeaus, John Baird: How They Unplug


Smartphones. iPads. Laptops. More and more Canadians are leaving the house with at least one of these devices each day. As it becomes easier (and more expected) for us to be digitally plugged-in around the clock, we asked these busy Canadians how they manage their screen time.

Exercise and meditiation are the key for Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie Gregoire. John Baird takes advantage of quiet plane trips. And Rick Mercer? Well... scroll down to see why you should never invite him to a wifi-free cottage.

What's your secret for digital detox? Share it with us in the Comments.

  • Courtesy Justin Trudeau
    I am on the road a lot, meeting with Canadians and attending events in communities across the country. But this also means I am constantly using my Blackberry and iPad to stay connected. What’s breaking in the news? What am I hearing from Canadians on Twitter and Facebook? What just came in from the office that I need to sign off on? Needless to say, in politics, it's far too easy to let an entire day go by without once allowing yourself to unplug.

    But Sophie and I made a commitment before entering public life that we would continue to prioritize family and fitness. So, every day, I try to unplug – even if only for an hour – for a run, a boxing session, or a yoga practice. Failing that, a chapter of a good novel or even just fifteen minutes alone in serenity and silence between events will often suffice. We've all discovered that making sure I take time out to replenish is the only way to be productive with a pace as busy as mine.

    – Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau
  • Courtesy Sophie Grégoire
    In today's busy world, where we are constantly faced with competing demands on our time and energy, it can be hard to slow down and make space for quiet reflection.

    As a mother, friend, volunteer, public speaker and yoga teacher, I have realized firsthand the importance of making time – free from the buzzing of BlackBerries, computers and other technology – for seeking inner solitude.

    I began my hatha yoga and meditation practice before I had kids, and I can truly say that it has helped me bring balance to my life and to the lives of my loved ones. Whether practicing alone or with my husband and children, the time I spend unplugged helps me recharge so I am ready to face the day with a deeply energized and calm mind.

    – Sophie Grégoire
    With the amount of time I spend on the road I rely heavily on my BlackBerry and iPad to stay in close contact with Ottawa, and updated on world events.

    I find some solace on flights when I can just turn my devices off and read a book or close my eyes for a few minutes. Back at home in Ottawa though, it can be a more difficult as this is a 24/7 job in which the world never sleeps.

    – Foreign Minister John Baird
    Personally I don't unplug. Or at least I don't intentionally.

    Every year I rent a cottage for a few weeks and having wifi is a deal breaker. Without fail whoever is renting the cottage will say "why don't you unplug and unwind - forget about the news".

    The answer is simple - "I would not like that".

    I like having headlines on my handheld device. I like having Twitter, I like being in contact with friends. Being in contact with work not so much, but I don't have a 9 to 5 job and being bothered goes with the territory.

    That said, I am not as bad as I used to be. I no longer check my BlackBerry in the shower and I will leave the house for a few hours at a time without my phone. I know this may not sound like a big deal to many people, but for me that is progress.

    I do travel all over Canada for work so I am often in areas without cell service, and I can deal with it. But if there is no internet access at night, I get a bit fidgety. When a senator resigns in disgrace I like to know about it in real time.

    Maybe my connectivity is not healthy but I feel about my BlackBerry the same way someone with a peanut allergy might feel about an epi pen.

    I don't need to have it with me at all times, but I feel better knowing it's there in case.

    I will unplug they day they unplug me.

    -Rick Mercer