With the media buzzing with the term digital detox at present, Kathryn Brierley, Founder and Director of yoga retreat company destination yoga, shares her top tips on how to disconnect digitally during holiday downtime.
Have your holidays become invaded by the smart phone? With parents snapping and sharing every moment on Instagram, friends checking the Rio medal table and teens tweeting at every opportunity? Then some tips on how to claw back those pre-digital days, reconnect with friends and family and learn to ‘live in the moment’ again might just be first on your holiday check list.
But how do we lay down our digital devices when they’re now our alarms clocks, weather checkers, newspapers, social hubs and workplace all in one? It does need discipline and, in fact, a holiday does present the perfect opportunity to disconnect, seeing as your daily routine is changed anyway. On all our yoga retreats we really do urge everyone to try and switch off, in the very least commit to only checking emails once a day if they really need to. Above all, it’s important for all guests to switch off their alerts for the sake of the group.
The first thing to remind yourself is that, even in this non-stop world of technology, the very point of a holiday hasn’t changed one bit- they are still about switching off, relaxing and leaving behind every day stresses. Whether for just a few hours a day, a whole weekend or an entire two week break, the act of disconnecting from your digital devices should help you relax, enjoy a slower pace of life, sleep better, create deeper relationships with those around you and improve your holiday experience. So switch off your social media accounts and swap screen swiping for actual page turning!
And if you need any convincing on why there is a real need to ‘reclaim’ your holiday, research carried out by the Chartered Management Institute in 2015 found that UK employees unwittingly cancelled out their entire annual leave (29 days!) by checking emails outside of work hours. The study found that smart phones are instrumental in this ‘always on’ culture and that the ‘burnt out’ feeling after hours of screen time is the inevitable price.
So what help is out there to ease the stresses of the digi detox? There are some brilliant apps and gadgets out there that can really ease you into it. Freedom blocks the internet completely for up to eight hours and can block your most distracting websites and apps for set periods of time. Or, if you need to physically detach yourself from your smart phone, then the beautifully designed Hiatus Box holds and hides up to ten phones for a set amount of time, meaning you can once again enjoy an uninterrupted meal or take time out to relax with no distractions.
Actually one of the easiest ways to detox is to approach digital devices in the same way as you would if cutting out caffeine, sugar, alcohol or red meat. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people and stepping away from anything that resembles your everyday life is a great start. Retreats and healthy holidays that focus on resting mind and body are perfect and this is where we come in. destination yoga holidays allow guests to retreat to a traditional masseria in Italy or a renovated olive farm in the Andalucían countryside for a week of early nights, sunrise yoga, organic vegetarian food and far reaching views of sunflowers and mountains (where teachers kindly encourage disconnecting from the internet). This might just be the ticket to all your digital detox problems- prepared to be amazed how quickly you can forget about your handheld friend!
After you realise how liberating the feeling of a digital free week is, you might just be able to return to your everyday life and set some new digital boundaries, especially outside the work environment when you are in more control of your screen time, large or small! Start by switching off the WIFI at night, give it a go, you will sleep better and you won’t regret it.