Not too long ago, someone put to me the question: “If you had to choose between a sewerage system or the internet, which would you choose?” I hesitated immediately. A life without a sewerage system was unimaginable. The mess, the smell, the germs. But a life without internet…… back to the analogue era of the 90s, didn’t appeal much either.
Just Google it
Eventually, common sense triumphed over digital convenience and reluctantly, I chose for a life without internet. By doing so, apparently I revealed my age, because it would seem that, when faced with this question, those over 35 chose for a life without internet. We were the last generation to really experience this in real life. Those in their twenties, however, had no trouble choosing: simple, do away with the sewerage system. Then just Google how to install sewers.
Digital life or real life?
Despite our internet addiction – or actually, because of it – more and more people are opting for a digital detox. Constantly being ‘switched on’ is impacting our health. Recent research revealed that we check our phones on average 264 times a day. That number is 387 for youth under the age of 24, which equates to once every 3.5 minutes (assuming 8 hours of sleep per day) or 1 x per 2.5 minutes for young people. Work, social media, businesses, friends, vague acquaintances and even complete strangers bombard our lives 24/7 with endless amounts of news, messages and entertainment. But how enjoyable can looking at your phone every two minutes be? When do you get round to your work, family, friends and yourself in real life? How much information can a person handle?
Frazzled brains – digital overload
Being constantly ‘on’ can cause stress, nervousness and even burnout. The endless stream of information lowers concentration, creativity and problem-solving ability. Our brains are overworked. Heavy users sleep worse, experiencing all of the health issues associated with poor sleep. In young people, a link was identified between too much time on social media and depression and feelings of loneliness.
Digital detox on holiday
A digi-detox is far from an excessive indulgence, but an investment in your health and happiness. Do you want to get offline good and proper? Why not plan yourself a digi-detox wellness holiday. Do be aware, however, that you use your phone for a lot of daily activities. So a successful digital detox requires good preparation. Just 28% of those who attempt a digi-detox manage to sustain it. Take these tips on board and increase your chances of a successful digital detox holiday.
Tips for a digi-detox holiday
- Take a separate camera, alarm and potentially a calculator with you (for converting foreign currency)
- Ensure that your bank accounts are in order before your trip, so that you won’t need to transfer funds whilst you’re away.
- Do some research on your destination and the region in advance so that you won’t need to Google restaurants or sights to see when you’re there. Or purchase a travel guide on the area. They will also contain maps for finding your way around. Another fun alternative: let your intuition guide you and ask the locals for their tips there and then.
- Pack books, a pen and paper.
Be sure to monitor the time you spend on your smartphone at home, too. These tips will help keep your on- and offline lives in balance.
Tips for minimising digital time:
- Set a timer
Check your phone at set intervals and not in between. During the downtime, switch off the alerts on your apps.
- Create phone-free rooms /activities
The car is an obvious one, but also consider the gym, time spent playing with your kids, during meals, walks, in the bath and in your bedroom. Look around you, truly connect with people and with yourself. Enjoy the environment and the moment.
- Delete social media apps from your phone
How often do you find yourself deep in thought or in the middle of something when you are disturbed by a notification for a new message on Facebook or another social media app? Do away with those constant attention grabbers and decide for yourself when you check by only viewing your social media channels on a desktop.
Our final tip for successful offline time is to let people know that you are offline. We are so used to everyone being available all of the time, that we often start to panic when someone doesn’t respond right away. Make it clear that you are offline and where and on which telephone line you can be reached in the event of an emergency. That way, no news is good news and you can really relax.
Check out all of our Digital Detox holidays here.