If you’re planning a getaway sometime soon, why not turn that trip into a ‘digital detox’? By that, we mean a voyage in which you completely disconnect from technology and reconnect with reality. Yep, that means no mobile, no tablet, no social media, no internet…
This may sound initially unnerving, but we cannot stress enough just how beneficial such a trip will be for your physical and mental health. As just one example, depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness have been connected to persistent social media usage.
Here are four reasons why you should make your next trip technology-free.
Fall (back) in love with different interests
You might not realise it right now, but clicking and tapping away on your laptop and mobile steals a frightening amount of your time – time that could be better spent discovering new and old interests. In 2021, people in the United Kingdom spent a frightening average of four hours per day on just their mobile phones alone.
Four hours per day equals 1,460 hours per year – which is roughly 61 days. Yep, that’s over two months (out of 12!) spent solely on your phone. Think of how much you could have achieved in that time. Even if you’re only going away for a week, making it a digital detox trip should save you around 28 hours in total.
With all this spare time on your hands, you could start that book you’ve continuously promised yourself you’ll get around to or continue learning a new language. If those options aren’t your cup of tea, you could practise a new sport or learn how to play an instrument. Alternatively, do absolutely nothing with your spare time, which, in a way, is something in itself.
Whatever your interests, a digital detox will give you the gift of time, and you can spend it on whatever you want. As a result, you will return home feeling much more fulfilled and determined to pursue your hobbies.
Improve your sleeping pattern
When packing for your trip, resist the urge to load your backpacks up with various pieces of technology and watch how your sleeping pattern improves as a result. When using a mobile or tablet in bed, the screen’s light can trigger our alertness response when we should be drifting off to sleep. Some online activities can be so stimulating that we stop feeling ready to sleep entirely!
Sure, you could promise you’ll keep your mobile phone in your bedside drawer and your tablet downstairs, but the best thing to do is completely remove any temptation. Leave your devices at home and enjoy some technology-free nights to relax.
Once you see just how powerful an impact this can have on the length and quality of your sleep – and therefore how you feel the next day – you’ll be hesitant to use technology in bed before sleeping again.
Build better relationships
A digital detox trip is the perfect opportunity to build better relationships with the people around you – whether that be with your partner, family, friends, or even just yourself. If you’re going away with other people, you should encourage them to also leave all devices behind so you can fully invest this time in each other.
For the duration of your trip, it will be only you and those you’ve travelled with (or maybe just yourself). There’s no way of being randomly bothered by Simon from work, Julie from Pilates, or Annie the next-door neighbour. You also won’t have the opportunity to log into Facebook and check what 500 near-strangers have been doing with their day.
Fully immerse yourself in the company around you and watch how your relationship flourishes as a result. Nothing will ever replace the beauty of real-life connections, so be careful not to accidentally destroy those in the pursuit of digital ones.
Boost your attention span
A recent study has shown that technology has shrunk some attention spans from 12 minutes to just 5 minutes, which is a scary concept. Attention spans are directly related to how humans process and organise new information, as well as how productive we can be in important situations. An attention span that’s weakened as a result of over-reliance on technology more than likely means we cannot effectively do those things.
Steer clear of using any technology during your trip and you should see an improvement in your attention span. Instead of watching television or scrolling through social media, you could read a magazine, explore the great outdoors, meditate, or write in a journal.
It’ll be challenging but rewarding
We’re not saying that successfully cutting all ties with technology, even temporarily, is going to be easy, but we are certain that it’ll be worth it. A digital detox doesn’t have to mean having zero connection with the wider world, either. It just means being much more disciplined about who and what gets your time and when.
If you need to keep an open line of communication between yourself and your elderly parents, for example, you could buy a prepaid phone with basic features that allows you to only make calls or send text messages. That way, you can reap the benefits we’ve listed above while still being contactable in the case of an emergency.
We are so fortunate to have the internet and various forms of technology, and they do indeed serve strong purposes that allow us to live our lives in incredible ways that were once unimaginable. But the risks associated with these devices are very real, so we must find a balance. A digital detox is a great way to kickstart this!