A digital detox can reduce anxiety and stress; it also helps deal with information overload and technology dependency. You may find yourself feeling tired and overwhelmed for no specific reason. Think of all the tasks you have to undertake during the day.
How much time do you spend being bombarded by useless information? How often do you get distracted by notifications and updates?
You may not realize how much of your productivity is influenced by the digital world. You need time to disconnect if you want to live a balanced life. Most of us work on computers during the day. We then come back home and continue looking at screens: whether it’s watching television, a movie on a tablet, playing computer games or checking social media on a mobile phone, it’s hard to switch off. Do you have time to recharge? To simply go for a walk or talk face to face with a friend?
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is rife online but it’s important to remember that reality, nature, and the ability to disconnect helps us reboot. Digital detoxes are a lifestyle choice whereby we switch off all the devices and focus on different activities. Unplugging will help you to overcome the feeling of burning out or becoming less productive.
Even deciding to take a day off from technology (a one-day digital detox) will work. Don’t be afraid of the things you have to do before starting a digital detox. Those things can wait. Make a decision.
If you know you are tired of technology and you want to escape it for a while, the best way to do this is to literally get up and go somewhere. You can choose from various places where there is no WiFi connection or the phone signal is so low it makes long conversations impossible. There are digital detox retreats all over the world. We have listed a few below and we hope you’ll find them interesting.
Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden, Germany.
If you have a day, you could try Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden, Germany.
This is one of the only hotels where a digital detox package is provided. In one of the villas, all of the rooms have specially painted copper plates on the walls which block electronic signals with the flip of a bedside switch, eliminating electrosmog. The hotel is almost 150-years-old and it has access to a large, private park. This is an elegant and outstanding place to visit. You can relax in a sauna or Turkish bath and there’s even a plunge pool. All of these facilities are phone-unfriendly.
The Digital Detox, press materials, a man using a line park in the trees
If you have a weekend, there’s The Digital Detox, Navarro, California, USA.
This is a California-based camp for adults, organized by Levi Felix and Brooke Dean. Their journey to becoming digital detox event hosts was long and full of surprises. Felix had a job in a developing startup but soon became tired of his 80 hour work week. His partner, Brooke, wanted to make some significant changes in her life too. Both of them decided to go on a trip, continuing to travel for almost two years. They visited a lot of countries and focused on building relations with locals.
Their trip started in Thailand, on a 10-day silent retreat in a Buddhist Monastery where they studied yoga and mindfulness surrounded by hills of rice paddies. They remembered that the most important lessons they learned were from the farmers and children of rural towns in the neighbourhood. This experience changed their lives.
They felt the power of being connected to real people and decided to raise awareness back home.They then discovered some statistics such as ‘the average American spends more than half of their day staring at the screen of a mobile phone, laptop, tablet, television etc.’ When they returned, they wanted to help people notice the world that surrounds them.
They wanted everyone to meet one another and to talk face to face. They started events like ‘Device-Free Drinks’ which was very popular. These events took place in bars and it was forbidden for anyone to look at their mobile phone. Now, they organize digital detox retreats called ‘Camp Grounded: Summer Camp for Adults’. Their guests are from all over the world. ‘Camp Grounded’ was even described in the media as one of the best places for a digital detox and one of the first offering such a variety of activities.
When you go there for a retreat, you hand over your electronic devices to the hosts. There is no time to even think about going through social media as there are several courses, classes, and activities to choose from, such as analogue art or writing, and even yoga and mindfulness.
The cost of a digital detox weekend spent in Navarro, California is close to 300 dollars and there are about 300-350 participants each time. There are some rules all of the guests have to follow (besides the obvious one: being device-free). For example, there is no ‘W’ talking (work talking) allowed and every participant gets a nickname by which they will be called at the camp. The camp resembles those some remember from when they were at school. A lot of activities may remind you of your childhood: board games, pillow fights, games of truth or dare and talent shows.
Luke Felix, one of the camp hosts, said: “Without the distractions of digital technology for a brief period of time, and with the permission to just be yourself and to know that that’s going to be accepted, the combination of those two just erupts and unfurls the opportunity for people to be totally authentic and open and share.“ If you are interested, you can contact Camp Grounded via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A cloudy day with a view of a field
If you have a week, there are ‘It’s Time to Log Off‘ digital detox retreats.
The hosts of these digital detox retreats say: “This is not only about switching off a phone for a bit. It’s about stopping looking down at a smartphone screen and starting to look up at the world instead.”
They are working on a mindful connection with nature so their camps are always organized in beautiful, outstanding areas of the world. ‘Time to log off’ are offering an amazing trip to Hawaii where guests stay in a traditional 19th-century ranch near some of the most famous beaches for surfers.
The first thing you do on arrival (as with most digital detox retreats) is hand over all electronic devices with a screen (from smartphones to games consoles). It is called a ‘ritual’. Then, a plan for each day is presented. Every day is full of walking, relaxation and yoga classes. Guests are also invited to join creative workshops and surfing lessons. There is also an opportunity to try out Hawaiian cuisine. The area is beautiful and the calm nature helps you to disconnect. If you want to really unplug for a few days, you could choose this kind of holiday. It costs about 3,000 pounds (about 4,065 US dollars).
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, press materials
If you have two weeks you could book a trip to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
This is a well-known and outstanding destination for a digital detox. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has 32 islands with idyllic beaches, coral reefs, and turquoise lagoons. Unwind, switch off, and de-tech. When you arrive, you can choose from a number of different activities such as yachting, scuba diving or simply enjoying nature. Almost everything that isn’t connected to electronic device use is available. A de-tech is like unplugging from the world for a while. It is a complete digital detox which may help you achieve the right state of mind so that you won’t depend on modern technology as strongly.
In a lot of hotels offering digital detox retreats, there are also life coaches who can help you prepare for a detox. One of them, Louis Gillespie-Smith from Black Tomato, has some practical tips. Before coming here, take care of your e-mails and deadlines at work. There should be no distractions on the retreat.
Then, let people know you will be non-contactable (not that you are picking only urgent e-mails, there will be no contact at all). If you miss someone, tell him or her to write you a letter. You’ll get that halfway through your retreat. It is important to be sure why you choose to go on a digital detox. It is for your own well-being.
You should be ready to embrace a different version of yourself, an updated version, with activities such as dancing, reading, writing and exploring, you won’t miss your mobile phone. If you are keen to go on an organized trip, you can choose “Black Tomato”, one of the travel agencies organizing digital detoxes in the Caribbean.
The cost starts from 2,900 pounds per person (about 3,929 US dollars). SVG is not easy to access so getting there is a part of the adventure. This is one of the most beautiful places on earth to have a digital detox.
Two people on bicycles looking at nature
If you like to travel, try Digital Detox Travels, worldwide via IntrepidTravel.
This is the ultimate offer from a travel agency who specialize in digital detox holidays. The idea behind it is to travel as people used to do several years ago. There was no social media and people were not constantly available via mobile phones.
When you were travelling, you were present only at your destination and no issues from your everyday life were on your mind because you had no access to information from your friends. It is not like today when it is sufficient to look at your mobile phone just to know what your friends ate for lunch.
The travel agency claims that travelling a few decades ago was a full experience: being present, talking to locals, feeling the vibe of the city. People were ready for adventure and not to put hundreds of photos online. Actually, mobile phone photography is prohibited on these travels (but a camera is allowed).
You can choose from a number of destinations: Morocco, Vietnam, India etc. You can have your friends or family with you or you can go with strangers who also want to unplug. Important rules include no mobile phones and no social media. Participants remembered it was hard at the beginning to get used to it. If they were lost, they had to ask for directions. If they wanted to find a nice place to chill, they needed to ask for a recommendation. If they couldn’t find a word in a foreign language, they had to use a body language instead of an online translator. It was a real adventure.
Of course, they were passing people with smartphones or laptops, spending their time in coffee shops but they were not bothered by that. They talked to each other, shared their opinions and had the time of their lives. It is hard to believe, that we are so used to having a mobile phone close to us that we sometimes forget life without it is possible.
It is not easy, some participants actually checked their social media at night, in the hotel but only out of habit. Most of them found it relieving to be disconnected from social networks, even for a short while.
You don’t have to go on a digital detox long term. We just want to show you how many opportunities there are to be unplugged and feel the difference. You can also try to have a digital detox at home. It is not necessary for you to go to exotic places (although it helps).
We often switch off all of our electronic devices at least for one day, especially on weekends, when we’re at home. We recommend you try to do the same. It helps us stay focused.
We’d Love to Hear from You
Is there anything you’d like to add, have we missed anything? Have you ever been on a digital detox? How did you find it? Was it easy to unplug? Where did you go? Perhaps a digital detox retreat is your next step? Where will you go?
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