"If you want to fully immerse yourself in the holiday experience, you can try doing a digital detox."
Imagine soaking in the dazzling sun in your new designer bikini, your hair dancing in rhythm with the sea breeze, and your heart skipping a beat to the next chapter of your compelling book until—
—your phone goes on a buzzing spree. You feel the urge to check your notifications, which then turns into a long afternoon of email replies, Facebook comments, and Instagram DMs. But isn’t the main purpose of a holiday to calm your mind and recover from the digital sensory overload we’re constantly exposed to?
Carrying your phone around like a little puppy all the time completely defies the purpose. Our efforts to relax and be in the present moment are overshadowed by the all-consuming light of our phone screens when the only light we need is the sunlight!
Take notice of your surroundings
What is your next holiday destination? Is it a city break that submerges you into its ancient history, a luxury beach resort, or a wellness and spa retreat? Whatever type of holiday you have planned, its distinctive feature is the change of scenery, which can be anything from historic buildings to a jungle setting.
But if you have your eyes set on your phone all the time, you’ll miss out on the unique surroundings. Although you might feel urged to check your phone maps for directions, you can combat that impulse by planning your route ahead of time or bringing a paper map with you. Do it the old-fashioned way and reward yourself with an old-fashioned cocktail!
Meet new people
Oftentimes, we get so excited when we’re on a holiday that we want to share it with all our friends and family via social media. However, you can easily do that after your holiday instead of cutting down on your holiday time.
You might think you’re socialising, but you’re only distancing yourself from reality. A study published in The Guardian shows that a typical user checks their smartphone 39 times every 24 hours. Of course, it’s important to keep your close ones updated about your experiences. That’s why you can set a specific time to call your family to avoid giving in to the temptation to overuse your phone.
The biggest perk of your digital detox is having the opportunity to meet new people. When you’re present and ready to converse with other travellers, waiters, bartenders, and locals, you are likely to make unforgettable memories, and maybe even friends for life!
It’s time to make the hardest decision: do you take a striking #holidaymeal photo and share it with your followers, or do you savour your meal in the company of the people that are with you?
If you go for the first option and bring your phone along to dinner, your attention will be on the increasing likes and approval rather than on the quality of your food. But if you decide to leave your gadgets behind, you will reap the benefits of mindful eating, including reduced overeating, help with chronic eating problems, and better focus.
The essence of mindful eating is consuming your food with all your senses. Devour the tastefully arranged plate, feel the warmth of the freshly baked sourdough bread, smell the blend of aromatic spices, listen to the gentle crunch of that crispy bacon, and savour the distinctive tastes of the local flavours. Plus, you might be trying exotic dishes for the first time ever, so make your mealtime count!
Let the sunshine in
Imagine having brunch by the pool and drinking cocktails in the company of your girlfriends when, all of a sudden, your phone pings and the magic is ruined.
In order to preserve the moment, leave your phone in your hotel room, preferably for the whole day, and instead, focus on getting that stunning tan.
While you might have to sacrifice the cool photo by the pool, a digital detox will help you get more immersed in your destination and create cherished memories with your friends or family. A recent observational study explored the effects of digital-free travel on participants’ emotions. The results showed that the experiment contributed to their well-being. One participant said: “I feel quite good that I made it this far without technology. I feel quite liberated.” Fly, you free soul!
The aftermath: the mystery awaits you
By the time your holiday digital detox ends, your anticipation would’ve built up, and you will be looking forward to reading your messages and checking your notifications. Who has messaged you, whose birthday is it today, and what’s the latest bikini trend that has emerged in the time you were gone?
Back in the day, our ancestors had to wait for weeks to receive letters from their distant family members and friends. What they possessed, however, is a quality we’re often lacking nowadays – patience.
Leaving your phone at home is a great way to exercise your patience, learn how to cherish face-to-face time, and not to expect instant gratification. That way, you’re building long-lasting bonds and becoming a better, more mindful person!
Now that your holiday digital detox is over, you might feel urged to go back to your old habits. But before you do that, try and evaluate the benefits of this experiment on your physical and mental health. Hopefully, this will inspire you to dedicate at least a day a month to detoxify from the all-consuming technology.