Digital detoxing on holiday

There’s so much talk of digital detoxing these days. If you feel guilty of checking your work emails or social media messages on holidays, then you may want to read further. Smartphones allow us to carry entire computers around in our pockets, so it’s really hard to switch off completely.

Rather than spending your time off sitting indoors, watching television, organise a family holiday to give yourself a proper break. If funds are tight you don’t need to splash out on an expensive trip abroad: sometimes a short hotel stay in a nearby town – or even going camping in your own backyard – gives you all the rest you need.

Here are good reasons to go for a digital detoxing on holiday:

You will be reminded of what your family looks like

These days everyone’s lives are so busy with getting the kids to school, rushing to work, driving everyone to their evening activities, cooking meals and preparing to do it all over again the next day that it feels like you never get to see the other members of your family.

You’re like ships in the night: passing in the corridor on your way to the bathroom or shouting a greeting as you fly through the door.

Taking a week or two for a family vacation will give you the time to sit down together that you don’t normally have. Long journeys or small hotel rooms will force you to spend time with your loved ones, talking and catching up about what’s really been happening in your lives recently.

Use a holiday to get to know your family again and to remind yourselves why you love each other.


You can all unwind together 

Work and school can throw up some very tough, stressful times for all members of a household.

If your family tends to take your breaks at different times of year – all taking a few days off individually rather than all at the same time – your energies will clash. While one person is trying to relax, another is getting run down by work; later in the year the roles might reverse.

If this happens, stress from as little as one person can cause real tension in the house, meaning that whoever has time off never gets to feel the benefits.

This is why you should try to organise your time as a family, arranging to take your holidays at the same time.

That way, there will be a designated period of time – say two weeks – when you will all be free from work stresses and a lack of sleep. If you all relax and unwind at the same time, you’ll all feel less tension – and less stress is good for your health.


You can try out new hobbies

As individuals you all have your own hobbies and interests, but how often do you really get involved in the things that the rest of your family enjoys?

Having a family vacation gives you a reason to do exactly that. If your kids love being active, hire some bikes for the day and go for a family cycle; if your husband or wife enjoys fishing, borrow some rods and spend a day at the lake.

It doesn’t matter what the activity is: if it’s something new in which you don’t normally participate, the variety will be stimulating and relaxing. If nothing else, trying out your loved ones’ hobbies will give you a deeper understanding of them as people and what makes them tick.

If you already get involved in each other’s hobbies or if you all enjoy the same thing, then you can always use the time trying out something completely different. At the very least it will be enriching, but you might end up finding a new passion. Call it an adventure!


You can better yourselves

Quite rightly, there is an association between time off work or school and relaxing. However, too often that idea of relaxing extends to lazing around at home – and that’s where the problems come in.

Yes, you might be able to catch up on sleep, but that’s about all you’ll do.

Organising a family vacation is a good excuse to get up off the couch and to better yourselves.

You’ll probably have more fresh air than if you were sitting at home, which benefits circulation and brain function. As well as keeping you healthy, you will feel the effects of this oxygen once you return to work.

You could take this a step further by spending your holiday doing sporting activities as a family. If you’ve headed to the mountains then give abseiling a try; if you’re at the beach then have a go at running or fast walking; if you’ve opted for a city break then go on a walking tour.

In this way, not only will you feel all the other benefits of having a family holiday – like spending quality time together – but you’ll be bettering yourselves health-wise, too.


You can make memories

When you’re lying on your deathbed, you won’t remember all the great times you’ve had sitting on the couch.

You’ll remember the quality time that you’ve spent with your loved ones, and you’ll remember all the experiences that you’ve shared.

Now is the time to go out and make those memories.

Taking a family holiday gives you a chance to step away from normal life and do something extraordinary.

It’s understandable (although not ideal) to keep your phone with you while you’re at work, but take advantage of a family break by doing a whole digital detox. Turn your phones and computers off, and just spend your time enjoying each other’s company. With no distractions, you’ll be open to different experiences and you’ll enjoy your time more.


Trust me: your kids will thank you for it.

The past decade has had an incredible impact on the way we communicate, especially over the last few years. The digital revolution is transforming the way teenagers remember and what they forget. With our phones being an extension of our bodies, it’s not rare that recording special moments becomes more important that actually enjoying them.

Technology has big benefits like supporting our learning process and boosting self-confidence, but overusing it could affect how we create and retain memories. 

As we increasingly embrace digitalisation in all aspects of our lives, memory and the way we remember, especially youngsters, are sparking a debate: is there still value in keeping tangible memories? While technology is giving us unlimited opportunities for storage, tactile objects like memory boxes are still acknowledged as a nostalgic way to look into the past.


Tangible memories

Tactile memories offer a strong connection to the past, allowing us to access all our five senses and triggering vibrant and vivid memories in the process. Therapist Lorna Cordell references new research from Horniman Museum London. In a recent study, people who were allowed to hold objects from the museum felt a stronger connection to them than those who only viewed them.

“The difference in experience was clear, with all those who could hold an object happy that they could do so and all those who could view the object only, wished they had been able to hold it” Lorna Cordell.

Experts collaborating on our study agree that tangible memories have a benefit on intergenerational relationships. “It’s almost like giving a tradition to the younger generation”, states Dr. Tony Ortega, while research professor Andrew Hoskins highlights the strong significance of objects from our past: “Despite the decay and wear and tear of photographs, letters, and other objects that are reminders of people and past experiences, their keeping is like holding on to those people and experiences”.

The most tangible memories can be created by exploring idyllic locations such as Bali, Marrakech, Tenerife, Colombo, Dubai, Ibiza while on a digital detox break.

Ibiza Santa Eulalia

Digital memories

New memory studies from this year reveal that we are seeing a radical transformation in the way teens remember and the things we forget. Technology has re-engineered memory, with digital opening up more avenues for us to store and access our memories, which both imprisons and liberates active human remembering and forgetting.

The digital revolution has paved the way for the immediacy of instant search and given us instant access to our past.

The act of recording has become more urgent than seeing that which is being recorded.

Smartphone technology has created a compulsion to record and filter all aspects of our everyday lives. The present is literally being screened out by the digital as the default way of seeing the world… The unrecorded areas of our lives are shrinking fast. I know it’s a paradox but despite taking so many pictures or videos, the only lasting photographs are the ones we sometimes print.

Technology has undeniable benefits to our lives, however, when it comes to building memories, tangible objects can be more helpful as they immerse you in the moment, allowing you to really re-live important moments from your teenage years.

But if, after a digital detoxing break, you still feel that you go back to bad habits with your smartphone, pick up a new un-putdownable book by Integrative Psychotherapist Hilda Burke called ‘The phone addiction workbook’. By the time you have finished reading it, you have lost interest in the smartphone altogether.  Despite my best efforts to keep away from phone distractions, I had realised before reading this book that I was actually hooked on the instant gratification effect from receiving notifications of friends’ messages and likes on social media. This working book is absolutely eye-opening and helpful to break those detrimental habits. The workbook format is great as it forces you to write notes on your self-analysis and work in progress while you learn how to detach yourself from this unproductive habit. This manual is a simple Step-by-step Guide to Stop Endless, Useless and Anxiety-Inducing Checking, Swiping, and Liking Smartphone technology that has fundamentally changed the ways humans live, work, and communicate. But being always connected has trained people to constantly check in and instantly respond to messages. Everyone needs to put down their phones and pick up this book instead.


In collaboration with Opodo

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