We’ve been warned for years about the effects of too much screen time. But, just how much damage can our tablets, laptops, smartphones and televisions cause and how can we reduce how much we rely on such devices?
The digital detox holiday is one solution that has gained momentum. It’s essentially used as a way to cut yourself off from all forms of technology — meaning no texting, emailing or social media use — and aims to reduce your stress levels, take up ‘real world’ activities and focus on quality, physical socialization.
From the best locations to head to, to why they’re beneficial, we take a look at the advantages held by a digital detox holiday and how you can get on board…
What’s wrong with screen time?
It’s pretty much impossible to avoid technology in 2018, isn’t it? Around four billion people use the internet globally, according to 2018 Global Digital reports, while other studies have reported that as many as 83% of UK adults are active on social media. But, how is this affecting our emotional and mental health and is a digital detox necessary?
A study into the impact of technology on mental health, by the University College of London’s Dr Kiki Leutnerfound that screen use played a big part on our levels of socialization, concentration and sense of ‘the real world’. In other experiments, researchers in the US found that only an hour of screen time a day caused an increase in unhappiness levels in adolescents, while a study by the National Institute of Mental Health noted a significant link between social media use and depression and another discovered a connection between constant phone-checking and high stress levels. What’s more, screen overuse can send our brains’ electrical activity into overdrive and hinder the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin; causing sleep deprivation and a less rested mind for the following day, according to scientists at Harvard Medical School.
While it’s true that technology can help us learn and communicate, but overuse is seen to be harmful — which has given rise to the digital detox holiday or ‘tech-free tourism’.
Digital detox holidays
Many of us struggle to go off the grid as today’s world sees being contactable as almost essential. However, the rising trend in tech-free tourism has made this simpler than ever, with a variety of beautiful locations across the UK to help inspire us to concentrate on ourselves and nature rather than phones and laptops.
So, how can you set up a digital detox holiday and what is key in choosing your destination? Firstly, decide how you want to keep your attention active so that you don’t start craving your Facebook feed. Have you ever fancied taking up yoga or enjoy daily massages? Go to a country health spa. Think long hikes with your partner would help? Book a bed and breakfast in the Lake District. Don’t get the chance of fresh sea air? Head to England’s south-east coast.
If you haven’t been on a tech-free break previously, look for somewhere that specializes in such a digital detox to make it easier. Being out of your comfort zone means that you’re less likely to fall into old habits, such as Instagramming a photo of your favorite spot. However, the best way to ensure you can remain completely free of the temptation of technology is to go to an off-grid establishment. Many hotels in the UK are off-grid, using an LPG supplier and gas cylinder instead of a mains grid connection to provide energy to their customers and helping them detach from busy city life. By opting for accommodation in places like these, you help to reduce the risk of reaching a breaking point where you simply can’t be without your favorite TV show or beloved Facebook feed anymore, as you’re typically surrounded by beautiful countryside with plenty of hotel-run activities to enjoy.
Here are a few of the top of-grid sites around the UK to consider if you’re looking for a tech-free break:
- Herm Island: The White House Hotel encourages yoga and star-gazing — it’s also free of TVs!
- The Scottish Highlands: find a cottage and enjoy fishing trips and long walks.
- Brecon Beacons National Park: many glamping sites here embrace mindfulness and nature.
- Saddell: a small Scottish village with secluded cottages and lodges to rent.
- Lundy Island: on the south-west coast, you’re surrounded by water to feel truly disconnected.
- Northumberland National Park: here, you can rent a tipi or yurt in tranquil woodlands.
How to enjoy your stay
Astudy into screen-use time which was published in The Guardian found that a typical user looks at their smartphone 39 times over the course of 24 hours. With reports claiming that the average adult spends nearly six hours a day engaging in digital media, it’s not surprising that cutting yourself off completely is difficult. So, how do you make it easier?
If you are serious in wanted to attend a digital detox holiday, it’s crucial that you prepare yourself. If you know you’ll be tempted, simply don’t pack your phone, tablet, and laptop. Or keep a phone locked away in the car for emergencies only. Before you choose your detox destination, look online to see what you can do to fill in your time and make a note of these, so you don’t forget. Typically, you can do any of the following activities on a digital detox getaway:
Arts and crafts.
This form of detoxing helps to put you back in control of your life and hands you with an opportunity to truly leave work behind. Apart from lowering your stress levels, enhancing mental positivity and improving your social interactions; digital detox holidays are available all over the UK — no need for expensive trips abroad to relax. Browse online today for your next tech-free break.