The digital detox - the ability to switch off and go offline. The ability to have a work, life balance. The ability to disconnect from technology, social media, and emails so that you can better reconnect with yourself, friends and family.
Are you capable? Or do you think we have lost our ability to switch off entirely?
The Problem: Switching off
These days, it seems like social media and being online is a full-time job. In between text messages, emails, WhatsApp and everything else, we are constantly checking our phones for the next instant gratification. We’re constantly plugged in. Have we lost the ability to switch off?
You see, our research shows that 1 in 5 young Australians say they communicate with work while travelling. In America alone, from a recent study done by the U.S. Travel Association’s “Project: Time Off” campaign, American workers were reported to use almost a full week less of vacation leave than they did 20 years ago. And to add to such alarming findings, only 60% of American workers use ALL their vacation days.
So what exactly are the effects on our society if the workforce feels obligated to be working on holidays? With our need to be plugged in 24/7 and competing deadlines, we don’t want to be left behind, but the result of the digital rat race can create dire psychological effects on young individuals.
Now don’t get us wrong, we’re avid fans of social media – it’s one way we like to communicate with y’all. But the reality is, there are times when we all need to switch off.
This constant need to be ‘on’, that we’ll ‘miss out’ if we’re not scrolling through our Facebook or Instagram feeds, that we need to stay up to date on work emails. With the digital world growing and changing at an alarming rate, the ability to differentiate between work and life is becoming increasingly complex.
Which is why, more than ever, we need to allow time for our brains to recover and our minds to refresh before our mental state and bodies tell us otherwise.
RELATED ARTICLE: A digital detox could be the health-kick you were waiting for
Why we need to switch off
It’s important to know how and when to switch off and go on a digital detox. How to reconnect with your family, friends, and surroundings. How to be active and immersed in nature and the great outdoors.
Work-life balance is an integral part of our daily life. Brands like Virgin have implemented flex leave – employees can take as many vacation days as they want. Countries like Sweden have introduced 6-hour working days. China opened up an Internet rehabilitation centre designed for heavy internet users.
In Ariana Huffington’s book, Thrive, she discusses the impact over-working took on her as she hit her face on a desk one afternoon and woke up in a pool of blood from exhaustion. This burnout was her ultimate wake up call. She went on to change her lifestyle – but more importantly – her work policies. From working 18-hour days and 7 days a week to introducing nap-rooms, daily meditation and partaking in regular digital detoxes.
Bearing that in mind, numerous health studies have proven that a digital detox and taking time off work is good for your mental wellbeing. You are 1) Less likely to suffer from depression, 2) less stressed and 3) less likely to suffer from a heart attack.
"Don't be a work martyr. Do your job well and work hard, but take the vacation you deserve." - Bill Marriott
How to switch off
If you’re a tech-savvy, social media fiend – constantly tagging friends in embarrassing & hilarious Facebook meme videos, screenshotting things for inspo or saving article links for work ideas – no doubt – the prospect of being “offline” looks bleak and scary. But instead of boredom, we tend to find clarity. Take it from those at the top like Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and Ariana, founder of Huffington Post – Here are some proven techniques to switching off:
- Turn your phone off. Try to turn all electronic devices off 2 hours before you want to go to bed. Throw your phone halfway across the room so you aren’t tempted to pick it up or at least try find a time where you can block it out completely i.e dinner.
- Book a holiday (you deserve it) and schedule that time to turn off completely – which means NO EMAILS to work!
- Implement a “no email after work” policy and stick to it
- Relax, meditate and try yoga
- Get approximately 8-hours of sleep
The benefits of switching off
- Improved sleep and concentration
- Feeling more connected to the world and yourself
- Minimal distractions and increased productivity
- More time to focus on your passions, bringing balance to your life
- Elevated efficiency, creativity and decision-making skills
The best places to switch off
If you are interested in escaping modern life and going on a digital detox – a holiday is one of the best ways to switch off and reconnect with yourself, family and friends.
- A 4-day Inca trail trek to the Machu Pichu in Peru, Latin America
- Canada and The Rockies, some of the greatest outdoor adventures in the world
- New Zealand’s South Island for adventures & ultimate chill
- Australia’s East Coast for max beach time & sun
Have you got anything to add to this topic? Is there a place you like to travel to, to switch off? Let us know in the comments.
Visit www.contiki.com to find your next digital detox – Asia? New Zealand perhaps?