Once upon a time, vacationers looking for the ultimate holiday would search for resorts based solely on the amenities and services on offer, the location, and in general, how much there was to do in an out of their resort of choice.
Nowadays, one of the first things people consider before checking in is internet connectivity; most of us want to know just how connected the hotel or resort is, and whether that connection is strong or reliable enough for us to remain accessible to the people who need to reach us, and so that we’ll be able to get things done in between.
This quite obviously defeats the purpose of a vacation, which ideally would entail leaving behind all the stresses of life, and of every obligation that is not pressing in the moment. Vacations are meant for relaxing, and disconnecting.
Picture: Sandals Grande St. Lucian beach.
The fact that digital detox holidays have increased in popularity over the years isn’t even surprising, particularly as nearly everyone has at least 2,617 daily tech interactions.
This includes time spent on the phone, watching television, checking the news on whatever device is handy, shifting through email, indulging in YouTube videos, and more.
That is a huge allotment of time… time that can be spent doing so many other things that do not involve fancy devices.
In this article on the Sandals Blog:
Digital devices can get in the way of us living our most exciting lives, if we let them. We may not explore the world, or even be as present in our own lives as we should be, if we allow ourselves to be completely consumed in technology.
Are you governed by technology?
Perhaps you’re reading this article on your phone right now. That at least shows that you’re somewhat digitally connected, but how much does technology influence the things you do, and the decisions you make?
This is important to determine the steps you need to take to find the digital detox opportunity that’s right for you.
Technology has often been described as “an extension one’s self”, and all natural, in the sense that it was created by us, with natural resources available to us. The world of 0’s and 1’s helps us to communicate with people across the oceans, navigate geographical areas, and even explore other worldly territories, like explorations of Mars and the moon. The digitization of information represents everything in the digital world and makes it possible for us to freely use all sorts of digital and computerized gadgets and devices.
The most commonly recognized drawback to digital technology, which admittedly, has added so much to our lives, is that people can become over reliant on it, and even become addicted to the marvel that it offers. This can cause us to withdraw from the real world and focus most of our attention on things solely inside of the technological bubble.
This has led to an increase in reported cases of depression and anxiety disorders across the world, which in some cases is driven by a digital world of comparative living – judging your own life, based on the photos and videos other people post of theirs. This is most common on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others – posting platforms engineered to keep you engaged and online for as long as possible. Posts on these sites are often described as “highlight reels”, because they sum up the best portions of a person’s life, and the aspects they’d like the public to see. Rarely are negative moments, or failures spotlighted.
This is the world we live in. So complicated – but it doesn’t have to be.
The time will come for everyone, when there is a deep longing to disconnect, and a desire to spend some time off-the-grid. When that moment comes, many of us are left wondering how exactly to go about it. Sure, you can just tuck your phone into your dresser drawer, and throw your computer out the window, but chances are, if you choose to do the latter, you will end up in a state of regret, because let’s be real, there will be a time for reconnecting.
If you decide it’s time for a digital detox, in most cases, the people closest to you will understand.
When you finally decide to detox, keep in mind that moderation is key. The goal is to reset your relationship with technology. There’s no need to prove a point. Whether you go about your detox by completely disconnecting, or moderating the time you spend connected, it’s entirely up to you.
A digital detox is a period of time spent “unhooked”, or disconnected from your favorite digital devices. This helps to rid your mind of clutter, and to take a break from a digital world that literally never sleeps. To detox effectively from the digital world, you’ll need to disconnect from pretty much anything that connects to the internet – even watches and exercise trackers!
The good news is that this can be done in moderation – you can choose to go on a social media hiatus, or to swap watching TV reading a book, while setting aside a particular time, maybe 10 minutes in the evening, to check up on things that require the internet. Such as checking out that flight for your detox holiday in a completely internet free zone!
If you can relate to any of the above, then it may be time to seriously consider a digital detox.
The best way to detox is to get out of the environment in which you feel compelled to indulge in the ever expanding digital world.
Being constantly connected can become an addiction, if you let it. Some studies have shown that just like an addiction, our bodies crave the endorphin and dopamine feedback that comes after post sharing and post reading. An addiction occurs when one has an uncontrollable compulsion to do a thing or habit. It can either be extreme, or mild, and the level determines how best one can deal with it. With digital addictions, sometimes all it takes is the realization that there is so much more to life than being glued to a device!
Did you know? The average Facebook user scrolls through their Facebook newsfeed the equivalent height of the Empire State Building each day?
Below are seven ways to reduce screen time and find your inner serenity through a digital detox:
It may be easier to have a successful digital detox period if you put yourself in the right environment. This is where the digital detox holiday comes in. You’re unlikely to be tempted to use your device if you choose to unplug at a luxury-included resort like Sandals, because these resorts are all centered around (re)connecting with our loved ones.
Out with the old, and in with the new. Replace those digital cravings with something new and exciting that is highly cathartic, like arts & crafts, journaling, photography, and pretty much anything that you’ve always wanted to do but never quite found the time. Pull out that Bucket List and get moving!
The goal of a digital detox is to better your overall health, and exercising is a great way to start. Whether you want to hit the gym for a high intensity work out, or try yoga or meditation exercises, that’s entirely up to you. Yoga is known to improve your mental and physical balance, and help with your breathing. It has also been credited for increased energy levels, and can stimulate proper blood circulation. Popular types of yoga include Pranayama Yoga, Yoga Asana, Vinyassa Flow Yoga and Hatha Yoga.
Plan in advance to ensure you have some interesting reading material, whether books or magazines. Find something that will keep you engrossed, and make it part of your daily routine. There are long-term benefits to reading, as reading before you go to sleep especially, has shown to improve your long and short-term brain health, and memory.
Did you know? When you sleep, your brain initiates the process to store what is in your short-term memory, into your long-term memory?
Maybe it’s been a while, but you’re bound to find something exciting to do outside, whether you choose to go for hikes and long walks or go on a cycling or beach adventure.
Insider Tip: Sandals offers several all-inclusive properties in the Caribbean that will help you get at-one with nature. Our resorts are in some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean!
Maybe not literally, but consider not bringing it with you if you’re planning a detox holiday. If you can’t afford the kind of anxiety that comes with not having your phone with you when you need it, tuck it away somewhere safe so that only your partner or travel buddy knows where it is. Ask them to only give it to you in the event of an emergency. If you’re both on a detox holiday, you can do the same with their phone. If you must, limit the amount of devices you bring with you on holiday, to one essential item.
It is as simple, and as complicated as that. Be present, and by that we mean, appreciate what is happening in every minute and second of the day. Know that even if you choose to detox for a day or two, or even a week, you’re really not missing out on anything that you can’t catch up with later, if you choose to. Recognize that life is precious, and that we should spend all the time we can, appreciating the people around us and the moments we get to share with them.
There are a wide range of things that happen when you let go of compulsion, and make room for things that really matter. Most importantly, you feel free. Some of the reported benefits of a digital detox include decreased stress levels, and an overall boost in gratitude for the simple things in life. Some people experience lower blood pressure and heartrates as a result, as well as better sleep, and focus. Being less consumed with the digital world can also result in more clarity, enhanced vision and creativity. It allows you to decompress, reflect, and positively shift your perspective.
Picture: A group returning from a windsailing adventure at Sandals Grande Antigua.
A well-executed digital detox can also get you on the way to a more balanced life, in a more mindful state of awareness. You may find that you’re less tired, and that you no longer feel that you’re suffering from information overload. Overall, your health will improve as your technological dependency drops, and along the way it is very likely that you’ll better understand the implications of being constantly connected, and why this needs to be moderated.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of all is the development of better relationships, in your new mindful state, and improvements in your career, and personal happiness!
Not convinced you need a detox? Consider this…
Half of smartphone users spend between three and seven hours per day on their mobile devices, according to a 2017 global survey by Counterpoint Research, a technology consulting firm. Nonprofit Common Sense Media also reports that based on a separate study they conducted, 69% of parents and 78% of teens checked their devices on the hour, at least. Still more studies have shown that guests on vacation bring along at least three devices, checking their phone almost 80 times a day. Think of how much you’ll be missing out on while on vacation by staying in a restrictive digital bubble…
Of all the quotes of the renowned theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, perhaps this one resonates the most in this amplified digital era: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction, the world will have a generation of idiots.” If he truly was the author of these words, and considering the times we now live in, perhaps it would be in our best interest to lessen our reliance on technology, and live in the moment the way it’s always been intended. Perhaps too, that transition back to that sense of normalcy, begins with an ultimate getaway, at a resort like Sandals, which to its credit, offers some of the best-all-inclusive packages, with so much to do that you won’t find any reason to watch the clock, or your phone.
One of the best places to have a detox vacation is in the Caribbean. The reason for this is that the region offers the best of both worlds in terms of proximity to the US, and a digital detox on Caribbean shores is almost guaranteed to be temptation free, just for the fact that you’ll be so consumed with the beauty of the islands.
Picture: The beach at Sandals Grande St. Lucian resort.
Sandals Resorts is a great choice for a digital detox vacation, as the entire Sandals concept focuses on the guest experience, ensuring guests can do as much, or as little as they want to. So, just after you stash your phone away, you and your partner will be able to engage in activities including snorkeling and scuba diving, water sports, or simply just enjoying the seemingly endless list of gourmet restaurants for your dining pleasure.
If you go to the signature Red Lane Spa, book a couple’s massage to release any tensions you might have build up over time. Together, explore Sandals' private offshore islands or book a room with a private swim up pool to really feel like the King and Queen of your castle.
Picture: Private suite pool at Sandals Grande Antigua.
At all Sandals resorts, you’ll be able to eat and drink to your heart’s content, without having to carry around money, tips, or anything at all! You’ll have access to Quiet Zones and you can take in stretching sessions for couples at the Sandals Red Lane Spa Fitness Centers.
With its adults-only resorts that are 100% focused on being present in the moment with your loved one, it would seem that Sandals had the digital detox holiday figured out, long before it was even a thing.
If you decide to go on a digital detox holiday, before you ask for the Wi-Fi password during check in, consider just how much fun you’ll still be able to have in an amazing destination, without it!