In this increasingly fast-paced and digitally influenced era, it can be difficult to find the time to switch off. If you have a smart phone, it’s so tempting to check it repeatedly throughout the day, especially when waiting in queues or travelling.
Realising you’ve left your phone at home can sometimes induce mild panic, and the thought of being without it is something few of us would contemplate.
Having a digital detox sans screens is becoming increasingly popular, with various retreat centres around the UK now offering and encouraging phone-free time and space if you want to get away from it all for a while.
Here, the getaway experts at Wilderness Reserve share their five tips on how to fully switch off both at home and when on holiday.
1) Say no to Wi-Fi
It’s no secret that the first thing most people do when checking in to accommodation, before unpacking or grabbing refreshment, is to ask for the Wi-Fi code. And if you’re heading somewhere that probably doesn’t offer a very strong 4G signal, chances are your hotel will offer Wi-Fi.
However, instead of jumping for that little piece of paper with the code on, why not say no? If you’ve travelled far to have a well-deserved break, make sure it’s a mental one as well as a physical one – and being logged on will keep you connected to work and the rest of the world.
It might be hard at first but after a while you won’t even notice and can get stuck into a good book without any distractions.
2) Go for a walk
The best way to switch off and get a fresh take on things is to enjoy a long ramble through the countryside. If you’re somewhere with fantastic views, take advantage and leave your phone at the hotel so you can fully enjoy and soak up your surroundings.
And if your getaway destination is near the coast, why not head down to the beach for a walk? Getting some sea air can do wonders for your mental as well as your physical health.
Taking a barefoot walk across a beach can improve your circulation while the salt, iodine and magnesium in the sea air are all good for your immune system, as well as opening your chest and making it easier to breath.
3) Strike up a real-world conversation
Rather than continuing conversations with those at home via texts and social media, why not head to the local pub and strike up a real conversation, either with your travelling companion or the landlord?
It can be quite daunting to take away the shield of an email or text and actually converse with a stranger but sometimes it does the world of good to get a fresh take on things and to speak to people you normally wouldn’t.
4) Avoid temptation
As temping as it is to check your phone, try not to. Obviously you may want to make sure no one has messaged or called in an emergency, but in terms of your digital feeds such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, try to leave these until you are back home.You will appreciate them more if you’ve ignored them for a few days.
Try hiding your phone in a drawer and setting specific times to check it once or twice per day.
5) Switch off before bed
Staring at a screen before bed can seriously affect your quality of sleep as it shuts off production of melatonin. This is the hormone that prompts your body to fall into a deep sleep. The blue lights emitted from a phone mimics natural daylight, causing your body to think it’s still daytime and to stay away.
Switching off your device an hour or two before bed allows you to fully wind down and relax, leaving you refreshed and energised in the morning.