Summer is synonymous with vacation. It’s warm, the kids don’t have school and you need a break. Maybe with a frosty adult beverage in your hand and a hammock. But how many of us truly break away? Remember in the old days, we didn’t have a phone with infinite connections at our fingertips? We didn’t have social media influencers or 24/7 news cycles. Back then, we took vacations – from, well, everything!
It’s time to start that tradition back up! We talk a lot about the importance of unplugging and self-care. I want to take it a bit further and talk about a tech-free vacation – more than one day. If you’ve been practicing unplugging routinely, then you’re ready for more. You are ready for a complete digital detox!
When is the last time you didn’t take a selfie or some other photo for social media while on vacation and instead just enjoyed the view or the experience? One of the most photographed places in the world is the Eiffel Tower. Imagine sitting on a nearby bench and just absorbing the experience instead of posing. Now imagine that you do not know what’s going on in the news, what the latest celebrity gossip is or how many emails you have. For some, that idea causes anxiety and maybe a little FOMO.
That angst is a sign! It’s a sign you need time away, and quite possibly, it’s a sign of addiction. Yes, it’s that important. Technology can affect our life a great deal – especially after a year of having to rely on phones, computers and tv.
Here are some tips for planning your next truly technology-free vacation.
- Plan for it. This is one vacation you don’t want to do spontaneously. Tell your coworkers, your supervisor, your family and your friends about your vacation from technology. Be specific in telling them how to reach you in an emergency but that otherwise, you will be unavailable. Planning and announcing those plans helps you and others plan for the workload, lack of communication and yes, also, accountability.
- Begin detox baby steps. Go a day or a few days without listening to the news. Take a weekend off of Twitter. Run errands without your phone. Put solid boundaries in line to stop reading emails at 5pm and not answer any until 8am. Turn off app notifications for a few days (dare I suggest deleting some apps??).
- Find your support. If doing a digital detox is truly a hard task for you, get some support systems in place. Is there somewhere you can go that doesn’t have wifi and boasts tech-free vacations? Can you give your technology to a friend to keep for you? Can you receive one call a day from a trusted family member just to tell you everything is ok so you can stop worrying? Can you find a small group of friends to do the detox with so you’re all in it together?
- Find activities that are not tech-friendly. It’s easier to leave tech behind when you think it might be ruined! Book a beach vacation or time at a water park. Go ziplining through the forest. Hike in the woods. Go camping off the grid. Best of all – do these activities with others who are detoxing and enjoy each other’s company!
The most important rule: Realize there is not a single study out there that has extolled the virtues of constant tech tethering! You are doing this for YOU, your health, your mind, your relationships. And those are the most important things in life!