Time for a digital detoxIf you make only one New Year’s resolution for 2016, how about pledging to have a regular “digital detox”? A growing number of people are recognising the need to completely switch off from electronic devices and gadgets, including refraining from using smartphones, tablets and computers. The benefits include: Better mental health: Our gadgets allow us to be in continual contact with other people which can feel like an amazing asset, but it also means that you never switch off from the on-line contact. This can cause high levels of stress and brain over-load. Switching off for a while every now and then can bring a great deal of peace and calm to your mind. Better relationships: If we are always immersed in digital chat and communication it’s easy to see how real-time relationships can suffer. Switching off and actually talking face-to-face with someone is refreshing if you spend a lot of your day immersed in digital chatter. Being more engaged with people in real-time helps with communication skills of youngsters and improves our ability to socialise generally. Increased productivity: Mobile messaging and our general obsession with always being in touch on-line can lead to a reduction in productivity, both at work and at home. A digital detox has been shown to improve performance generally and overcome issues such as forgetfulness, carelessness and absent-mindedness. Better posture: The use of mobile gadgets can cause repetitive strains, for example, in the fingers and wrist. Always been hunched over a screen may also lead to shoulder and back pain, as well as eye strain If we leave our digital devices behind for a day we can walk around, sit and be active in a healthier manner.
How to enjoy a digital detoxMake a plan: Much like other habits – or, dare we say, addictions – you need to be strict with yourself. So, decide when you will turn off the digital devices and for how long each day, week or month. Then write it down and stick to the plan. Turn it off: No, really, actually turn the wifi off at the source. Rather then switching off your tablet or turning your phone to silent, you should unplug the wifi hub or do whatever it takes to have a complete digital detox. It’s the only way to stop the temptation to switch on your devices again. Get others to agree: There is no point in being the only one to have a digital detox. Get your partner, friends, work colleagues or family to switch off their devise as well and then go out to enjoy something else together and non-digital instead. Ask politely: If you are out with friends and they have one eye on their mobile gadgets and one eye on your conversation, simply ask them politely to stop it. Tell them the benefits of a digital detox and see if they can join you for a while. Do something different: You can’t be busy on-line and ride a bike, run, ride a horse or drive a car. Well, you can try to but it won’t be safe. So, make sure you have activities in your life that allow you to get away from the digital mayhem. Have time out: One of the best ways to enjoy a digital detox is to go on holiday, especially if that destination has very limited wifi coverage. You might still need the reassurance of an old-fashioned landline or mobile phone access but try to switch off from other forms of communication, such as social media or emails for your holiday time.
7 places to go for a digital detoxBetter still, find a destination that isn’t the best for being on-line. The chances are you will be able to find internet access at some point during the trip, and you will have a back-up helpline via a telephone, but many people will relish the chance to get away from a lot of the digital noise in these fabulously remote and scenic places.
Walking the GR10 in Europe
Walking amid the High Peaks and Lakes of the Rila & Pirin in Bulgaria.