Many people in today’s society are struggling with low energy, low productivity, low motivation, decreased happiness and an inability to focus. This is a direct result of our addiction to technology and a surefire sign that it’s time to unplug, and learn to be in the present again.
A study done by CAMH states that we spend over 11 hours a day looking at a screen. Another study done by the University of Gothenburg proves that the light from the screens on electronics disrupts our natural production of melatonin, throwing off our circadian rhythms, leading to an increase in sleeping disorders, depression and stress.
Most people when at home, or at work, or even on the bus, feel compelled to be logged in checking social media, work and other areas of online communication. Unfortunately, there are multiple proven studies that this type of behaviour is bad for our mental and physical health.
This need, has spurred a new kind of tourism and one that we feel very excited about – digital detoxes. There are a wide range of offerings in this category, from digital detox tours, phone free retreats and travelling to destinations that are less ‘plugged-in’. When in your normal routine it can be hard to log off. Cell phone addiction has been proven to be as strong as drug addiction. So, in order to disrupt this unhealthy pattern, one must getaway from the routine.
Digital Detoxes can be as simple as leaving your phone on airplane mode when travelling, using it for photos only. Or, choosing locations with less wifi access (such as the beach!) and, not buying the roaming packages for mobile use.
The many benefits of this type of travel includes:
1. A reconnection to family and friends.
When we unplug we automatically become more in the present moment. Conversation increases, relationships strengthen and we learn to take this type of behavior back home, and into our everyday lives.
By giving yourself a break from the 101 distractions online, we are able to re-charge our battery. Leading to more productive behaviour, once back home.
When we stay connected all day long we put a lot of strain on our eyes and brain. Studies have shown that excessive screen time can actually damage the structure of the brain, as can stress.
4.Increased sense of well-being
. Studies have shown that by staying off social media for just 7 days can increase happiness and decrease stress and anxiety. Allowing our nervous system to recover and go back to it’s normal rhythms.
The National Sleep Foundation has linked technology use before bed to unhealthy sleep patterns and disorders, due to the light stimulating the brain. By giving ourselves a break from this kind of exposure we can teach the body to go back to normal sleeping patterns, that will lead to a healthier heart, brain and mental state.
These are just some of the benefits you will discover when unplugging on vacation. I believe that our health and the well-being of our relationships, deserve this kind of vacation. The good news is, that you can do this anywhere that is outside of your normal routine. You don’t have to travel far and wide to unplug and reap the benefits.
By being aware, we can make powerful changes to the relationship our society has with technology.