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Digital Detox: Disconnect & Reboot Your Life

By Katie Perry

There’s no point denying it, we all have some major attachment issues with our devices. And, while they’re an essential part of our modern communications and connection with friends, colleagues and the rest of the world, sometimes we ALL need to switch off everything and disconnect, to reconnect.

Sounds easy right? It’s not a simple thing to do when we’re so seemingly inextricably linked to our phones 24-7 but in actual fact it’s just habit – and a habit that can be broken, or at least paused. The best place to kick-start your digital detox is on holiday, where you’re away from work, your social circles and all the usual trappings of an overly digital lifestyle. But, even when our primary motivations on holiday are to relax, relax, relax…so many of us check emails, do ACTUAL work and even take work-related phone calls while on holiday. Even if we’ve disconnected from work we’re addicted to social media and still feel like we NEED that ‘fix’ when we’re on a break!

We all go on holidays to escape day-to-day reality. But, scanning work emails, checking in on Facebook and relentlessly uploading Instagram selfies while away makes it tricky to get the most out of a well-deserved break. Have we totally forgotten how to live in the moment?

We now live in such a saturated digital world and that while many of us dream of getting away from the rat race and switching off, the reality is, most of us struggle to do so. By switching off from anything except emergencies, you can clear your mind and focus on the destination you’re in, and more importantly, the company you’re with.

We recently had the delicious opportunity to visit the breathtaking Hayman Island, where we committed to switching off our devices and being present to the wondrous, relaxing and sumptuous surroundings of The One & Only resort on what has to be one of Australia’s most idyllic island destinations. When you’re surrounded by luxury abodes, crystal clear waters, delectable food and spa treatments galore it’s easy to switch off from the ‘real world’ – so here are some tips you can try on any holiday (or at home) to disconnect for a while.

Announce it!

There’s nothing quite like putting your intentions out there in the social sphere to actually make you stick to your guns. So, before you jump on the plane, or in the car or even just before a weekend stay-cation, write a post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram communities telling them you’re taking a break. Something as simple as “I’m on a digital detox for the next x days…don’t expect to hear back from me unless it’s urgent” can give people the message. If it’s an emergency, you’ll still get your texts and calls and messages where you need to.

Turn Off Auto Notifications

Most Apps these days keep us updated – mostly unnecessarily – with constant notifications on our mobiles. Just go to your settings and turn off the notifications for the ones that aren’t vital (which will be most of them!) and this cuts your temptation to check you phone down significantly.

Allocate some quality time with your device

If you can’t disconnect totally, or you have urgent or emergency situations that may occur while you’re away that require you to be contactable – set some allocated time every day for this – and no more. One of the main problems we have with our devices these days is that our interaction with them is mindless. Mindless scrolling, flicking, reading unnecessary social media ‘noise’ – it’s complete overstimulation and it totally disconnects us with the world and the people in our immediate presence. So make some time with your device, make it short, make it count and then Switch. It. Off.

Divert Your Calls

People will leave a voicemail if it’s urgent. Full stop. So turn your phone off and check your messages (if you must) sparingly throughout the day, or once a day if possible.

Set up an Auto response on Email

Treat your personal email like your work email and set up an Out of Office reply to your personal emails too. It’s just an easy way of letting people know you’re not overly contactable and that you’ll get back to them when you can. This in turn, takes the anxiety out of disconnecting from your communications and allows you to switch off and relax.

Really. Get. Present

Don’t waste this golden opportunity to tune into yourself, your loved ones and your surroundings. Being present, really present, with yourself and your thoughts and feelings; and with your partner or family on holiday (and always!) is truly the greatest gift you can give someone. If someone is speaking, really listen to what they’re saying and how they’re feeling – don’t think about what you’re going to say next, or let your mind wander – really tune in and give that person your time. Spend time with your own thoughts without the constant interruption of your mobile phone. Don’t shy away from those thoughts, notice them, let them come into your conscious mind and then let them pass. Spoil yourself and each other, pamper yourselves, reconnect romantically, spend quality time and really invest in the time you’re disconnecting from all your devices. Do this, and we’re sure you’ll end up reconnecting with what’s truly important to you.