digital detox on holidays

We all really should do a digital detox on holidays?

(if only a few days of the holiday)

We all want to be disconnected this summer holiday, even more so after a recent article in the Telegraph with headlines “Parents’ excessive use of mobile phones is driving behavioural problems among children”.

So how do you log off and go off grid when you are on holiday?

Do you remember packing for your holidays when you were a teenager, you’d pack your music (depending on how far back in time you want to go… a Walkman, Discplayer, mini-disc player, ipod shuffle), a camera, several books, magazines, travel adapter for your hairdryer etc.

Now it’s smartphone, kindle, laptop, iPad of various sizes, chargers for every single device under the sun. Then multiply this by everyone in the family and it’s a lot of devices and a lot of adapters needed! Why do we still need to feel so connected when we are on holiday? Why can’t we just go back to those good old days when it was much easier to switch off as we had nothing to switch off!

The reason – we are addicted to our smartphones, our beloved smartphone that goes everywhere and keeps us in contact 24/7. Now it’s so hard to switch off. There is the expectation of work, despite putting your ‘Out of office’ on its really hard to resist checking your email, just in case. We have become so used to being present 24/7 that it’s impossible to switch off – it has become an accepted way of life.

In the work place we have made ourselves available 24/7.  It’s very hard to change the 24/7 mindset and reset the boundaries as you go off on holiday – as the expectation of communication is still lingering.

We worry excessively if we are not seen to be online checking in that work will forget us and make us redundant, or something will happen that we are vital to help with. Plus, we also suffer from a massive FOMO (fear of missing out) and we want to let everyone know what an amazing holiday WE are having.

We all know why we need to switch off and live in the moment and enjoy our holiday with our family and friends, we know it’s good for us mentally to switch off completely and that we can’t expect the children to switch off if we don’t.

Here are our 4 signs that you need a digital detox.

  1. You can’t remember when you last read a book or magazine
  2. Focusing on anything for more than a few minutes is hard and you find you are constantly distracted.
  3. Multitasking is a way of life and doesn’t work anymore
  4. You are constantly online and always making excuses as to why you are online, like you are working.
  5. Booking your holiday, you are obsessed with finding somewhere that has Wi-Fi or checking mobile coverage.

How to go about a digital detox when on holiday?

  1. Think about what you use your phone for and try and take away the need to have it so; take a camera, pack books or a kindle (We know it’s cheating slightly but restricted luggage allowances have not helped with taking books on holiday! You can’t check your social media if you have a kindle!) and magazines, wear a watch, take an alarm clock!

  2. Limit the number of devices you take with you and remove your email from every device that you can possibly bear to especially your smartphone. Remove your social media apps from your phone. This limits the times you will go to check it, suddenly your phone will have no draw = no addiction.

  3. Have a phone amnesty at various times of the day and only allow family to switch on at a certain time. Have a place to store phones so you know where they all are.

  4. Try a digital curfew. No phones before 10am and no phones after 6pm. Switch off the Wi-Fi if you have a choice.

  5. As a parent stick to these times too – lead by example.

  6. Tell your friends and family before you go that you are having a digital detox on holiday. Lessen the expectation to stay in touch and give yourself the accountability you need to actually do it.

  7. Use your phone to help you. Switch off all notifications, put it on do not disturb and flight mode. Don’t use your 4G and turn off roaming.

  8. Find somewhere in your room to store your phone. If there is a safe keep it in there or in a suitcase under the bed, out of sight out of mind.

  9. Out for dinner? Make everyone put their phone on flight mode or switch off. Tell everyone what you are trying to achieve, you’ll be amazed at how many agree with you.

  10. Take books instead, or a kindle then you won’t feel the need to reach for your phone just to fill time, break the habit of just checking your phone, where you just flit in and out of apps checking email, Facebook, Messenger, Insta etc.

  11. At work, set expectations that you won’t be contactable. Be firm with your office that you are away. Put on your out of office on with a clear message and set a back-up plan that if it’s really urgent they can text you, or tell them where you can be contacted. People suddenly find things are a lot less urgent if they have to pick up the phone and talk to you…!  That way you won’t be thinking you should check your emails – just in case…

  12. Don’t set unrealistic expectations on yourself, it’s hard to go cold turkey so allow yourself points in the day when you can use it.

  13. Switch off from social and stop worrying that everyone is having a better time and remember social media is a massively edited highlight of what someone wants you to know about them. It’s making them feel better by sharing their photos and shouldn’t be making you feel bad. If it is. Switch off!

  14. If you really need to switch off and you know it’s impossible then book a holiday that has limited Wi-Fi or no Wi-Fi (they do exist! In rural places!) Some companies specialize in digital detox breaks!

  15. By being offline and having a digital detox plan that you stick you, will result in you being more present with your children, enjoying yourself to the max, living the moment, dancing to the moment. If you didn’t take picture of it, does not mean it didn’t happen, as what stays behind is the memories we have captured in our heads, with family and friends and loved ones.

Have a lovely offline summer holiday and Let us know if you managed to have a digital detox on holiday this year!