Sometimes it can feel as if the biggest – maybe even the most important relationship – in your life is not with your partner, your spouse, your family or even your pet but with the technology that is never too far from your side.
Of course it’s great to be able to reach out and connect, respond, research, confirm an arrangement or (ironically) book a holiday at the touch of a keypad, large or small, but when the thought of switching off the iPhone, the iPad, the laptop and even the TV feels like a wrench and just too daunting to seriously contemplate, then you know it really is time for a digital detox.
Last year, scientists published new research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine which proved that walking in Nature, especially in or around trees, really does cause electrochemical changes to the brain that leave you feeling both more engaged and more relaxed at the same time. These physiological changes then result in a newly-defined state the researchers call “effortless attention.” This is the kind of feeling of wellbeing that will make you feel you can conquer Everest – a metaphor for whatever is the equivalent current physical, emotional, mental or spiritual challenge in your own life.
Both body and mind benefit from any form of Nature engagement but not if you’re walking the dog, tramping the coastal path or sitting in the park glued to your mobile phone or tablet.
And so whilst we really do understand how hard it is to be parted from our iPhones (really, we feel your actual pain) getting our clients to at least think about spending time away from the technology that can so easily control our waking hours is an important step in the signature Yeotox detox.
No, we don’t confiscate people’s phones and other devices but we do suggest our guests switch them off and actually, since our retreat is based in the rolling and remote countryside of North Devon, we don’t have the strongest or the fastest signal in town (it’s not deliberate, it’s just how it is in this location) which can actually work with us to help people take a short Digital Detox.
A couple of years ago leading travel pundits were starting to predict that Digital Detox vacations would soon be established as a global holiday trend and it’s true you can now book an entire break at some far flung location where you will be removed (for some this will feel like an amputation) from your mobile devices.
We don’t take this draconian step at Yeotown but we do encourage clients to give themselves the time and space to engage with Nature via some of our core activities, including our daily three hour hike, and we certainly don’t want people to leave us wishing they’d spent less time on work emails and more time on the yoga mat or in the fitness studios.
And – as we all know very well – that even on retreat this is not as unlikely as it may sound because according to travel research, half of those of us who do go off on holiday spend so much time checking work emails that, when do we get home, we regret having failed to keep the mobiles switched off and taken the rare opportunity to truly relax and leave the tyranny of technology behind.
And if that were not enough to convince you to switch off the iPad, iPhone, iPod and PC and get yourself outdoors, there are some psychologists who now swear the combined benefits of exposure to Nature are on a par with the combined benefits of being in a good marriage.