The Ultimate Guide To Unplugging: How To Thrive In A Digital Detox
There’s that nagging sensation again. An unsatisfied feeling of distraction; your motivation has done a runner and you find yourself endlessly scrolling… again.
Once upon a time we would have dropped into a daydream or mindless doodle between tasks, which would have helped problem-solve or boost our creativity, but now, we fill this time with screens and scrolls, often leaving us feeling empty and dissatisfied.
If this sounds all too familiar it may be time for a mental health day. A digital detox. A chance to reinvigorate your creativity, invite the mind, body and soul to reconnect and rediscover your focus.
Schedule your digital detox
Don’t underestimate the importance of a digital detox – make it count!
Like any other essential task or to-do, schedule your detox, add it to the calendar, because it’s important to respect it as we do other events.
Set goals and intentions for your day, planning enough that you don’t have to think too much about it but not so much that you feel rushed, stressed and overwhelmed.
So, you’ve committed to and planned a digital detox, but what do you do, how can you thrive and make the most of your time…
Make small changes
A digital detox isn’t a total escape from life, work and responsibility. Think of it as essential human admin. Time to re-evaluate your priorities and habits, being mindful of small things you could change to improve your relationship with your devices. Consider when you’re most likely to doom scroll or whether you really must carry your phone with you everywhere.
What could you do to change these habits?
- Setting ‘do not disturb’ times in your day to help you have some peace and quiet, and feel more relaxed knowing you won’t be disturbed.
- Putting your phone in a drawer when you sit down to work so you can’t be distracted.
- Culling certain apps to help you focus or even removing logins from your laptop so you won’t be tempted to pop on in the middle of the day.
Be kind to your mind
Do you journal or have you ever considered it? It needn’t take hours of your day and it can be a beneficial way of assessing the state of your mind and body on any given day.
Keep it short, try to make it a morning habit. Instead of reaching for your phone, reach for your journal, set a timer for 5 minutes and write for only that time. If you feel you could carry on past that 5 minutes perhaps that’s a sign that there’s something that might need a little more care, patience or attention that day. Whether it’s a physical pain you’ve identified or an emotion or feeling that has bubbled up. Doing 5 minutes at the end of your day can help to bookend these feelings and constructively assess how you managed them.
If journaling isn’t for you, why not try dedicating just 5 minutes of your digital detox to simply sit and breathe deeply. Pay attention to each breath coming in and going out. What can you hear? What can you smell? What can you taste? Swap any unwanted thoughts as they float in with a positive affirmation like, “I let go of any negative feelings about myself or my life”.
Finding a quiet space to spend these 5 minutes is key – whether journaling or doing conscious breathwork, our New Forest hotel makes the perfect setting for mindful moments. Take to the forest on a sunny day to find a bench or grassy spot to sit, take some time out in our Relaxation Room at SenSpa, or retreat to your cosy bedroom.
Reconnect with nature
Spending time in nature has proven to boost our mental and physical wellbeing; reducing cortisol levels, easing anxiety and depression and inducing calmness and feelings of joy. And the best thing is, there’s no prescriptive way to do it in order to reap the benefits. You needn’t be a mountaineer or buy a dog to go for a walk, and you can take a friend along if you’d prefer not to go it alone.
Simply step outside. Walk to the nearest park, drive to a nearby forest or beach, and just be. Do what feels natural to you; walk, sit, stand or ride your bike. You could take a flask of tea and sit under the trees. Listen to the leaves and the birds, feel the breeze on your face, the wind in your hair; watch the rain fall, the waves crash; simply notice nature. This is mindfulness.
Here at our New Forest hotel, nature is just a few steps away; so when you visit for a short break or a spa day, you can walk into our ancient woodland for some forest therapy and essential time for you if and when you feel you need it.
Move the body
Exercise has proven to reduce stress, boost memory and energy, improve sleep and bump your production of endorphins – our brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Whether you’re going cold turkey or simply planning some digital downtime during your week, unplugging from your devices will free up the schedule so you can head out and get the body moving and the blood pumping.
Plan movement into your digital detox; go for a walk, run, swim or gym session, or for everyday changes, simply swap out your lunchtime scroll with a walk.
A spa day is the perfect way to facilitate a digital detox. Bringing mental and physical wellness to the fore, it is a day completely focused on self-care. During your day away from all things digital you can use our swimming pool or fitness suite to get moving before completely relaxing in the Thermal Rooms, Hydrotherapy Pool or Relaxation Room.
Make space for creativity
Creativity has proven to help focus and have a calming effect on the mind and body by lowering cortisol levels and releasing dopamine and endorphins.
Doing a creative task such as painting, colouring or doodling can induce a meditative or ‘flow state’ whereby you are totally engaged and absorbed by the task; completely present and focused on it. Bring a hobby along on your digital detox break in the New Forest, where you can spend time doing what you love without the distractions of everyday life.
Care for your body
The digital, available-all-the-time world we live in can cause mental stress which impacts our bodies and can lead to aches and pains, headaches, and a build-up of tension, which is why it’s important not to just move the body, but also care for and maintain it.
Whether that means planning time out for you to take long soaks in the bath, or to gently stretch and ease tight muscles, practice yoga or book therapies like massage or hydrotherapy; all of which will help to promote sleep, dispel muscle tension and invite deep relaxation. With a digital detox break in our New Forest hotel, you can indulge in all of the above – from irresistible free standing baths in our bedrooms, to the award-winning SenSpa hydrotherapy suite and relaxing Thai treatments.
SenSpa’s Ayurvedic Head Massage, for example, uses warmed organic coconut oil and traditional Ayurvedic techniques focusing on pressure points and massage to calm the nervous system.
There is no definitive list of how to thrive during a digital detox, only you know your reason for seeking one. Do what feels natural, and don’t go it alone if that feels like too much. Plan half a day if a whole day seems to long at first, or book a solo weekend break away if that will make it easier to put down your devices.