I’m always attached to some technological device or other. It’s something I’ve become more conscious of over recent months. The more I read about the detrimental effects of it and notice those effects in my own life and behaviour, I vow to make some changes to correct it. So, when the Four Seasons Hampshire invited me to try out their Digital Detox a couple of weeks ago, it seemed like a good place to start.
What is a Digital Detox? Pretty much exactly what it says on the tin; you hand over your phone, laptop, iPad etc when you walk in and commence a day free of those electronic distractions. First up for me was a one-to-one yoga session. As someone who teaches spin in dark rooms, to tons of sweaty people, with music pumping from a huge sound system, being in a room with just one other person and some classical music sneaking into my ear canal on a low volume was quite a change of pace for me.
Starting the session lying on my back, with my legs in the air against a wall, being told to just breathe, I damn near melted into the floor. Relaxation came over me almost instantly. Having a private session allowed me to focus on my practice and exactly what my body should be doing. I noticed at the end, my first instinct was to Instagram a pic of me in some Yoga pose (oh the times we live in!), before remembering my phone was being kept away from my greedy mitts at the front desk.
Next up was a delicious lunch. Usually, I’d check my messages, respond to emails, send a few tweets and texts and all that jazz. Being phone-free made me catch up on some reading, and actually just sit…and eat my food. Imagine! It brought home to me how rarely I do just that – I’m always distracted by something. Louis CK has a great bit about the importance of being able to just sit by yourself and simply be a person. I sat through lunch without checking my phone and low and behold – the world kept turning!
Next up, an incredible 90 minute massage. Quite simply the best massage I think I’ve ever had. I was so relaxed, I think I fell asleep at one point. My skin felt incredible for a few days after and frankly, I was ready to marry the girl who gave me that massage. Ultimate peak relaxation – achieved!
Sadly, my day then came to an end and the front desk gave me my phone back. Naturally, I immediately jumped on there, checked my messages and all that good stuff. Then, when I got on the train back to London, I actually turned my phone off. I wanted to relish a bit of extra phone-free time and not be tempted to check it.
All in all, yes, absolutely, it is easier to have a Digital Detox when you have all these wonderful things lined up for you to do, but the day has really helped me begin to put my digital behaviour in check. Do I need to check my phone while I’m walking down the street, bumping into other pedestrians? Nope. Do I absolutely need to check it when in the company of friends or out to dinner? Nope (and can we just admit that it’s actually really rude to do that?). I’m now trying to schedule my own digital downtime, even if it’s just for an hour a day. Re-engaging with offline life is pretty sweet when you put your phone down long enough to do it. Give it a try sometime.
Check out the Four Seasons Hampshire for their Digital Detox day.