After the traditional indulgence of Christmas, we now find ourselves entering a new period of tradition; the January detox.
For some that’s all about green juices and no carbs, going alcohol free or joining the gym, having a spa hotel break or maybe even all of those things. For some, however, those few days off over the festive season were a welcome reminder of what life is like away from the computer (with the exception of Instagramming your Christmas dinner and New Year selfies of course). All of which leads to the need for a digital detox this January.
It’s an almost impossible thing to escape from the phone, the nearest WiFi connection, your TV, the new Apple Watch you got for Christmas, as well as any other devices that determine your daily routine – we need them… after all, how did anyone ever navigate a city without the use of Google maps? The thought of going without is also something of a panic-inducing concept for the first 24 hours, until you start thinking about what a digital detox really means.
In brief a digital detox means not having to answer your work emails, the phone or making life look postcard perfect in 140 characters or less on any number of social media platforms. In short, it means a lot less stress. But let’s think of what it really looks like to steer clear of all things techy for a brief period of time.
As I write I am sitting listening to nothing but crickets by the pool in Barbados. I have slept all day, drifting in and out of sleep as I read my book, waking only to swim, eat, talk to my best friends (no phone involved) and maybe go for a dip in the sea. I have not looked at my phone once (although I appreciate the irony of writing an article for the Internet on this subject), and while WiFi is available I cannot think why I would bother when I’m so busy with better things?
I am not telling you this to make you jealous, although that is part of the joy of a good holiday, but rather because this is what makes a real digital detox such an unapologetic pleasure. Unlike that feeling where you go without your favourite foods for a week, a digital detox is all about gain, and there are several ways to do it. Heading into winter sun at the grottiest and most bitter time of the year in the UK, or you can go down the spa hotel route complete with a facial, massage and some professional guidance thrown in for good measure.
Personal preferences on the spa front includes The Lugger Hotel, Lifehouse Spa and Hotel and Cotswold House Spa. The Lugger has recently been named ‘Best Seaside Hotel’ by the Sunday Times, it’s surrounded by footpaths, cliffs and headlands on the Cornish Coast (which have the added bonus of almost no mobile phone signal should the itch to check that iPhone arise). You can even opt to stay in the appropriately titled self-catering cottage the Hideaway, to really complete the escapist vibe.
Then Lifehouse Spa and Hotel in Essex is a contemporary building surrounded by beautiful gardens and a dedication to all things health and wellbeing. Food frequently comes from the vegetable garden and what they don’t know about mind, body and soul isn’t worth knowing… even if you had mobile signal, there’s not time to use it with that many treatments on offer.
Meanwhile, Cotswold House Hotel and Spa has an award winning spa and is in the heart of Gloucestershire, so there’s lots of incentive to head out into the countryside and explore – a much better thing to do than check emails. However, it’s by the pool looking out onto their spectacular gardens that you really get a sense of peace and tranquility.
So there you have it, our guide to kick starting 2016 as you mean to go on. Or, to put a bit of a twist on Timothy Leary’s famous quote, all the reasons to turn off, tune out and drop in to somewhere different this month… at least for a little while.