29 Jan 5 things to do on your digital detox days
For those of us who follow the 5:2 Digital Diet, one of the hardest things to deal with on digital detox days is the temptation to mindlessly scroll on our phones to fill time. But what exactly can you do in your analogue moments? What sort of activities will engage your mind but keep you offline? We’ve got five ideas:
#1 Reconnect with nature
Getting outdoors is a big part of what we do. Whether we’re heading off to retreats focused on the natural environment overseas or just going for a stroll through the woods at home, being outside is where we most love to be when we’re ‘off screen’.
There’s a reason why going outdoors feels so good to us. Being in nature is known to have a myriad of positive effects on body and soul, it’s proven to help lower your blood pressure and pulse, as well as boosting the function of your immune system.
Got little ones? Take them too! Time spent walking in the park has been shown to decrease the symptoms of ADHD in children, and with children in the UK now approaching 6 hours a day on screens, you’ll be giving them the digital break they need as much as you.
#2 Get colourful
When we think of colouring books, we think of children at small plastic tables, and colouring that goes way, way outside the lines. But colouring books have entered a new, adult, phase of their life. The Secret Garden was the first hugely successful colouring book for grown-ups and spawned not only a sequel but a slew of other colouring books, including Doctor Who, Sherlock and IKEA. Colouring-in is a mindful pastime that focuses you on the here and now and is the perfect antidote to the mindless scrolling, We love it.
#3 Move yourself
Being active and moving your body is a great way to go with the flow – that is to say, you are engaged in an activity that stops your mind from wandering, so much so that time seems to fly past as you’re totally focused and absorbed in the activity you’re doing.
Any type of physical activity is a good way to switch off from screens. We are fans of yoga, and we offer yoga sessions at all of our retreats. Yoga has many health benefits, both mental and physical, whether it’s improving your sleep, beating depression, improving your blood circulation or relieving joint pain. At our Hawaii and Cornwall retreats we also go surfing, which is a perfect flow activity.
Got the urge to tweet or post on Facebook? Simply want to document your day – but can’t? Journaling is a great way to document your day and thoughts, without relying on digital. Journaling is also a perfect way to be mindful, because you are reflecting on your day and getting in touch with your thoughts.
There is also increasing evidence that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being. Research has shown that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research seems to indicate indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. The researchers believe that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health.
#5 Get lost in a book
Many of us fall into the trap of saying “Oh I’d love to read that book, but I just don’t have the time!” Well, now you’re disconnected from the every day distractions of mindless scrolling, you do. Make a list of books you want to read (Pinterest is great for this) sit down, and, well, read. You’ll be absorbed in a book for several hours and it’s proven that mindful, focused reading also has the benefit of improving your memory and efficiency.