There isn’t a moment in my life where I don’t use a screen. My mobile wakes me up and for the rest of the day I stare at it for texts, emails, music, my calendar… everything. The rest of my time is spent glued to a laptop. If I’m not working, then I’m FaceTiming people. If I’m not FaceTiming, I’m watching Netflix. I’m surprised I haven’t morphed into a screen like Mike Teavee in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.
But it’s not just me. Everyone is doing it. You see people walking through London like zombies with blue light reflecting off their faces. Technology is an amazing invention, but we seem to be connected to it all the time. With relentless media, airbrushed images and targeted ads, it takes a toll on our self-image, self-esteem and sleeping patterns. Taking regular breaks from it can alleviate these problems – even just applying phone settings to limit your time on apps can help. But the best way to get unhooked is to take a full-blown digital detox.
‘Digital detox’ might just seem like another trendy phrase to bandy about at cocktail parties, but sanctuaries around the world are taking it very seriously. Retreats are recruiting experts to create therapies that can actually help with your phone addiction so you can swap screen time for massages. Sounds good doesn’t it? Well, that’s just the start.
1. Chiva-Som and Zulal Wellness Resort
Launching later this year, Chiva-Som and Zulal Wellness Resort in Qatar is already prepping guests for a digital detox. Aashly Jayan, the resort’s Health and Wellness Advisor has some handy hints to keep you relaxed: “If your affinity for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat is causing you stress or getting in the way of your life, then taking a break may be helpful. You can try mindful activities such as yoga, gardening, cooking or walking. These activities seem so simple but they allow our minds time to be creative, ponder, have eureka moments and to feel comfortable in our own company.”
Zulal Wellness Resort by Chiva-Som will be the first resort in Qatar to incorporate a ‘digital detox’ concept. The use of your trusty mobile phone and digital equipment will be restricted in an effort to inspire you to reconnect with yourself, your friends and family, and the surrounding nature. Instead, you can indulge in traditional Arabic and Islamic medicine, herbal remedies or a Serenity experience of rest and reflection.
A stay here will deliver much better results than a pigeon pose on a Peckham rooftop – this is serious healing rooted in ancient traditions and taught by masters.
2. Ananda in the Himalayas
The Ananda resort is dedicated to all things wellness and, what’s more, it’s based in the Himalayan Foothills. You can fully relax and rejuvenate with the help of world-class therapists and dedicated doctors in the spa. They also run specialised Ayurvedic treatments, which involve massages, diet programmes, and rigorous lifestyle transformations to help you fulfil personal goals. A stay here will deliver much better results than a pigeon pose on a Peckham rooftop – this is serious healing rooted in ancient traditions and taught by masters.
You think that’s good? Travel with nemo and a tree will be planted for every trip you take, plus a percentage of their profits go to Hello World, a charity that provides education to some of the planet’s most impoverished adults and children.
Struggling to see yourself booking a flight and landing in a new country? Never fear, Unplugged is here. This start-up was designed to offer London folk like us the ultimate break from the distractions of the city. Pick a three-day escape that’s a few hours either north or south of London and find succour and solace in a country cabin.
On arrival, you’ll be asked to lock away your phone for some dedicated time offline, and completely disconnect from the outside world. Think of it like Big Brother but without the shady characters and cameras in your face. Okay, so nothing like Big Brother.
When you’ve switched your phone off, you’ll switch on to the sounds, sights and feelings of nature to help you recharge.
When you've switched your phone off, you'll switch on to the sounds, sights and feelings of nature to help you recharge.
Log off from Zoom calls and say goodbye to constant WhatsApp messages, it's time to drop off into the wellness abyss
4. Kasbah Tamadot
We often spend more money on our wardrobe than we do on our mental health. So if you’re looking to splash out on something special for your body and soul then head over to travel experts Carrier to find some of their digital detox recommendations.
Log off from your Zoom calls and say goodbye to constant WhatsApp messages, it’s time to drop off into the wellness abyss at Virgin Limited Edition’s Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco. Enjoy being offline with expert yoga classes, morning hikes through wild lavender fields, and clear mountain air.
With a name that means ‘soft breeze’ in Berber, this relaxing retreat is surrounded by epic views of the Atlas mountains. Bright African colours, textures and architecture offer a secluded place to stay in the main hotel, but there are also nine Berber Tented Suites on the hillside to relax in, some with a private Jacuzzi. If you’re going to switch off from the world, you might as well do it properly, right?
Don’t know how to fill your time? Try out the hammam in the Asounfou Spa, the tennis courts or you can even take a mule ride to take in the scenery.
5. Six Senses Spa Elounda, Greece
If anyone knows how to swap screen time with spa time, it’s the Six Senses group. They know how to turn relaxation into a full-time job. They have an extensive list of destinations that offer a bespoke Yogic Detox.
However, if you simply can’t decide, why not head to the Six Senses Spa Elounda in Greece. They bring in expert therapists to offer different cleansing hatha yoga sessions. Through gentle movement, breathing exercises and candle meditation, the classes will help to align all your chakras and find some inner calm.
Each session here is personalised to exactly what you need. After an assessment, you’ll be guided to the best therapies for you (this will include leaving your good friends Gmail, Slack and Zoom in your hotel suite).
An emotional shower doesn't involve standing under water and crying; it's a shower designed to bring together the five senses through colours, smells and sounds
6. St. James’ Court London Taj Hotel
Can’t leave London? We’ve found the perfect sanctuary to help you switch off. The Taj Hotels offer dedicated services for a digital detox, and, if you can’t make it to India, they have one in the heart of the city.
The Jiva spa at their St. James’ Court hotel has been designed to help relax, restore and refresh visitors. The premise is centred around a unique fusion of Indian wellness philosophy from Jiva and luxury British innovation from Temple Spa.
Lock up your laptop and indulge in some detoxing therapies. There’s a steam room, sauna, vitality pool and emotional shower (this doesn’t involve standing under water and crying; it’s a shower designed to bring together the five senses through colours, smells and sounds).
For the best results, choose one of the Indian therapies: Pehlwan Malish, Indian aromatherapy, Pada Mardana or Champi.