With so many of us becoming more and more reliant on our smartphones to keep us connected, it’s sometimes hard to put down the technology and focus instead on the here and now. However, Tanya Goodin, author of OFF, believes that a “Digital Detox” is just what we need to feel re-energised and revitalised. She told the Guardian,
“A recent study in Denmark found that coming off just Facebook completely for a week significantly boosted the happiness of the group that tried it.”
This is just one of many studies that shows that unplugging from both work and social media is likely to have a positive effect on your mental and physical wellbeing.
Here we give you our top tips on how to unplug from work while taking a retreat holiday so that you can be fully present and truly enjoy your time away.
1. Wrap It Up
Before going away the single most important thing to do to prepare is to ensure that you have wrapped up as many projects and tasks as possible before you depart. There’s nothing worse than leaving things unfinished and having them play on your mind throughout your trip. This is especially the case if you are taking a yoga retreat or mindfulness or wellness retreat during which you are hoping to switch off the chatter in your mind and focus on the present moment.
Some studies have shown that the stress of a trip can leave you worse off than if you didn’t take one in the first place, so try to minimise this added stress by doing or delegating before you go.
2. Set Tech Usage Boundaries
Minimising your phone and laptop usage while you are away is a great way to help you be present and take in your current surroundings and experiences. If your loved ones know that you are away on retreat, it’s likely they will want to leave you in peace, so even if you just turn your phone on once a day you will easily be able to check in with people without feeling as though the technology is taking away from your experience.
You could even give your friends and family (and possibly work colleagues) the number of your hotel or retreat venue so that they can contact you in the case of an emergency, allowing you to leave your phone switched off for the entirety of your stay.
This will then allow you to avoid the temptation of using your phone for unnecessary habits like checking social media, or worse, your work emails!
3. Release Your Worries
Our subconscious minds are usually running on overdrive constantly throughout our daily lives and it can be difficult to switch this off when going on retreat. A good way to try quietening this voice, though, is to use positive daily mantras to set your intention for the day.
If you know that there are certain thoughts or fears that are likely to play on your mind about work, try to release these first thing in the morning my using affirmations such as:
- My colleagues are capable of continuing their work while I am away
- I am worthy of this time and space away from work
- I am grateful for this break away from work for it will allow me to re-centre and focus on myself
- I trust in my business/colleagues/partners
Alternatively, you could use a journal to jot down any worries you have about work. The process of writing our thoughts down on paper allows them to be taken out of our minds and set aside to be looked at at a later date. This then gives you the opportunity to fully enjoy each part of your retreat without the chatter of your inner dialogue ruining the moment.
4. Take Off Your Watch
Focusing on the now is a fantastic way to ground ourselves and this can only be done when we relinquish the idea of time. Taking off your watch can be both literal and metaphorical and enables you to move away from chasing tasks and deadlines and instead centre on the present moment.
Without your watch, you can float through the day, choosing activities and meals based on how you are feeling rather than a sense of expectation or duty. You are much less likely to be thinking about what is going on in the workplace if you don’t have your watch to remind you what time it is.
5. Take Two Weeks + Away
While long holidays are not always feasible (depending on your vacation allowances or business model) it can be a good idea to try and fit in at least one long trip every few years. It is often said that it takes almost a week to wind down from the stresses of work and daily life, and therefore a retreat of one week or less is unlikely to give you the benefits that you deserve from your time away.
If you can, try to give yourself a few vacation days either side of your retreat so that you don’t have the added stressors of packing and travelling weighing on your mind when you begin your retreat. It can also be a good idea to have a couple of days spare at the end of your retreat so that you can travel back and unpack in peace while also adjusting slowly back into your normal routine.
It might be that you now have new rituals and practises that you learnt while on a retreat that you want to add into daily life and these will feel much more doable and sustainable if you have time to try them out in your normal surrounds before adding work back in!
There you have it, our top five tips on how to unplug from work on retreat holidays! We hope this has given you some actionable things you can do to help unwind and get away from the stress of work life.
Let us know if these work for you or any other tips you have that will help your fellow retreaters unplug!