Learn to Let Go and Relax on Vacation

Digital detox is essential

When your mobile phone rings while on vacation, do you automatically answer it? Do you obsessively check emails, and social media accounts, several times a day? Do you feel frantic if you accidentally leave your iPad in your hotel room? Are you sending random texts and photos to friends throughout the day? Is the idea of vacationing without your laptop something beyond comprehension?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then you need to learn to truly let go and relax while on vacation. If you’re not too attached to your phone, laptop and tablet, you might be able to just turn them off and not bother to look at them while on your trip. But for others, it might be necessary to purposely plan a remote bike trip or safari where mobile connectivity isn’t an option.

Learn to be on vacation with those you traveled with, not with people far across the country. At dinner, talk to the people you’re with. Don’t take photos of your entrée and post it on Instagram. Don’t try to catch every moment in the digital splendor. Instead of watching it through a lens, watch it through your own eyes and stop worrying about missing a moment to record something.

Learn to Let Go and Relax on Vacation

How to disconnect

One of the easiest ways to disconnect is to tell everyone in advance that you will have limited access to email, text and phone. “When you manage expectations proactively, you will minimize the frustration that always arises when people reach out to you because they know that you will, by habit, be available. You are breaking their bad habit and yours by establishing boundaries,” said Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide.

“You also won't feel guilty by missing out or by disappointing colleagues and managers who are used to immediate follow up. If you really want to justify the disconnect, go off the grid. Take a vacation to a place where it is virtually impossible to reach you, like a remote bike trip, a safari, or a silent retreat,” Cohen said.

Maura Thomas, a speaker, trainer and founder of RegainYourTime, and author of Personal Productivity Secrets and the upcoming Work Without Walls: An Executive’s Guide to Attention Management in the Age of Distraction, said there is one sure-fire way to make the most of your time off.

“Stop checking your email. The whole time. No exceptions. If you allow your email to keep pulling your mind back into work, then you don’t really take a work vacation – you don’t really “get away.” Time off not only provides a mental and physical break, but it allows us distance from our work and our lives that provides a new perspective, a creativity boost, and a clarity of thought that gets buried by the fast pace of our everyday lives. As a knowledge worker, your success depends at least in part on the wisdom, experience, and unique perspective that you bring to your work. Your supply of your unique creativity is not endless, and therefore taking the time to recharge it means increased productivity and better results when you return,” Thomas said.

Learn to Let Go and Relax on Vacation

Opt for digital detox

Learning how to disconnect is such a common problem that Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz., actually offers a class on the subject. This interactive class is led by Anne Parker and guests work with Parker to figure out the roles that their phones, tablets and computers play in their lives and how they are impacting their brains and bodies. The end result is to learn to not rely on technology, but to use it to improve their relationship with it to live a more mindful, productive and happy life.

Here are some of Parker’s tips from the class:

  • Remember that speed and urgency are not the same thing.
  • Turn off “push notifications.”
  • Put your devices in airplane mode to focus on specific task at hand.
  • “Check” your devices at for the evening before dinner and spend time with loved ones phone free until the morning.
  • Ban you devices from the bedroom.
  • Go device-free at all meals.
  • Accept the fact that you can't know everything and don't need to know everything.
  • Disconnect from technology for defined periods of time so that the space and energy is created to truly connect with those we care about the most.

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