We all know the signs we’ve been staring at screens too much. Hunched shoulders, aching eyes and an inability to focus on conversation without wanting to add an emoji to the end of a sentence. You could try going cold turkey at home, but specialized digital detox retreats are becoming more and more popular as people realize they can’t rely on their own willpower to stay away from technology. Organized digital detoxes take people into nature to reconnect with themselves and remember that it’s still possible to go somewhere new without asking for the WIFI password.
Tips for a successful digital detox
If you’re going to try to do a digital detox alone without the support of a retreat we recommend starting slowly and following these tips.
- Turn off push notifications
- Turn your phone to grayscale- way less tempting
- Ban phones at meal times and in the bedroom
- Download the Freedom App, ironic we know but this app can really help with unwanted distractions
Top places for a digital detox retreat
If you know yourself well and need more support try these digital detox vacations for an experience that will leave you more refreshed than ever before, just without the instagram pics to prove it ever really happened.
Where better to run from the internet than a modern day monastery somewhere in the hills of Umbria, Italy. Accommodation is scattered across the 3,000 hectare property so you can experience the peace and solitude of a hermit's life but there are delicious, vegetarian meals served communally too. And just because it’s an old monastery there is no scrimping on luxury. Spend your newly freed-up time in the steam bath, whirlpool or yoga room, accompanied by a soundtrack of softly chanting Gregorian monks.
Camp Grounded, USA
A summer camp for adults, this retreat organized by Digital Detox is 3 nights of fun, activities and not a phone or work chat in sight. Campers don’t use their real names, no one talks job titles and every piece of technology is left at the door. Whilst it may sound a bit like the start of a cult, campers say they feel like kids again and get the chance to really connect with people without any preconceptions or distractions. Activities include arts and crafts, outdoor sports, storytelling, stargazing and campfire gatherings. Workshops and seminars on meditation and mindfulness help to take the spirit of the camp back into the real world.
Sheldon Chalet, Alaska
If you really, really want to get away, a remote chalet at the top of a nunatak in Alaska’s Denali National Park is a pretty good place to go. Nope, we didn’t know what a nunatak was either. A rocky outcrop surrounded by glaciers, this one is home to an exclusive and luxurious chalet that sleeps up to 10 people. The only way to get there is the all-inclusive package including inbound and outbound helicopter tour, gourmet food, guided exploration of the Don Sheldon amphitheater and a sauna with insane views across the mountain tops. You might need to be a tech millionaire for this one.
Menla Mountain Retreat, New York
Only a few hours from New York but deep in the Catskill Mountains the Menla Mountain Retreat is run by Tibet House US, a non-profit dedicated to preserving Tibetan culture. Here you’ll find all the space you need to get away from your phone with 300 acres of wilderness, forest and hiking trails. Food is vegetarian and cooked with produce from the organic gardens, there is a spa with eastern and western wellness treatments and all the sound baths, yoga and meditation classes you’ll need to reset your brain without distraction.
Kolarbyn Eco Lodge, Sweden
Swap waking up and checking Instagram with waking up to fetch water from a spring, chop wood for a fire and sip coffee on the shore of a forest lake in Sweden. If you want an extreme digital detox (and an amazing life experience) Kolarbyn Eco Lodge is the place for you. Of course there is no technology here but add electricity and showers to the list and you’ll start to understand why it’s been called the most primitive hotel in Sweden. Two hours from Stockholm in lush green forest you’ll find twelve wooden huts with beds covered in sheepskins, roaring fires and moss and mushrooms on the roof. A toilet hut, communal food store, and floating sauna on the lake are the only other amenities, allowing you to fully unplug, cook on open fire and swim or hike your days away.
Long Story Short...
Whether you are going to try small steps to reduce your screen time or you want to fully immerse yourself in a digital detox retreat it’s good for everyone's mental health to take a break and get back into nature, no chargers necessary!
Written by Laura Sedlak