Could your digital detox be leading to more stress?

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The idea that the only way to relax on holiday is by disconnecting from the digital world is one that many professional men will be familiar with. However, a leading psychologist has suggested that staying connected is actually the key to relaxation.

In an attempt to calculate the perfect formula for holiday relaxation in 2018, Flash Pack, a company that connects solo 30-40-somethings for group adventure trips off the tourist-beaten track, teamed  up with psychologist, Corrine Sweet. They found that being 'Out of the Office' is not necessarily appropriate or possible for professionals in this current economic climate.

They also found that 85 per cent of professional men now specifically enquire about access to Wi-Fi for checking in with work, prior to making a decision to book. For 72 per cent, the perfect holiday involves 'check-in and chill'.

For many, the idea of a digital detox is not only a stress-driver, but arguably a pipe dream - only 36 per cent manage to disconnect completely. This is no surprise, given that the number of self-employed has increased from 3.3 million people in 2001 to 4.8 million plus. Not only this, 72 per cent of those ‘detoxing’ said the lack of connection left them feeling anxious (not to mention the added stress of the handover beforehand).

According to Corrine Sweet, “a better approach than a ‘digital detox’ is to decide (ahead of time) what you need to do to keep in touch. Make a daily checklist, and find a time to check in. Once your ‘to-do’ list is sorted, you can then decide to relax. Beware of furtively checking all day, as you’ll never switch-off and anxiety will increase. Find your tech hot-spot and use it for the set time, and then get on enjoying your well-earned break.”

Lee Thompson, Co-founder of Flash Pack, added that “half of men in their thirties say checking-in with work is a deal-breaker; which makes sense when you consider what a crucial age this is for many on the career front. We used to run a ‘digital detox’ adventure to Finland – but so many people wanted to do the trip without giving up their phones that we had to ditch it.”

“We’ve now responded by installing 4G for long-distance bus journeys, on the understanding that guests will disconnect on arrival. We sometimes opt for a connected bus journey over a flight for this very reason, and are now looking at implementing set ‘work slots’ on our trips, putting a structure in place. The thinking here is not to be on call 24/7, but to connect over just a few hours, which helps them to mentally ‘switch-off’ without literally hitting the ‘off’ button.”

Check-in and Chill – the perfect holiday formula for professionals in 2018:
  • 30 x minutes of work-access per day: Either in one go or split into two. Set your time-slot, pick your Wi-Fi hotspot and tell colleagues this is when you’re contactable should they need to get in touch 
  • 8.5 x hours sleep: Busy professionals need respite. According to new scientific thinking, we only spend 90% of our time in bed asleep, so 8.5 hours delivers the 8 hours actual sleep needed to drive energy and wellbeing
  • 1 x new experience a day: Doing something different brings about significant changes in anxiety and depression, in turn decreasing stress. Keep an eye out for something new to do, or go with a company like Flash Pack, offering itineraries off the beaten track
  • 2 x hours outdoors: The benefits of being outside include mood-boosting, promoting positive personality traits and driving concentration.
  • 1 x hour being active: This doesn’t mean you have to do an intense workout, it can simply be a walk up and down the beach – just aim to get moving for this amount of time across the day
  • 1 x new social ‘bond’: We’re not saying go out and become ‘best friends’ with everyone you meet. Just being open to striking up a conversation with someone new is scientifically proven to boost confidence and wellbeing, which is why Flash Pack focuses on connecting like-minded people.

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