Why a digital detox is exactly what you need in 2021
Switch off your phone and enjoy a digital detox this year, at one of many French campsites that are perfect for a family retreat. Whether you are looking for a notification free period, or you need an internet detox to clear your mind of everything that has happened over the past 12 months or so, camping in France is just the answer. Not only will an open-air holiday shift your focus away from your devices, but it will also help those of us who haven’t seen family and friends in a long time to rebuild connections and bonds. In addition, focusing more on nature and being in the present moment, rather than being glued to our digital devices, helps us rebuild the connection with ourselves too – something which may have been lost over the past few months. The impact nature can have on our mental and physical health is also another reason why ditching the devices is a great idea this year, so it won’t take you long to embrace Mother Nature and forget about your phone. Take some time away from your laptop and phones, speak and laugh more with your family and create memories which will last a lifetime. Let technology take a back seat this year and focus on what’s in front of you, so you can appreciate the people and things that matter the most.
The best things to do during your digital detox
With the phones away and the tablets turned off, we’ve put together a list of activities that don’t require digital technology.
Take a hike
Enjoy a hike along one of France’s stunning coastlines on your digital detox and enjoy the novelty of using a paper map, rather than your phone, to navigate through some stunning scenery. The Pink Granite Coast in Brittany, for example, which goes from Lannion to Perros-Guirec, is a great hike for you and your family to reconnect on. Remember to pack a lunchbox and lots of water, as some of this route can get quite rural.
Visit a local château
Rather than reading up on history via your phone, during your internet detox you can go and learn about history at source. Visit one of many impressive chateaux, such as Chateau d’Angers in the Loire Valley, and find out all about life in previous centuries. Bring a disposable camera just in case you want a picture to remind you of your journey.
Go for a swim in a lake
Whilst you’re enjoying your digital detox, you can really reconnect with nature. One of the best ways to appreciate nature is to go for a swim in one of the delightful bodies of water that France boasts. Visit Cascades du Herisson, which is close to the town of Lons-le-Saunier, where you can enjoy beautiful waterfalls and a river where you can swim. This is a great place for all the family to relax and enjoy a paddle, no matter the level of swimming capabilities. Don’t forget your sun cream as the mountain sun can be very strong.
Go back to a time before phones
With France boasting so much history, you can embrace your technology detox and go and visit a town brimming with culture and historical buildings. Check out Nimes, for example, which has Roman monuments that have been well-preserved over the years, such as Arena of Nimes. Head over to the tourist information office on arrival, where you can find out all about the history of the city, without the need for the internet.
Go for a spin on your bike
Cycle away from your screen and enjoy time spent with your family on one of France’s amazing cycle routes. A route such as the Velodyssey, which stretches the entire length of the Atlantic coastline, offers you complete escapism from your normal life and the trials and tribulations of the internet. Most cycle routes in France have a bespoke book too, which you can use to navigate your route with.
Eat like a local
Rather than letting the internet suggest a restaurant for you based on thousands of people’s ratings, why not ask a local where is good to eat. “Où est bon à manger, s’il vous plaît?” should do the trick to find a local recommendation. Choosing the plat du jour, or dish of the day, is always the best way to enjoy the freshest and best ingredients that were available at the market that day, or failing that look to see what the locals are eating and give that a try.
Enjoy a beach day
With screen-time taking up so much of the average person’s day, you’ll have a lot more spare time during your digital detox. So, for the ultimate relaxing activity, visit one of the beautiful beaches along the French coastline. For example, Plage du Midi in Cannes, which is great for families, as children can enjoy themselves under the watchful eye of the lifeguards. There are parasols and loungers for rent on certain sections of many beaches, so you can choose whether you want to be in or out of the sun.
Take in a UNESCO site
You’ll never tire of places to visit when camping in France, so you’ll soon forget you’re on a digital detox. Why not bond with your family at one of the country’s stunning UNESCO heritage sites. Take a trip to see Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy, or Palais des Papes in Avignon, where you will be wowed by breath-taking architecture. Make sure to pick up a few postcards and bring a pen to write them while waiting for your lunch, so that people at home can see where you’ve been.
What are the benefits of having a digital detox?
Not only will time away from your screen help you feel mentally refreshed, but you’ll be more physically active too.
Whilst a lot of people think they would find it hard to live without their devices, research has shown that excessive screen time can lead to increased stress and anxiety. So, taking time away from being constantly connected can have a great impact on your health. Also, it can help you reconnect with those closest to you.
Improve sleep habits
Not only does a technology detox help with stress levels, but you are also likely to have improved sleep as a result. Research has shown that having your phone or device too close to your bed can negatively affect sleep quality. So, not only will you sleep better when you’re camping without devices beside you, but you will be able to focus on speaking to your loved ones who are there beside you, rather than following the lives of others via your phone just prior to sleep.
Help maintain a good work-life balance
An internet detox can really help you if you are addicted to checking your emails. When you’re not working you shouldn’t feel the need to check your emails, and when you’re on holidays you especially shouldn’t be thinking about work. A better work-life balance not only helps you feel more energised, but it will actually make you more productive at work in the long run too, so it’s a win-win.
Brings you closer to your family
The world we live in has evolved to keep people connected no matter where they are. Whilst this is great, it also means that you might focus on chatting to people who are further away than those who are right in front of you. A digital detox is great as you’ll get to reconnect with your family rather than chatting to people who aren’t present.
Reduce emotions related to other people’s lives
Whilst social media certainly has pros, it can also have cons. One of these is that it can cause jealousy or annoyance about how you perceive other people live their lives, from the brief snapshots delivered by social channels. Not getting emotionally involved in other people’s day-to-day activities frees your mind and allows you to focus on those that are with you in that moment.
Useful Info Regarding a Digital Detox
A digital detox is a great way to bring your family closer together. Here are a few helpful pointers to get you started.
What are the signs I might need a digital detox?
Everyone knows their own mind and body best, but if you are starting to feel anxious or stressed when you aren’t on your phone, then it’s likely you need some time away from it. If you check your phone every few minutes without a specific reason, that also might be a sign you are in need of a technology break. Or if social media causes a negative emotion, it’s time to put down the phone.
How do I do a digital detox?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this, as different people will benefit from varying amounts of time away from their devices. Set yourself some realistic boundaries to begin with and see how you get on. If these are too hard, maybe try something easier. However, if you find it easy, perhaps try making your digital detox stricter.
What is the best way to start a digital detox?
If you set your sights too high at the beginning, then you will be less likely to succeed. Choose realistic objectives, depending on how addicted to your devices you think you are. Then, step-by-step, see what works for you. For instance, going cold-turkey might not be the best choice if you use your phone more than the average person.
What can I expect from a digital detox?
Time away from your phone, tablet and laptop, among other technological devices, is not only great for your mind, body and soul, but it might also give you new perspectives on what is important in life. You might find yourself questioning whether you need to use your phone as often as you do, or if you have spent enough time recently with your loved ones, both of which are healthy thoughts to have.
Why are campsites a great place to partake in a digital detox?
Campsites are some of the best places to have a digital detox because, stripped down to its most basic, camping doesn’t require technology, nor will it at any point in the future. It’s all about you and your loved ones focusing on each other, enjoying nature and forgetting about everything that isn’t right in front of you at that moment in time.
Switch off from your devices and enjoy a camping trip with your family.