Over the last few months I’ve been abroad for weddings, to see family and just to get away from it all. As a blogger I embrace technology, but I also need a respite and I especially love holidays where I can disconnect.
As expats, it’s not always easy to get away from it all is it? Perhaps it’s a visa keeping us within our borders, perhaps it’s the distance from our (babysitting) parents, perhaps it’s the 24/7 work culture in our host country.
However, do we actually need to travel to switch off? What’s the best way to recharge? Is it possible to get away from it all in luxury? I asked the experts for their tips.
Stay in control
Nikki Cochrane is Co-Founder of Digital Mums, a British organisation which seeks to support, empower and train mothers for a more fulfilling career fitting around family commitments. She tells me:
‘I am so totally passionate about our mission that my work never feels like something that I need to disconnect from so to speak. When you are an entrepreneur you accept that work becomes a huge part of everyday life.
Work is a thing you do and not a place you go to. That said of course it’s really important to have a total break from things sometimes and that does usually involve perhaps being on holiday abroad.
Equally I choose certain points in the day to check in on my email and other apps like Slack – that way I get concentrated times when I’m not just reacting to things happening online. It’s about being in control of when and where you are connected. We all have different personality traits and for some of us being able to switch of comes more easily than it does to others. Women are the ultimate multi-taskers.’
Get it in the diary
If anyone understands luxury lifestyle, it’s Emyr Thomas. Founder of luxury travel and concierge service Bon Vivant, luxury runs through Emyr’s DNA. He explains:
‘While we would all love to be able to take a week out of every month to sit on a beach in the Maldives, it’s not feasible for most of us. While I love my annual trip to St Barth’s – the one place in the world where I feel the happiest and most at ease with myself and with life – I don’t believe distance is imperative for ‘getting away from it all’.
Whether I’m sitting in front of a fire in a country house in the UK, relaxing in a spa in the South of France or having a fun lunch with friends in Ibiza, the important factor is that you’re away from your daily life and thoughts in whatever capacity you require. Whether it’s leaving your laptop at home, not looking at your Instagram account or getting away from the kids or family drama for a night, just make sure you do it!’
Focus on yourself
‘With a job (and an extra job) that involves being online at all times, it’s hard to switch off sometimes. Even when I unplug my laptop, I open the front door to my beautiful (but extremely loud) toddler and enter a new world that involves being equally switched on. Aside from the obvious everyday de-stressers (hot bath, scented candles – Jo Malone preferably, phone to flight mode as soon as I enter the bedroom), the only thing that works for me is time out.
Whether it’s one night away in a hotel, a weekend trip with a girlfriend (I just returned from an amazing 48 hours at Pikes hotel, Ibiza), or a two-hour photography or floristry course, doing something that breaks the routine and is all about me is the only thing that completely rejuvenates and refreshes me.’
A Digital Sabbath and Workations
Autumn Totton and Alexandra Frey founded The Mindfulness Project in London as a platform for sharing mindfulness with as many people as possible. As co-authors of ‘I am Here Now’, a new guide to mindfulness to be made available in 19 languages, their aim is to make mindfulness meditation accessible, real and meaningful. They explain:
‘Designate a time every week when you will be offline. Perhaps one weekend day off where you leave your devices off or out of reach (a digital Sabbath). Being consistent about it will help manage other people’s expectations about your availability. And really giving yourself permission to do this will give you an opportunity to recharge while offline.
Disconnecting at home or while at work can give us the head space to really focus on the things we have been meaning to accomplish, but might have neglected because of the constant pull of our digital devices.
We often take workations, where we get away to somewhere comfortable and connected, but close to nature where we can also spend part of the day working and the rest of the time relaxing and exploring. Having the structure of a retreat and all provisions included can really help relax and recharge, without having to stress about planning.’