Most current vacation trend in tech? No tech.
Welcome to 2017 in the U.S., where the concept of burning the candle at both ends is a daily, normal experience for many, even a source of pride for the most overzealous of over-achievers. We then watch TV to relax, yet it ultimately stresses us out, we get on social media to relax, yet again, it stresses us out. We take three-day weekends and call them a vacation while we work for most it. Throw in a special dinner that we must Instagram, then Facebook, or taking an afternoon by the pool, while we work.
A few have taken the time to commit to an actual vacation. The kind that is more like seven days and even requires a plane ticket. Just the anticipation of time-off creates extra energy. There’s the pride of getting to create the auto-reply on our email, changing our voicemail and the declaration to the cashier and those in line behind us, with all of our travel-size purchases.
We work on our laptop on the plane ride there to get caught up so we can relax, then once there, the emails keep coming and we don’t want to get behind, so we stay on top of them on our phone and even try to get ahead to create a little cushion. Then, the new fabulous location and the new sights and smells are so invigorating that we have amazing new ideas come to us that would be great for the business and we have to capture that, quick writing notes to ourselves in our phone. Then we have to get the balls rolling on the new ideas and all of the sudden we are working as much or more than we did when we were in the office, thanks to technology.
Chronic stress, the kind that is a constant for many workaholics, especially men, is linked to six of the 10 leading causes of death, including suicide, cancer, heart disease, accidents, stroke and diabetes. What is the common link among all of this today? Technology. Apart from the self-inflicted need of so many to remain on the treadmill of the road to success, our addiction to technology is making it nearly impossible to step off it, even for just a moment. Technology addiction is an actual thing, expected in the not so distant future to be included in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) along side Internet Use Gaming Disorder.
“Technology addiction — sometimes called Internet addiction, Internet use disorder (IUD) or Internet addiction disorder (IAD) — is a fairly new phenomenon. It’s often described as a serious problem involving the inability to control use of various kinds of technology, in particular the Internet, smartphones, tablets and social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,” according to addiction.com. The site goes on to list symptoms from Dr. Hilarie Cash, co-founder of the ReSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program. Dr. Cash details what this looks like, including:
Compulsive checking of text messages
Frequent changing of Facebook status and uploading of “selfies”
A feeling of euphoria while on the Web
Loss of interest in activities that don’t involve a computer, phone or gadget
Feelings of restlessness when unable to go online
For many, as in the example above, the addiction falls in the realm of social and Internet browsing, but for workaholics, it’s not disconnecting from social sites that’s an issue, its the inability to be disconnected from the office. So the equivalent list might include:
Compulsive checking of email
Insisting on keeping the volume on “just in case”
Inability to walk from one room to another without your phone
Inability to sit down without your phone with you
Inability to sleep without your phone next to you
Lack of enjoyment in activities outside of work
Stress is not only inextricably tied to work technology, think cell phone and laptop, but also more basic technology, like televisions.
Leonard Reinecke of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, authored a study published in the Journal of Communication that found “people who felt especially wiped out saw their media time as a form of procrastination, and felt they were avoiding other important things on their to-do lists. These participants were likely to describe “giving in” to media use, and that feeling prevented them from benefiting from the down time and relaxing. ‘We are starting to look at media use as a cause of depletion. In times of smartphones and mobile Internet, the ubiquitous availability of content and communication often seems to be a burden and a stressor rather than a recovery resource.’”
Not surprisingly, as good companies do- they listen to their customers. The biggest names in the hotel industry are taking notice and establishing a trend that vacationers are desperate for- getting rid of tech. We are so in need of getting away from the onslaught of negative news and social media and we find it nearly impossible to separate ourselves from work. So to support their guests in the most powerful way possible, hotels are offering everything from the much sought after TV-free rooms to a “tech check-in” for storing your personal technology when you check-in to the hotel.
Marriott and Renaissance hotels are leading the charge, offing specific “Braincation Zones” across the Caribbean and Mexico. They decided to go this route after a survey showed half of the respondents stated staying connected to work added to their stress while vacationing. Fifty percent also said they checked their emails and voicemails several times per day while on vacation.
Are you ready to truly disconnect, to restore your balance and be able to really commit to reducing your stress and enjoying a vacation, here are few great choices to get you started.
If you are looking for a staycation, the closest edition of a tech-free opportunity property is going to be the Florida Keys where Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, has done it right. You can even seaplane or boat to the resort’s lush private island to help you disconnect, although driving is also an option. The ultimate property-wide policy, telephone use is prohibited in the public areas at Little Palm. The best part…? Rooms don’t have any televisions or alarm clocks. According to Forbes best travel guide, “the resort looks more like Fiji than the Florida Keys — think chic colonial decor and hammocks on the beach — with just 15 thatched-roof bungalows housing 30 suites. It’s about as remote as you can get without leaving the continental United States, so make the most of what’s offered: swimming, snorkeling, picnics and amazing spa treatments. All that said, there’s one instance where we recommend taking a pause from your digital break here: Musicians like Willie Nelson and Aaron Neville play the resort’s sand bar. If you happen to catch a performance like that, it’s tweet-worthy.”
Another spectacular television-free option is the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, CA. Each of the 40 guest rooms has an ocean or mountain view, king-size bed, wood-burning fireplace, indoor spa tub, private deck and digital music system. The wet bar and minibar are filled with complimentary snacks, juices and half-bottles of red and white wine. What you won’t find: TVs or alarm clocks.
Four Seasons Costa Rica, at Peninsula Papagayo offers Health and Happiness programs that include a “disconnect to reconnect” program that secures your phone for 24 hours while encouraging you to participate in their extensive tech-free opportunities. Upon your return home they suggest that we:
Shop the perimeter of your local supermarket to find the healthiest ingredients.
Seek out local hiking and biking destinations.
Meditate for ten to fifteen minutes a day.
Turn off your devices at least a half an hour before bedtime.
Set personal goals and track your progress regularly.
Lake Placid Lodge in Lake Placid, NY has a “check-in to check-out” program where guests surrender their devices for safe keeping. One repeat guest notes “now I look forward to handing it all over… I’ve become a slave to my devices. Even if it was in my suitcase, I’d still be thinking about it. This pushes you immediately into the sense of a vacation.”
With no technology vying for the attention of their partner, many couples have become loyal repeat customers to these properties because as soon as they arrive they are supported in leaving their stress behind and immediately begin to reconnect.
With the biggest names in the hotel industry leading the way, many more choices are becoming available for those wanting to leave the constant bombardment of technology behind. In the meantime, you can really set yourself up for the ultimate staycation- your home. Charge the phones overnight in the kitchen, no computers in bed, remove the tv from your bedroom, decide one moment in time in the evening to check email one last time, then enter into your tech-free safe-haven, the bedroom. Add a few candles, fabulous bubble bath, excellent wine and a great book and you’ll never want to leave.
Cheers to cutting out the stress! What are you going to do to reduce your stress? Share your ideas with us!
Have ideas you’d like to add? Need more suggestions? Let me know!
Julie Koester is CEO of Life with Moxie, a Lifestyle Revolution Company www.lifewithmoxie.com, CEO of Moxie Creed www.moxiecreed.com, skincare beyond chemistry and Host of Life with Moxie Radio, Saturday’s at 1pm on 98.9 WGUF in Southwest Florida. You can reach her at Julie@lifewithmoxie.com
Passionate Living by Design, That’s Life with Moxie
© 2017 Naples Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.