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I’ve just finished a 5 week stay at a friend’s property in the Mediterranean and although the stay involved an incredible amount of work (I was helping with the property’s ongoing reconstruction project), I’ve come away feeling refreshed and more relaxed than I’ve been for some time.
As some readers may recall (because I’ve mentioned this before), the property is high up a mountain where it has no access to TV, no access to Wi-Fi and access to only the most pathetic of phone signals. That makes it the perfect place to escape from the world.
From time to time, the phone signal gets strong enough to make phone conversations possible, but most of the time I’m lucky to see anything more than one or two bars of “E” when I look down at my phone so, after a while, I stop looking down. There’s no point!
It usually takes me a couple of days to get used to being cut off from most forms of modern-day communication but once my mind gets accustomed to the idea that the internet (and all that goes with it) is no longer available 24/7, the results are amazing – I relax in a way that I don’t relax anywhere else.
Without the depressing 24-hour news cycle, without being constantly exposed to the lies and the mindless stupidity that all sides of the political spectrum consistently come out with, without being able to see all the advertising that’s always being forced down our throats, and without access to social media, everyday life feels a lot better.
Yes, being cut off from the never-ending noise around us won’t make much difference to any very real problems that someone may be facing in day-to-day life (this isn’t a magic wand!) but it can still make a very big difference to how they feel.
Based on my experience, people probably don’t realize just how draining and sapping it is to be continually exposed (via various forms of media) to people arguing, to people lying, to people continually discussing and debating all that is bad in the world, and to the cesspit that is “social media”, until all of those things are removed from the environment and all that is left is the real world immediately around us.
Problems in your own life can suddenly seem a lot more manageable when you’re not being force-fed everyone else’s problems and when you’re not listening to or reading the stream of negativity that passes for news programming in the 21st century.
When your morning doesn’t start with an update on the latest war, the latest political arguments, or your social media channels telling you just how abhorrent, hateful, and evil all the people who don’t agree with your points of view are, and when none of these things invades your space at any point in the day, the world can quickly become a considerably happier and more friendly place than it often appears to be.
Believe me, the transformation can be amazing.
Ok, I appreciate that not everyone is fortunate enough to have a friend’s TV- and internet-free mountain retreat to escape to when they need to get away from the world so “switching off” is going to be a little more challenging for most people…but it’s still achievable with a little bit of effort. You should try it.
The next time you go on vacation, why not enjoy where you are and who you’re with without relying on the TV or the internet to keep you occupied or entertained?
I’m not suggesting that you should ignore the presence of the internet and your room’s TV completely (that’s probably asking too much), but there’s a lot that you can do to give yourself a true “break”.
If you stay off social media, avoid the news, avoid TV programs where people just argue and engage in never-ending and pointless conflicts (e.g. all ‘reality TV’), avoid using the internet for anything other than enhancing the vacation you’re on, and have your devices switched off when you’re not actively using them, I’m willing to bet that you’ll get home feeling more relaxed and refreshed than you have done in a long time.
The usual depressing news stories will all still be there when you get home (or they will have been replaced by new ones), all those videos of animals doing cute/dumb things will still be there in their millions and your social media accounts will still be full of exactly the same things they were full of before you went away…so you’re probably not going to miss out on much.
Sure, in my case it sounds like I missed out on a couple of very good IHG flash sales thanks to the fact that I had no idea they were going on but in exchange for mind-clearing relaxation, even die-hard miles & points fans will probably agree that it was a small price to pay…you should give it a try 🙂