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5 ways to Take a Digital Detox in London

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Shutterstock - Julia Sudnitskaya


With smartphone users on average spending 2 hours a day on their phone, we think it’s definitely time for us to take a break from our phones. That’s why we are promoting taking a digital detox. A digital detox is nothing new. In fact, it’s already in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Our obsession with all things digital only seems to be intensified living in London. Many of us spend our commute to work answering emails, watching videos and scrolling aimlessly through social media. Then we head into the office to sit in front of a screen for 8 hours or more. Only to do the same on the return home. Everything from new clothes to Netflix shows are available in seconds, so it’s no surprise that one in four people are spending more time online than asleep.

At The Chapel, we live by the mantra that taking time for ourselves is always a good thing. Even if this means letting go of responsibilities and pressures for a few hours because that’s the only way to truly relax. Digital detoxing connects deeply with our pausing ethos. For years, we have had optional lockers for phones in all of our salons. We truly notice the difference when our guests decide to relax without digital devices - especially with our London clients. This inspired us to create a list of digital detoxing activities and practices you can do in and out of London.

Are you always checking your phone? Tired of hanging out with friends and family and their eyes are glued to the screen? Or do you feel not present at parties and events because you are taking pics/vids vs. having conversations? Ever feel like time rapidly disappears as you mindlessly scroll through social media? Is the last thing you do before bed and first thing you do when you wake up check your phone? Do you wish your phone didn’t feel like an extra appendage? ๐Ÿ™‡๐Ÿผ‍โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผ‍โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผ‍โ™€๏ธ #timetounplug • • • If any of the above resonates with you, perhaps you’ll join me in a #digitaldetox by kicking off August with #howtobreakupwithyourphone (or pager?)๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿผ‍โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿปโ˜Ž๏ธ๐Ÿ“ž๐Ÿ“Ÿ • • • #itsnotyouitsyourphone #maycausemajorlifechanges #selfhelp #breakupplan #sickofsocialmedia #exceptwhenimtalkingaboutbooksorpuppiesordesserthummus

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What exactly is a digital detox?

A digital detox is a significant amount of time spent away from electronic devices. This includes our smartphones and computers. This could be for an hour, an afternoon or as long as you want! A digital detox is an opportunity to get back in touch and connect with yourself, the planet and your close ones. It is an opportunity to relax, unwind and destress. So, here are The Chapel’s favourite digital detox activities:

1 - Practicing yoga

Yoga’s popularity has exploded recently. First seen as a hobby for hippies and yummy mummies, the mind and body benefits of this 5000-year old Indian tradition soon became impossible for the rest of us to ignore. Known to boost your physical and mental wellbeing through improving strength, flexibility and breathing, classes usually last between 45 and 90 minutes and have been proven to lower blood pressure, heart disease risk, depression, and stress. It’s stylist for The Chapel Tunbridge Wells stylist Scott Perkins’ favourite. Scott recommends purchasing one month of unlimited yoga at Triyoga Camden, “at £78 it’s a bargain! A way to clear space away from your phone.”

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2 - A mindfulness retreat

If you have to think about the last time you left London, this might be the option for you. For those who really need a break from the London life, a mindfulness retreat takes you out of the melting pot and puts you and your needs first.

For those who feel stressed, distracted and a little lost in their own thoughts, mindfulness is a simple but powerful tool to train our attention. Mindfulness has also been reported to help depression, anxiety, creative drought and even relationships.

On these retreats you trade your phone in for a breath of fresh air, focusing on reconnecting with the world around you. You can book holidays specially dedicated to digital detox, or if that seems a bit too much, you can plan your own camping trip away from the hustle and bustle like stylist Symon May from The Chapel Tunbridge Wells: “We went camping with some friends for the weekend at a local festival and didn't even notice no phones. Friends, alcohol and music worked for me.” Leave your phone behind or with a trusted friend. It’s one of our favourite ways to switch off.

3 - Hiking

Walking where the views are spectacular without your phone will be the ultimate test. You’ll find that appreciating something beautiful and not sharing it on social media also relieves the pressure of coming up with a witty caption, or finding just the right filter. We suggest choosing a hike that gets your heart rate going, so you won’t think about looking down at your phone because you’ll be too busy looking up at the beautiful landscapes around you. Check out our stylists favourite London walks.

4 - Volunteering

Volunteering is one of the best ways to practice to get the most out of a digital detox. The trick is to involve yourself in causes you’re passionate about. If you’re an environmentalist, there are beach cleanups dotted all over the country. More of a gardener? Kew Gardens take on volunteer gardeners all year to help out. It’s what you would find challenging and rewarding. And not only will the new challenge help lift you out of the digital rut you’re in, but volunteering for someone else’s benefit gives perspective of the world beyond our screens.

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5 - Hygge (Hoo-gah)

A Danish way of life that you don’t need to leave your living room for, hygge swept across the UK in the last couple of years like a big cosy blanket. There’s no exact translation for hygge, but the words “cosy,” “candles” and “a special moment” come up again and again. We can’t argue with the idea of leaving your phone in the kitchen while you relax, chat with friends and eat crisps and hummus by candlelight.

Sometimes we feel like we need to be reachable by phone all the time, and forget what quality time with just a few people can really feel like. If digital detoxing is about rediscovering real-world social interactions, then a few hours with wine and close friends works an absolute treat. If you want to learn more about the Danish lifestyle and what it means to be 'Hyggelit', check out The Little Book of Hygge!

We hope we’ve given you some ideas for your next digital detox day! For more insight into London, explore the rest of our blog here.

There's nothing a latte & a good book can't fix. ๐Ÿ–ค

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We hope we’ve given you some ideas for your next digital detox day! For more insight into London, explore the rest of our blog here.

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