Editors Blog: The benefits of a digital detox

We live in such a switched-on society nowadays and our constant attachment to digital devices and to social media has been proven to have a direct effect on our health. There are numerous studies on the affect technology has on our stress levels but are there any studies directly comparing our health before and after a period of digital detox?

I was interested to find out the direct effects on my own health after three days of switch off. The lovely folks at Hidden Valley Yurts in South Wales invited me to spend a few days reconnecting to nature – how could I turn that down.

 

Set within the Monmouthshire countryside Hidden Valley Yurts is a little piece of solace – somewhere to escape everyday life and switch off. From the moment that I parked up I knew that this was going to be a special few days, where I could relax and be present.

I had a feeling that my mindfulness practice was going to encompass my every moment.

The yurts are set in a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, in a tucked away corner of Wales, mother nature has definitely been spending some time at Hidden Valley too! I was staying in one of their beautiful yurts – each of the 5 yurts are so carefully thought out with comfy beds, a wood burning stove and solar powered fairy lights.

The yurts are set within a stunning slice of woodland, with a bubbling stream, plenty of woodland walks and a brand-new lake house (available to rent from 2018). I felt the stress melt away as soon as I arrived.

 

Space to play…
As adults, we tend to forget the importance of play, work gets serious, life gets serious and there’s always things to take care of. But, making time for play and creativity is super important. Play is just as pivotal for adults as it is for kids.

In his book ‘Play’ author and psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, compares play to oxygen. He writes, “…it’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.” Hidden Valley Yurts was my chance to play.

“It’s been shown that those who rated themselves high on personality characteristics such as being spontaneous or energetic, or open to “clowning around” — reported less stress in their lives and possessed better coping skills. One reason why it’s good for adults to play”.

 

On my second day at Hidden Valley I got to challenge myself, cultivate teamwork and play. We we’re lucky enough to have an afternoon session of gorge scrambling with Inspire 2adventure. It was a well needed reminder that when you have support and put your mind to a challenge you can achieve anything. Although being a tough challenge, I recommend gorge scrambling to anyone who needs to feel alive again and what a perfect example of how important being present really is.

After a day of exhilarating adventure, I was so looking forward to some home cooked, plant based, locally sourced food from Barney’s Infamous Catering – a delicious ‘cooked from scratch’ vegetarian curry. Seriously good plant based food. I finished the day feeling extremely grateful.

An early morning wake-up call from the birds and a morning yoga session with Emma from Performance Circle started my final day the way that each day forward should begin. I’d already felt the change in myself. I was worrying less; my heart rate had dropped and I felt calmer.

The mental list of ‘to-dos’ seemed less important and I was focusing on just doing one thing – sometimes just being is more important that doing!

Having this chance to escape modern day life and go back to nature really changed my perspective. On leaving Hidden Valley I made two promises to myself;

  • 1 – that I’d never let technology be in charge of my choices again and
  • 2  – that I’d return to Hidden Valley – soon!

Thanks, Hidden Valley Yurts for offering me a free stay to review your amazing yurts and lake house. This article is my review of Hidden Valley and was in return for a free stay.