Switching off for summer

13 June 2019

By Sophie Galton

No, not the new song title from Ed Sheeran but rather a leading thought in most people’s minds these days as we find ourselves ever tangled in the world of digital delights. Have we gone too far? Have we tipped over into the ‘too much of a good thing’ zone….

Ironically now as you scroll through your phone/iPad, titles pop up at you screaming… ‘click here for your own digital detox’ ‘Top 10 tips for how to balance your time online’ ‘Kids and screen time, how much is too much?’

We find ourselves in a labyrinth of choices and for most of us, the internet has brought with it a world of wonderful connections. Families in different time zones now feel they are in the room, photos snapped in a moment of laughter can be shared in a matter of seconds with those you love and on a theatrical level, we can access performances, ideas, creative forums in a way that has never been experienced before. We are thankful, yet slightly afraid of the myriad of worlds we find ourselves dancing in when we commit to our time online.

At ISTA we are very aware of stepping away from the screen. Team members at ISTA spend a large amount of their time online, through Skype calls to hosts and teachers to Google Docs aplenty, we rely on the computer, internet, good WiFi speed to be able to do our jobs (I am slightly in awe of how this all happened before the days of internet) and we are all working in different time zones, the internet for us is the Godfather we never meet. However, like everyone, we step away, we switch off and as we move towards the long summer break (nearer for some than others) it is important to find time to focus on the art of switching off.

So how to switch off? This may sound ridiculously easy, however we have come to rely on our phones for so many wonderful things that actually switching the phone off is nearly impossible… Google Maps for that gorgeous little Italian village with winding streets anyone?
From our music to podcasts, audio books, maps, photos, social media, even our mediation app, we rely on our phones for more than we realise and so the actual act of switching off becomes a task within itself .

So to help you along… if you need any… here are a few tips;

– Switch off your work emails from your phone – you might think you won’t get any over the summer so it is fine to have them there in the background but just as you settle into your 4th aperol spritz of the day… ping… there it is… a little email from school (or ISTA) reminding you about something you were hoping to forget about for awhile… disconnect it, pop your out of office on and relax.

– Switch off your push notifications (if you can’t disconnect your mails) that way you have to make the choice to go in and check your mails and messages rather than having your time interrupted.

– Prune your social media garden. Remove apps (you can re-install them again pretty quickly) you don’t use, unfollow people you don’t enjoy, unlike pages you don’t really want to like… more and more research is cropping up that’s supporting evidence that social media is not good for our health. If you do wish to update family and friends on your travels, dedicate 15 mins to upload the app, upload your pictures and then delete off the phone.

– Set a timer – limit your time online by quite literally setting a timer for 20 minutes, do what you want to do and then switch off.

– Book a hotel with no WiFi! Harder than you think.

– Dig out that old Nokia sitting in the back draw… the one that literally makes and receives calls. Leave your smart phone at home. Even typing a text became too much work on the old Nokia.

Do you have any tips for switching off? Do share them in the comments on Facebook (before you go on your digital detox).

Most importantly, switch off in whatever way you feel fit, travel the world, take deep breaths, write, read, create, sit and enjoy that cup of tea and rejuvenate yourselves.