Even If You Can’t Take a Real Vacation, There’s Good Reason To Take a ‘Device Vacation’ This Weekend

Photo: Getty Images / lechatnoir
Traveling is—in a lot of ways—an escape. And a year like 2020 offers a lot to escape from. But COVID-19 cases continue to climb around the country and people remain out of work, which puts traveling is largely on pause for the foreseeable future. To reap some of the benefits of travel from home, you can take a vacation from your device. During a recent Well+Good TALKS, Susan Santiago, head of lifestyle and Miraval operations at Hyatt Hotels, says that Miraval follows a digital mindfulness policy to let people truly unwind.

"At Miraval, we've always been a digital device-free property because we believe that your digital devices can distract you from being present and really impede your ability for self-discovery," says Santiago. "And what we've seen with everyone being in quarantine and working remotely and literally having your phones glued to you every day, being on Zoom calls and webinars, they are embracing the opportunity to take their cell phone and put it into a sleeping bag when they check into a Miraval and really just connect."

Experts In This Article
  • Jennifer Teplin, LCSW, psychotherapist and founder of Manhattan Wellness
  • Sophia Gushee, non-toxic living expert and founder of Ruan Living
  • Susan Santiago, Susan M. Santiago currently serves as head of lifestyle and Miraval operations at Hyatt Hotels, where she is responsible for Hyatt’s lifestyle collection while simultaneously overseeing the operations across all Miraval properties.

Yes, you read that right—phone sleeping bag. When guests check into a Miraval resort, they're handed a phone sleeping bag and encourage to keep their phone away during the majority of their stay. You can recreate this at home by putting your phone in a designated spot for the weekend.

Sophia Ruan Gushée, a home detox expert and founder of Ruan Living, recommends storing all devices in a charging hub when they aren't in use to reduce screen time.

"I'm trying to implement a house rule where most of the time when the technology is not in use it's changed in the technology home," says Gushée. "Out of sight is out of mind so if people don't see the laptops and iPads laying around they also don't really think about getting on."

Learn more about Gushée's charging hub here:

The pandemic has made our relationships with our devices super tricky. In a world where IRL connections aren't necessarily safe, digital spaces allow us to say connected to our communities, whether that's taking a virtual yoga class or doing a Zoom happy hour. In that way, our devices aid our well-being. But, that doesn't mean that a break couldn't do us all some good.

“Screen time has been a hot topic since iPhones found their way into every household, but I believe that life is hard enough without beginning to diagnose a screen addiction or make ourselves feel worse about our behaviors,” says psychotherapist Jennifer Teplin, LCSW. “In my professional opinion, screen time is something to worry about when it’s either getting in the way of daily functioning or the only tool someone has to relax and enjoy themselves.”

This weekend, consider stowing your devices away and enjoying a staycation. Whether you're trying a new recipe or curling up with a book, take some time to disconnect—it might be exactly what your mind is craving.

Thanks to our sponsor, Tourism Authority of Thailand. Click here to enter to win a seven-night stay at the luxurious Kamalaya Koh Samui wellness resort, where you and a guest will be treated to a restorative itinerary designed to help you de-stress and erase burnout.

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