This weekend, my friend from London was visiting and we were enjoying the beautiful weather in Dubai. Laying at the beach, soaking in the sun, relaxing, it was gorgeous! As I was looking around, I realised how much I love these moments of peace, quiet and sunshine.

I also noticed how well my friend did without her phone. Fair enough, she didn’t have data roaming and free wifi was not always available. Still, seeing her carrying on a normal face-to-face conversation without looking at her phone every 2 minutes was almost a new thing for Dubai.

It made me look back at a previous holiday where my work phone didn’t have reception. While it was only a short break, it was a very uncomfortable feeling for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m easily replaceable, or so I think. My colleagues thought differently and relaxation was gone once I saw the number of emails in my inbox. For me, this holiday showed me that I can unplug and live without my phone after all!

When was the last time that you stopped being connected 24/7? These days, it’s a challenge to find someone who had their phone in a different room for more than 1 hour. Just like it’s beneficial to spend time away from your partner and your family, so is spending time from your phone, laptop, iPad, iPod, etc. Why? For these reasons and benefits:

Disconnecting reduces stress. If you continue to check and answer work emails after hours, your brain will not be able to switch off and recharge for the next day. Instead, work related issues will impact personal time, delaying or even preventing the recovery from work stress as YoungAh Park discovered.

We’re so used to watching a film while checking our iPads and having a chat with someone. Though I may be repeating myself, multitasking doesn’t work. Start a mindful activity and do just one thing. Ask your partner how their day was and actively listen to them. Just focus on them.

Your social media accounts do not reflect reality. We often portray our life in an exciting and perfect way online. Few times do we show our difficulties and challenges. That is not our true life.

Create real experiences with your partner, family or friends. Embrace spending time with them and being inspired by them. Share your stories with them in person.

Has checking your phone become your latest obsession? We all say we can give it up. Yet, few leave their phone at home when going out for the evening. Try leaving it in a different room for an hour as a start.

Yesterday, the BBC published an article on Prof Paul Gringras’ request for a “bedtime mode” in electronic devices. Unlike a book which may help you to calm down and relax, the bright screens of our phones or tablets stimulate our brains, making it more difficult to fall asleep. He predicts it may take an extra hour for us to enter dreamland. Disrupted or poor quality of sleep can leave you exhausted for the next day and lead to serious health issues if experienced over a longer period.

Have you tried to disconnect recently? What was your reason and how was your experience during and after you unplugged? Share it with us by leaving a comment.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Until next time,

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