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Digital Fasting: Why You Should Go Device-Free on Your Next Holiday

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Posted on 09/28/2023

Word this summer of the introduction of the world’s first phone-free tourist resort island in Finland highlighted a growing holiday trend: digital fasting. 
You read that right. Wellness travel has offered vacationers opportunities to undertake juice and other fasts on retreat trips to benefit their physical health.
Now, with growing awareness of the benefits of unplugging from our devices, we could be seeing more opportunities for digital fasting on our vacations.
“We encourage visitors to put their phones away voluntarily and to focus their senses on nature rather than on their phones. This is a great initiative that could be implemented in other nature and recreational destinations, too,” Joel Heino, Manager, Outdoor Recreation and Visitor Management at Parks & Wildlife Finland, says.
“People are not meant to be glued to screens all the time. Even a short digital fast can be useful and improve our well-being and help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression”, Terhi Mustonen, psychologist and Program Manager of the Limitless Gaming and Limitless Social Media programmes at Finland’s Sosped Foundation, says.
In addition to engaging with nature surrounding you, in the case of Finland’s phone-free Ulko-Tammio island (pictured), “Switching off your phone, exploring nature and meeting people face to face are bound to boost your mood and well-being. We spend countless hours scrolling our social media feeds, so taking a short break from them means you have more time for new experiences. I’d like to see more initiatives like this that promote digital fasting”, Sari Castrén, psychologist and Research Manager at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, says.
It might be difficult to unplug from your device on a holiday where you need your navigating app all the time, or a (genuine!) need to stay connected to the office or family via email or text or video messaging.
But, if you are able to get yourself where you’re going then turn off your phone and park it (lock it in your room safe!), experts suggest you could benefit from a digital fast on your holiday:
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Images: Phone-Free Island courtesy of Visit KotkaHamina, copyright Annika Ruohonen
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