The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 20, 2014

Career Coach: Spending time off the grid

Are you looking forward to your vacation knowing that you will get some real rest and relaxation, or are you dreading your break since you already have work calls and meetings scheduled while you are off?

Research indicates that time away from our jobs improves our health and job performance, while never taking time off (and being constantly connected to technology) can lead to depression, stress, sleep disorders and even an early death. Some note that it is critical for us to mentally recharge each day, having periods of "psychological detachment," when we disengage from our jobs.

This is more difficult in the digital age. Thanks to our smartphones, tablets, laptops and so on, the job follows us. A recent survey by American Express showed that 79 percent of travelers expect to be digitally connected while on vacation — mainly to check their email and send text messages.

Some of us are so attached to our phones that we're convinced they're ringing or buzzing even when they're not (dubbed the "phantom-vibration syndrome" by researchers).

All of which means we need time to disconnect more than ever. We especially need holidays that free us from email. We need to be digitally detoxed — our minds cleansed of the Internet. But as cellphone services spread across the world, it's become increasingly tough to find places that are off the digital grid.

Not that people are not trying. The 24/7 lifestyle has gotten so intense, "unplugged vacations" are gaining real appeal and popularity. This is why after a decade spent selling us on the benefits of in-room WiFi, iPod charging stations, complimentary iPads and more, some resorts are promoting their lack of technology and connectivity with "digital detox packages." Instead of technology, you may find complimentary snorkel gear, windsurfing rigs, kayaks, yoga classes, and board games as ways to relax.

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