What’s your idea of the perfect romantic weekend away? Is it spent at a beautiful and intimate bed and breakfast, with a candlelight dinner, your sweetheart and….a smartphone?
A UK study found many partners feel their spouse’s smartphone has become the third wheel in their relationship. 25 percent of the women surveyed said their partner actively texted another person while having a face-to-face conversation (ouch!).
Mel Kettle, a Brisbane-based Communications Consultant who specialises in social media explains, “It’s a combination of social media contributing to people having shorter attention spans, and an increasing fear of missing out (FOMO) on something that “might” be happening that leads to constant checking of phones.” She says switching off occasionally and spending time with your partner or friends doing non-technology related activities is crucial for healthy relationships.
Professor Paul Dolan from the London School of Economics says the secret to happiness is turning off the phone and paying more attention to loved ones and friends.
With this in mind we’ve got some tips to help you switch off to the online and switch on to the offline (don’t worry – our tips below are crystal clear!).
Mini break weekend
Planning a getaway weekend in the countryside or along the seaside can work wonders on stressed couples or friends who are usually time poor and running to hectic schedules. The chirping of birds, the lulling of waves plus outdoor activities and limited Wi-Fi connectivity can allow for maximum relaxation. Plus nature has a calming and rejuvenating effect on the mind and body.
TIP! Choose a getaway that does not offer internet and Wi-Fi to prevent constant checking of Facebook and emails. Instead participate in outdoor activities or catch up on some reading.
Airplane mode on land
If you’re not heading elsewhere then staying home and going incommunicado to technology might be the way to go. Consider this – switch off your electronic devices or at the very least switch them to silent or airplane mode and make a pact to only check them periodically throughout the day (say once every 3 hours at max). Don’t let connectivity to the online world leave you disconnected to the offline world!
TIP! If the thought of not having access to a mobile for the whole day causes anxiety, do it for half day or a few hours at least. Leave your phone in the car or room with a voicemail message explaining you’ll be unreachable for those hours.
Laughter, and lots of it brings people together. Check out that new dance or cooking class, and take your partner or friends along to have fun – after all … the more the merrier! Don’t worry about looking or feeling silly, the idea is to have a good time and do something as a couple or as a group.
TIP! Try to resist the urge to take photos (or at least limit photos to a specific time). Better yet, if it’s a large group of you place all your phones on the table for example so no one gets tempted to sneak off and start playing paparazzi.
Don’t kill romance, taking time away from technology to focus on your partner or friends and spreading the love has long term benefits related to your happiness so why not switch off the devices and switch on the love?
Do you find it difficult to switch off when spending time with your partner or friends – what’s your tip to switching off? Share your tips in the comments!
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