Research has shown that our increasing dependency on social media means that many people are not getting the rest that they need – especially when they go on holiday. In fact, free from workplace constraints, some people spend even more time on the web. There is no better time than a summer break to cut down our use of Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Email and the Internet.

Taking time out to rest from the busyness of life is a Biblical principle and was established by God at the beginning of time in Genesis chapter one (the first book of the Bible) when, after creating ‘the heavens and the earth’, God rested on the seventh day – this is where the term ‘Sabbath’ comes from.

Jesus, too, recognised the importance of rest and recovery from the daily grind and in the Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament) he was often to be found jumping into a boat and crossing over to the other side of Lake Galilee to ‘escape’ from the crowds. At other times, he would go up to a mountainside to reflect and pray. This reminds us that Jesus, as well as being the Son of God, was also human and, just like us, struggled with tiredness and needed to take time out to recover.

Unfortunately, because of increased working commitments, Sunday trading and Sunday sport, many people do not have the opportunity for a day of rest from their busy routine and suffer the consequences of this, such as an increase in stress related illnesses and a breakdown in family relationships – which is why a refreshing summer break is so important. So, this summer, why not take time to switch off!

Switching off is good for your body
We all spend far too long hunched up staring down at screens. Let’s take the time to look up and gaze at real people. Don’t forget that holidays are supposed to be where we rest and relax, and we can’t switch off if we are permanently switched on.

Switching off is good for your mind
Psychologists suggest that the overload of information we get from using the Internet is changing the way the brain works. Memory skills are in decline and we no longer reason in a linear fashion, using sustained arguments, but, instead, think only in disconnected fragments. Many frequent users of the Internet confess to struggling to read through a chapter of a book. Switch off on holiday and, in digital silence, let your mind be at peace.

Switching off is good for your relationships
Holidays are an essential time to connect with those around us, whether a spouse, family or friends. There are many couples, and families, living busy lives who go away on holiday needing to have issues discussed, bonds built or even wounds healed. Yet, sadly, this may not occur because they are too busy staring at their smartphones. To put social media before talking to your partner or family is to make a tragic statement about what matters most in your life.

Switching off is good for your spirit
Some people have such an intense relationship with their smart phone that it can only be described as an idolatry – some would call it an addiction. We were created to relate to each other, and to God, and it’s all too easy for the digital world to get in the way of both relationships.

If you really want to make the most of your summer holidays this year, digitally switch off whilst you’re away and re-connect with your spouse, your family and friends and with God.

This is a copy of my article for the August 2018 edition of the Billericay ‘Around Town Magazine’