Restival: A Digital Detox in Arizona

Restival: A Digital Detox in Arizona

Our friend and colleague Eva Ramirez took a week off last September to travel to Arizona and spend a week at Restival, a retreat-meets-festival that fuses wellbeing and Navajo traditions for the ultimate off-the-grid getaway. You can read her full account of the trip in Psychologies Magazine‘s July issue, but for now here’s a snippet of her experience.

Travelling from London to Arizona to get some peace and quiet and disconnect from the constant hum of technology may seem a bit extreme (why didn’t I just consider the Cotswolds?) but when I heard about Restival, I realised that it was far more than just a digital detox. What it lacks in wifi, it makes up for in real, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. What’s more, since you’re not busy Instagramming the whole thing, you can actually be present in every moment.

Set in nature, Restival’s home last September was the breathtaking painted desert of Arizona. We slept in traditional yurts and tepees, enjoyed hot outdoor showers, practiced yoga in the sunshine every morning and huddled around a campfire to learn about Navajo culture beneath a blanket of stars each night. There was a daily schedule of events which we could dip in and out of as we wished – from creative pursuits such as painting, jewellery making and writing to life-coaching workshops such as ‘The Art of Loving’ and physical activities including dance and yoga. With a strong focus on wellness, guests could also take part in meditation, sound healing, sweat lodges and massage workshops, as well as spa treatments, flotation tanks, reiki and one-on-one coaching. Hand-picked specialist practitioners from the worlds of yoga, meditation and more were all on hand to teach and share their wisdom.

Restival: A Digital Detox in Arizona

Mealtimes were spent laughing and sharing stories under a big gazebo. The food was divine – locally sourced, seasonal, fresh ingredients were prepared with love and creativity. There was also an elixir bar which nourished us from morning straight through to evening with bulletproof coffee, matcha and turmeric lattes, superfood smoothies and homemade kombucha. A typical day of eating would include a breakfast of baked cinnamon pears with probiotic yoghurt, quinoa and butternut squash salad for lunch and fish tacos with guacamole, spicy beans and salsa for dinner, followed by avocado chocolate mousse and a glass of biodynamic wine – delicious!

Being fully without emails, internet, social media or even text messages for a week felt daunting before arriving at Restival, but once there I realised how much joy there is in just being, without the constant buzzing of notifications. We are all so hyper-connected and while it is a wonderful thing to be able to communicate with ease through so many different channels, the actual human connection is often lost, both with others and ourselves.

Since being back from Restival I’ve found it easier to switch off and set time aside for myself. Of course, it’s difficult when my to-do list seems endless and it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day, but something as simple as eating lunch without distractions, stepping away from my laptop to go for a 10 minute walk, or keeping my phone in a bag as opposed to holding it in my hand are little steps in a positive direction. My new habits have filtered into social situations too – I realised that glancing over at my phone during dinner or checking emails mid-conversation wasn’t showing others the attention they fully deserve either.

So while it’s easy to neglect these little acts of self-love when you’re stressed out and pressed for time, in the long-run, I’ve found they’re the things that help keep my head and heart balanced, meaning better productivity and more fulfilment from everything I do.

You can read more about my Restival experience in the current issue of Psychologies magazine and on their website. This September’s retreats will take place from the 14th-18th and 21st-25th. For a 5% discount, use the code ‘EVA’ when booking.