NOT a Digital Detox — the first digital wellbeing weekend retreat

A chance to reflect on our online lives and our place in nature

We all know that nature makes you feel good, but it’s only in the last fifty years that researchers have shown exactly what happens in our bodies when we encounter the natural world. Heart rate slows, blood pressure goes down, stress melts away and the brain is more able to concentrate.

Today’s connected world, however, often seems to create the opposite effect with its access to super speeds, vast stores of information, millions of other people, and endless stimulation, all of which have led some to ask whether the internet is taking away our vital connection with the natural world.

That’s why I’m delighted to have been invited to design and run a weekend retreat called “NOT a Digital Detox: How to feel better without logging off”.

Based on my book “Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age”, the retreat is a great opportunity to reflect on our online lives and our place in nature at the wonderful Othona Community on the beautiful Dorset coast near West Bay, Dorset, England over the weekend of Fri 11 May — Sun 13 May 2018.

It’s the perfect place to connect with nature whilst also exploring your digital life. I attended a retreat there a couple of years ago and really enjoyed my stay. It’s friendly, secluded, and just a short walk from the sea. Its long tradition as a contemplative space makes it the perfect place to gather and think together about how to live with the digital today.

The retreat is in some ways a departure for Othona, which came to Dorset fifty years ago as a place of community and spirituality where communications were human rather than digital, but it has always been open to experimentation. Tony Jaques, the current warden, says

“Our founders wrestled with the implications of technology in their day at the dawn of the nuclear age; today we’re on a different threshold, excited to relate the digital age to timeless human values.”

You won’t need to leave your mobile phone at home to attend this first-ever digital wellbeing retreat. We’ll be working outdoors and indoors, with and without tech. Bring your phone, or leave it behind. It doesn’t matter. This is definitely not a digital detox.

It’s a chance to reflect upon our online lives and be mindful of the ways we connect to the natural world on and offline. We’ll share our own experiences and try out new kinds of practices suited to this digital age. What we need, I believe, is more nature, not less technology.

A winter evening at Othona

“NOT a Digital Detox: How to feel better without logging off” A chance to reflect on our online lives and our place in nature at the Othona Community, Burton Bradstock, Dorset, UK.

Fri 11 May — Sun 13 May 2018. £140 for two nights full board. Bursaries available. Find out more at