What can art teach us about switching off?
24/7, a new exhibition at Somerset House, explores what it means to unplug in an always-on world. We went along for a sneak preview – here are our key takeaways
Ask yourself: is this task really necessary?

A key theme of the exhibition is how tech has made it possible for us to be constantly busy – thus making us want to be constantly busy. If you’re always glued to your phone, pause and consider if you really need to be doing this right now (whether ‘this’ is firing off work emails or playing Candy Crush). No? Then put. The device. Down.    

Address your social jetlag

Here’s something else we learned at 24/7: the world only got 24 time zones in 1884, thanks to politicians who wanted to align global transport routes. Over 100 years later, we’re used to hopping between time zones for work or pleasure – but our erratic sleep patterns (often influenced by tech overuse) can also cause ‘social jetlag’. Find an easy way to regulate negative sleep patterns here

Get out into nature

If you’re anything like us, you’ll leave this exhibition feeling desperate to reconnect with the natural world. One room, filled with the sound of an AI-generated dawn chorus, reminds us how constant city noise affects birds; elsewhere, guests are asked when they last saw the moon. This winter, disconnect from technology and go somewhere with wildlife and clear night skies – or, at the very least, take a leafy city walk

Resurrect the lost art of letter writing

In 2018, artist Nastja Säde Rönkkö spent six months offline – and the letters people wrote her instead of emailing now appear in 24/7. In an accompanying film, Rönkkö reads a note from a friend who says they find writing on paper “more intense” than typing, because it’s harder to constantly edit themselves. Want to get back into putting pen to paper? We like this floral letter writing set (£5, Paperchase)

Recognise it’s not your fault if you struggle to switch off

Try to disconnect, but don’t beat yourself up if you find it hard. 24/7 is a reassuring reminder that powerful forces conspire to keep us ‘always on’: one painting of a factory night shift dates from the 1790s, while another installation explores the idea of ‘random reward’ (a psychological concept used by tech companies to keep us hooked). Struggling to switch off but want to try? Read this

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Win 2 VIP tickets to RA Lates

What’s better than a night at RA Lates exploring their latest groundbreaking installation? Doing it for free and in VIP style, of course. That’s why we’re offering you the chance to win two tickets to do just that on 23 November. You’ll peruse the new Deep Earth exhibition and experience nature reinterpreted through earthly interventions, live music and performances, installations and soundscapes across the Royal Academy of Arts’ two-acre campus. Better still, you’ll do it with complimentary champagne, a goody bag and a private view of Anthony Gormley’s exhibition before it opens for everyone else. Count us in.

Competition ends at midnight on 5 November, terms and conditions apply, check website for details.

Enter now
Next up in our series of suggestions for dealing with the season of sniffs and sneezes: editor Kat on the slippers that will make you forget you were under the weather in the first place

It’s the season of mists and… colds that you can’t do anything about. And when dosing up, sleeping it off, and barely-disguised self-pity doesn’t help, I turn to comfort dressing instead. Because if you can’t beat it, wrap it up in something soft and snuggly, right?

These sheepskin moccasins from ethical indie store The Small Home are beyond lovely – soft on the inside (so fluffy, in fact, it’s advisable to go up a size), pretty on the outside and tough on the bottom; ideal for plodding around the house. They might not cure a cold, exactly, but they will keep your toes mighty toasty. £49, The Small Home

No need to check the diary: this clever wellness app lets you book yoga and meditation classes whenever you fancy it 

Hands up if you’re yet to make good on your 2014 resolution to “do more yoga”? Us too. If you struggle to fit self-care into your schedule, try London-based app Yogi2Me, which delivers yoga and meditation teachers directly to your door. There are 12 wellness services available, from vinyasa yoga and Thai massage to sound healing therapy. Better yet, the app donates £2 from every service booked to Sculpt the Future Foundation to support the planet’s wellbeing. 

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