Can you even imagine going through life without your smartphone? Need to set the timer for the pie baking in the oven. Do it on your phone. You don’t know how to get from one place to another? Check maps on your phone. Set the alarm. Your phone. Read the news. Your phone. Check the time. THE PHONE. But have ever considered that maybe you should take a break from your phone?
It’s obviously very comfortable. I don’t even have a clock at home because I simply don’t need it. As I don’t need the small egg-shaped timer that my grandma has. Smartphones are so useful to have. You have everything in one place. If you’re not a gadget hoarder you can reach the ultimate minimalism merely by getting a good smartphone.
Even though it’s super useful to have a smartphone. Can it negatively affect the way we live our lives?
How much time do we spend on our phones?
I dare you to check how you get the screen time app if you don’t have one and find out how much time you spend on your phone. I was always reluctant to get one because I knew I’ll be horrified. And I was. Apparently, I’d easily spend a couple of hours on Instagram even on the days I’m occupied with other stuff. That scroll on Facebook that helps me wake up in the morning? That’s 30 minutes out of my life which were totally wasted – ’cause let’s be honest, there’s rarely anything good on Facebook. Nowadays, it’s just people arguing about vaccines.
A lot of us do waste a lot of time on social media, but I don’t think that’s the worst part. You possibly can’t (unless you’re Bill Gates or some other productivity wizard) count every minute of your life. And if you enjoy binging Love is Blind or catching up with celebrity tea on Instagram from time to time, it’s not so bad. Apart from wasting time, there are a bunch of other reasons why it’s healthy to take a break from your phone.
1. Social media can be damaging to one’s well-being
A lot of people could probably agree with this. I feel like my anxiety is worse during days when I spend more time on my phone and so are other aspects of my life.
Some days I spend quite a lot of time on TikTok. And if you don’t know, TikTok’s algorithm is freaking brilliant. It knows exactly how long you watch a certain video and how you interact and it could write a card on every video watch saying “Special For You”. Because it is special for you.
Even though I mostly engage with positive content, I can’t scroll by people telling their hurtful life stories. Hence, I get more and more of those. So one in three videos is something that makes me anxious and sad. Which later translates into anxious thoughts. You can choose what you want to watch on YouTube but apps like TikTok, you can’t always control what you’re going to see as videos are so short and you’re stuck in the infinite scroll that’s in the app’s design.
The same goes for some other social media. Opening the app you don’t know what content you’ll be exposed to. And since most of the apps are designed in a way that they are addictive to stay on, you are likely to keep scrolling on the app unconsciously looking for a dopamine boost.
2. A break from your phone can kick off your spiritual or self-development journey
I was on social media detox for some days as well as decided to spend less time on my phone in general. The first day I opened and closed Instagram app over and over just to see that I have logged out of my account. First of all, it made me realize how much of a habit I have to open Instagram every time I pick up my phone to answer a text or distract myself from something unpleasant.
Some days in, I already felt that my mind is clearing up (not that all the credit goes to getting rid of some apps, but it definitely helps). I feel like I’m ready for something positive. I’m ready to do more yoga, meditate, and put some work into training my mind to think positive things instead of being stuck in a negativity loop.
3. Re-learn to be bored by taking break from your phone
Are we ever bored these days? What do you do when you’re bored at work or stuck in an online lecture that makes you want to roll in a blanket and take a nap? Pick up your phone. People are on their phones when they’re on a date with their significant one, when they’re out with friends for brunch when they’re having dinner with their families. And that’s the sad reality of today. The second the conversation fades out we pick up our phones and start scrolling.
It must feel so good to re-learn to be bored. There were times when we could have a conversation or just observe the environment while we were waiting for food as there were times we’d pick up a book more often while waiting for a bus.
Magical things can happen when you’re bored. Give your chance your mind to wander and come up with beautiful ways to be occupied.
4. It can give you a chance to develop new habits
I have a habit to wake up and stay on my phone until I feel like I’m ready to start my day. And even though I think it helps to not get back to sleep (especially in winter, it’s just too cozy to stay in bed), it also takes an hour out of my morning and doesn’t set me in the right mood for the day. If you’re a morning (or night) scroller, here’s a list of habits you could develop instead of spending time on your phone in bed:
- Read a book
Have a book on your bed table and pick it up when you wake up or before you go to sleep. Unlike a phone that just keeps crowding your brain with unnecessary information and transmitting light that confuses your brain, reading a book can really help you fall asleep faster. Or start your day on a positive note. If you read in the morning, you’ll feel like you’ve already accomplished something by the time you have your morning coffee.
- Do yoga or exercise
There are so many videos on YouTube for morning/evening yoga. They can help you stretch or relax after a long day. I’ve personally been really enjoy morning yoga. It always lifts my mood.
- Start your day right away after you wake up
Instead of snoozing 13 times (something I’m guilty of some mornings), you can try to get up with the first alarm and turn on your coffee boiler.
There are so many things you can write down first thing in the morning or just before going to bed. You can write a few things you’ve enjoyed during the day, write down your intentions for the day, things you need to do, etc. That’s just another thing that could make you feel productive even before the day starts or help you unwind before sleeping.
I’ve watched some inspiring personalities who have decided to give up their smartphones for good. They decided to get a simple phone (something my grandma still uses) and found their way around on how to create content and get to the correct address without using a smartphone.
It’s something that requires a lot of commitment and preparation. Not a lot of people would even consider giving up something their work, relationships, and hobbies highly depend on. While getting a brick phone and selling your newest iPhone may not be an option, one can always limit their phone use. Get rid of all your social media apps for some period of time every month or week, limit your screen time to a few hours a day, or have device-free evening with your partner or family. There are limitless possibilities on how you can take (even a short) break from your phone and discover the benefits the break can provide.
Read my previous post on how to make a vision board.
Happy New Year!