Need A Smartphone Detox? Six Steps to Help You Out
24 November 2017
Smartphones. Pretty much sums up our lives these days right? No literally…our entire life rests in our smartphones, from our memories, to our conversations, our social lives, our work, our financials…everything…our virtual worlds that encapsulate just about everything about us.
Kinda scary, right?
We all have them, rely on them for everything, are likely to experience major separation anxiety if they are not around, and well, can’t live without them (or at least that’s what we think). The ever-developing world of technology is an aspect of life that has essentially become the norm for us. For the most part this is positive I guess, but we absolutely cannot ignore the impact that our smartphones have on virtually all aspects in our lives, and most importantly, on our health.
I sometimes even feel as if it’s become my third hand lol!
Given the nature of my work, with much of it being driven through social media, I am on my phone A LOT – perhaps too much, and so I wanted to share my sentiments with you, particularly around awareness – that is, being conscious of the impact that our smartphones actually have on us. And that’s not to say that we mustn’t use them – I will be the first to tell you, that’s a very big and unrealistic dream – rather, we need to become more cognisant of our thoughts and behaviours around our smartphones, so that we can monitor this to ensure we don’t get sucked in too far down the rabbit hole.
As the old saying goes, our bodies are our temples; they are home to our souls - a reflection of our individual selves. Everything we do in our lives effects our overall wellbeing, energy and health, and becomes reflected in our presence. Something we often forget though, is that our health is not solely determined by what we eat, but also by what we read, how much we work, and what we pay attention to…of course, all brought to us by our smartphone, connecting us to the world through one seamless device.
Technology is addictive – it essentially acts as an all-consuming drug that we just cannot live without. It also acts as a distraction – transporting us away from of our own reality and emotions into a virtual world, where we can adjust or alter our reality any way we choose, by create ideal personas so as to rework people’s perceptions of us. If you think about it, we all have two versions of ourselves – one online, and one in reality. Now again, whether or not this is a bad or good thing is debatable, but my intention here is not to argue right or wrong, but rather to bring awareness into the equation.
We are all individuals, we all have our preferences, some will hate on tech, others will sing its praises – but we can all agree that its not going anywhere. Our world pretty much revolved around tech and so like it or not, its here to stay. As with anything in life, there is always two sides, and so we need to be self-aware enough to know what is good for us personally and what is not.
So lets do a little exercise….
I want you to think about your relationship with technology for a few minutes by answering these 5 Questions…
- How frequently you use it?
- How often your look at your phone?
- How often do you scroll social media?
- Why do you scroll social media? – is it out of boredom? Is it to distract you from something unpleasant?
- Would you say social media defines you?
Be honest with yourself here – do you alter your reality on social media so that people have a specific perception of you that you perceive as desired?
This kind of self-reflection may be uncomfortable, especially when you realise certain things about yourself that you would rather not acknowledge – but it’s important – for your own wellbeing.
Life is super busy, and often, rather than confront uncomfortable feelings, situations or emotions, we turn to our phones instead for temporary distraction and instant gratification. But we are at the end of the day human after all, and to feel uncomfortable feelings is normal. So, embrace them, understand them, and most importantly, spend more time understanding yourself. You will always be the best version of yourself when you are surrounded by positive energy, positive people and embrace positive thoughts;
YOU ARE NOT defined by the amount of likes you get on a photo, or how many followers you have.
Do yourself a favour and try out a TECH DETOX – These are the 6 steps I have used to help me create realistic boundaries for myself:
- Start working on being present again – as in actually enjoying a moment for what it is, rather than spending hours engrossed in the most recent trending topics on Twitter or you tube.
- Think back to when you were younger, your way of interacting, your way of communicating with your friends and family and your way of having fun. Try that out again – phone an old friend rather than messaging them; be really bold here and use your land line (if you have one lol). Better yet, call your friend and arrange a lunch date so you can actually interact with them in person. Bring old photo albums if you have, and during the lunch, don’t have your phone on the table – put it in your bag or leave it in the car – allow yourself to be completely absorbed in the moment.
- See your phone for what it is – a device for making telephone calls and replying to text messages. Anything more than that is for your own pleasure, and so you have complete control over how much of it you use, what you look at, how often you go on social media etc.. When we allow our phones to become more than just a call an messaging device, we lose ourselves in the realm of it all. We become lost in the rabbit hole, lose our individual identity, doubt ourselves, compare ourselves to others forget about what is important in life.
- When you wake up in the morning, do not resort to grabbing your phone, checking your emails, scrolling through endless feeds on social media, checking your snapchat or putting up a good morning tweet. Get a big glass of water in your system, eat a nutrient-filled breakfast, go for a walk or a run and start your day on a positive note. Your mind will feel alert, your body will feel energised, your energy will be abundant. Wake in the morning and understand your body, engage and grasp what it needs when it wakes up. It needs its fuel to help you function properly for the twelve hours ahead, not repetitive, dull information. If you start your day on the right note, the rest of the day will undoubtedly follow suit.
- Create tech boundaries for yourself. For example, no phone in the bedroom – let your bedroom be your haven, your calm and tranquil sanctuary for rest and relaxation. When you are out with friends, your loved one or family, make it a rule for yourself that your phone must be on silent and kept in your bag so that you are not tempted to check it every 5 minutes.
- Try Going Tech Free. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you do this indefinitely – baby steps. Try blocking out a time of day that you don’t use your phone at all. Perhaps after 8pm, switch off your phone so that you have time away from the world to relax and rest before bedtime. If that is working well for you, try switching off your phone for one full day on the weekend so that you can really enjoy some time out. You will be amazed at how free you feel!
So often, it is the simplest of things that can make the biggest difference
It is so vital that your smartphone does not become the only way of communicating in your relationships, whether it is with your family, friends or partner. Personal and face to face interaction is extremely rewarding and fulfilling – it keeps us up to date with loved ones, lets us understand their emotions and life events alongside our own, and it unites people by strengthening already prominent bonds. Don’t let the focus on smartphones and social media over-ride those important relationships and life events that should be shared together.
The main thing is to understand the place of your smartphone in your life. Why do you need to use it? Is it just to occupy your spare time, or does it fill a void caused by unpleasant emotions?
Learn to devote time to yourself, get to know you, your emotions and thoughts without the assistance and cue of your phone. Enjoy time with loved ones, enjoy the great outdoors and enjoy time with YOU. Do not let your phone become the sole purpose of everything – life is so much more than that, and we all know it!
I would love to hear your thoughts about smart phones and how much we use them. What have you found to be beneficial when it comes to mediating the use of your smart phone?
Yours in Health Always