If you had to guess, how many times a day do you look at your phone? How many apps do you have open and running at this moment?
My guess is that the answer to both questions will be: a lot.
With the entire world literally at our fingertips it’s almost impossible to resist the pull of technology – the thing that keeps us connected not only to the people we know and love but also to people we’ve never met but know intimate details of their lives.
And I’m just as bad as the next gal.
Instagram is my obsession and I can’t get enough of the beautiful visuals and revealing portraits of people revealed in their insta-stories. It’s the first app I open in the morning and the last one I browse at night.
Twitter has become my number one news source. It’s where I find out who lives and who has died, what’s hot and what’s not, what terrible new tragedy the world is suffering through and the true depths of crazy that exist in the human race.
Pinterest has replaced my childhood pastime of cutting favourite pictures and portraits out of magazines. Why waste time buying the magazine, reading it all and then cutting it out only to store it in a box when I can do it all with the flick of a finger and have the image in my pocket and ready to access at any time?
Facebook is….a love and hate relationship. At the risk of sounding very old, it’s not the same as it was when it first started and the constant trickle of ads and ‘so and so liked this picture’ (of complete and total strangers) it’s actually a bit impossible to use it for its original purpose – to keep up with what’s going on in your friends lives.
In short, I’m on my phone a lot.
But more and more I’m becoming a fan of the digital detox. It could be for an hour, a day, a weekend – as long as you put your phone down and engage with the world and people around you it counts.
As I’m back in Canada for a family visit at the moment I thought this would be a great time to challenge myself to really shut off and recharge. Other than quick check-ins to let you all know when new posts are up my phone has been at the bottom of my bag and completely out of my mind.
I’m looking forward to living in the moment and really being present while I spend time with the people I don’t get to see nearly as regularly as I’d like. I’m sure my brain, neck and hands will also benefit from the absence of a handheld screen!
Want to join me in a digital detox? Here’s some suggestions on how to incorporate it into your life.
- Whenever you meet up with friends leave your phone in your bag or pocket. No mindless scrolling or ‘So sorry I just have to answer this’. Give the people you’re with your full attention. They deserve it!
- This should be a given but I’ve had too many bad experiences not to know it needs to be said. DO NOT use your phone in any way when at the movies. Put it away and respect your fellow viewers!
- When you leave the office on Friday put your phone away and vow to touch it as little as humanly possible before Monday. The emails can wait. Life can’t!
- Consider leaving your phone at home when you leave the house for the day. Yes, you may get a bit lost without CityMapper at your side but some of the best adventures come from wandering down the wrong streets!
- Take a vacation…and leave the phone at home! Enjoy the feeling of being completely disconnected and free of stress.
Ultimately, it will all come down to your lifestyle and commitments. You don’t have to go completely off the grid but it’s worth taking a step back now and again (especially at the movies. Please can we all be adults and act accordingly here?!).
Your mind (and loved ones) will thank you!