Phone detoxes: how to do them, and why I think they’re vital to your health and happiness.
You know those times when you’re supposed to be doing/achieving/working on something, but you remember that you just quickly need to check one last thing on your phone, respond to one more email, or send a quick text? Then, before you know it, you’re lost in the Instagram (or insert addictive app of choice here) vortex… 45 minutes have gone by, and you’re no closer to getting said task done?
Yeah me too. I’m sure I’d be quite shocked to know the total amount of hours I’ve procrastinated with my phone! #dontwannaknow
So why do I think a phone detox is so important for us to get back to equilibrium? (Besides the fact it leaves your hands free to cuddle with cute puppies…)
Hint: if the thought of a phone detox makes you feel a little anxious, or ‘pfffft, I don’t need that!’.. then it’s probably time you try one ;)
Phones Take Us Out Of The Present Moment
Do you ever look back on an event via photos on your phone and realize that you don’t truly remember how it felt, like you didn’t fully experience it, because you weren’t present?
As a food writer, this has happened to me many times when it comes to meals. I can get so caught-up in the process of trying to take a beautiful shot that I forget to be present with the tastes and textures of my food, leaving me feeling unsatisfied and snacky later.
Disconnect To Reconnect
When we use our phones in the company of others, not only are we not in the present moment and appreciating the real connections and love in front of us, we’re also sending a clear message to those people that they are less important than something or someone else on our screen.
Reverse the situation and put yourself in their shoes to notice how it feels. I had a friend who’d pick-up her phone and start checking her notifications whilst we were mid-conversation… needless to say it didn’t feel very good.
The Stats Don’t Lie
After researching a variety of mobile usage studies and data (I found these ones by Deloitte particularly interesting), it seems that at least 35% of mobile phone users check their phone within 5 minutes of waking and 70% use their phones during mealtimes with family and friends (and this stat is from 2017, I have a feeling it’ll have increased by now). Another stat said that on average, Americans check their smartphones around 52 times each day, with the number increasing every year.
52 pickups a day my friends…. and if your work is online, anything to do with social media, websites, emails, design, (etc, etc, I could keep going!), then I think it’s a safe bet that your number of pickups could be even higher. Talk about distraction-town!
(Not judging here…. I’m a small business owner and much of my work is conducted through devices, predominately my phone)
Feel More HAPPY
Who doesn’t want to laugh and smile more? (Laughter releases feel-good-hormones!)
There have been countless studies conducted that show the rates of depression, dissatisfaction with life, and anxiety are directly associated with one’s amount of phone usage, in particular social media.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Us modern day humans have more on our plates than ever before (did you know there’s really no such thing as multi-tasking?). Our nervous systems were never meant to deal with so much stimulation and distraction from devices. Phones are constantly grabbing our attention, leaving us with that ‘wired but tired’ feeling, making it very difficult to truly switch off and rest.
I could get into the concepts of blue light affecting cortisol, melatonin and serotonin levels (hormones that help us stress less, feel good and sleep well), or blue light associated with eye strain and headaches, or EMF’s from electronics, or negative and positive ions produced from phone use vs. nature time. But I think I’ve said enough here. There is something so liberating about not being attached to your phone and it is simply refreshing to look UP and around at the world, without a screen being in the way from time-to-time.
Click on the photo above to save this post to your Pinterest board!
Now if you’ve Like my page on Facebook or follow me on Instagram for any length of time, then you’ll know that I tend to do a phone detox every quarter or so. I’ve talked about it on my social accounts before, and I always get asked how I do them, and my method is quite simple. I personally choose to do them quarterly because it’s what feels right for me, but you can do them as often as feels right for you. I schedule it into my diary so it can’t be missed.
HOW TO DO A PHONE DETOX
1. Choose Your Timeframe: Decide how long you will take a break from your phone. I recommend a minimum of 24 hours, ideally at least 48, but I personally do 4-5 days. Don’t stress if you can’t take that much time away from your phone, something is better than nothing, and it has to work into your life.
2. Schedule It: Now that you have your time-frame decided, choose the dates that you will take your phone detox. Thanks to Aussie’s loving their long-weekends, I’ll often schedule mine during a 3-day holiday weekend. I find these work well because not only are less people working, therefore I won’t have as many emails to catch up on when I come back ‘online’, but it forces me to take a real holiday as well! Obviously holidays are all about re-filling your cup and I honestly feel so much more rested when my phone is off at these times too.
(You can decide whether you will still use a computer or not. Sometimes I do if I have writing, client calls (via Skype) or photo editing to do, but I don’t check social media and I set specific boundaries about how and what I will use it for)
3. Turn Your Phone Off (you can do it!): That’s it. Turn it off. Leave it off. Let it get dusty. Relish in the sound of the breeze, the sun or clouds in the sky, and time to be quiet and go within. If you need to let your loved ones know that you’re taking a break, by all means give them a heads-up so they don’t worry about you, but from there it’s all about letting go.
When we take time to be still it leaves room for us to work through stuff that we might be putting off. I’m often left with a feeling of lightness (not to mention deeper sleep!) after my phone detoxes – so good!
4. Nip Those Nasty Habits
During this break from your phone notice any addictive or unhealthy habits you might’ve picked up that stop you from living your healthiest and happiest life. Pay attention to the times you want to reach for your phone.
Are you lonely?
Avoiding talking to others?
Are you bored and craving some stimulation?
Are you wanting to use it at night when you know you’d be better off doing something that will help you switch off and get a good sleep?
Think about how you feel when you use your phone. After watching Youtube, reading certain websites, scrolling social media, etc, do you feel uplifted? Or do some of these actions invoke feelings of comparison, anxiety, lack and exhaustion?
Once you pin down what’s doing what, and how it makes you feel, then you can take action steps to setup healthier habits when you come back to using your phone.
For example: I’ve noticed I sleep so much more soundly when I don’t use my phone at least an hour before I go to sleep – even with my blue-blocking glasses on and screen dimmed. So every night I have a gentle alert set to remind me that it’s time to wrap it up if I’m still using my phone. It helps immensely.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not demonizing phones, I’m so grateful for my phone and all that it provides. I get to connect with you, my wonderful SoleFire community through my phone, not to mention we all have the luxury of the internet at our fingertips through our devices, and boy would life as an expat be much harder without the ease of a smartphone to contact my family and friends overseas. I love using social media to connect and inspire, and I know that’s why many of you use it too. Phones are great for all these things and more.
The purpose of a phone detox is not to say they’re bad, but for you to re-calibrate. To get in touch with yourself and notice any unhealthy or overuse habits you might’ve picked up in the last quarter/time period. A chance to breathe and have white space and allow creativity and more fun to come in.
So when are you scheduling in your next phone detox my friend? Tell me in the comments below and we can help keep each other accountable!
Thanks so much for being here and for your comments, I love supporting you and watching your grow.
Here’s to feeling refreshed and present,
P.s. Please share this with someone you care about. I bet you know someone who would appreciate feeling lighter and refreshed after a phone detox and maybe you can even do yours at the same time and share your insights with each other.
If you’re not already a SoleFire Community Member, consider signing-up for our FREE SoleFire Membership to get this type of inspiration emailed straight to your inbox, plus other goodies that I only share with members. It’s free, so what are you waiting for?