I’ve been reflecting on my relationship with my phone a lot. I know there are countless articles, videos and books about the detrimental effects of smartphones and social media on our brains, and you don’t need more of that from me. However, I’ve been wanting to improve my relationship with my phone for a while now, and I want to reflect on the tiny steps I’m taking towards that.
Most of these changes became important to me once I realized how easy it is for work to spill over into after-hours. I was planning a shoot for about 2 weeks, and WhatsApp and Instagram started to become associated with work and not just personal communication. It was during this time that I realized how important it is to withdraw, be present and allow myself to have quality time for myself.
I’m going to tell you what I desired to change and what little step I took to work towards it.
Desire #1: Be More Present during Personal Meetings/Conversations
Since I’ve started meeting with people and dating again, I’ve found myself noticing how normal it is to check our phones. I’ve always hated it! I’ve historically made an effort to put my phone out of reach during social plans, because I know how annoyed I get when the other person reaches for their phone without excusing themself. Like, hello?? I’m right here. However, I know I’ve done the same. I have also caught myself wanting to have my phone within reach “just in case things get awkward.”
Change #1: accept the normalcy of conversational flow
Having mild social anxiety, it’s been easy to use my phone as a crutch. “If I can’t find anything to say, I can just take out my phone,” I’d tell myself. But the other day, I deliberately put my phone down before joining a coworker/acquaintance on the balcony, and challenged myself to trust that even if there were quiet moments, I would be okay. That’s life. That’s human conversation. I can survive a 5-second break in conversation. And I lived to tell the tale.
Desire #2: Work only during working hours
I would often find myself getting annoyed with late-night messages about work. However, I thought that telling myself I’d respond only the next day didn’t do much to alleviate my stress. I’d still go to bed thinking about it. So, particularly during the stressful days, I made a change.
Change #2: Turning off my connections an hour before bed
Since the concept of group chats were invented, I’ve turned off my data/WiFi before bed. I struggle to fall asleep, and I figured if it’s important, the person would call me. However, I started pushing that time earlier. Instead of getting into bed, scrolling, then turning off my connections, I turn them off around 8/9pm so I can do my own thing and wind down properly before bed. It’s been really strange, but refreshing to not to worry about receiving a potentially negative message right before bed.
Desire #3: Have proper alone-time
I thrive at 4.30am. It’s strange, but even if I sleep pretty late, I’m super productive from 4.30 until about 7am. So I decided to lean into that this week, and kept my phone off until after going back to bed and “officially” waking up. It’s felt great to have that alone time. It was super tempting to turn the connections on and see what earth-shattering thing could have happened in the last 6 hours, but man, that time and space to think, be creative, be productive with no distractions and no expectation to be available? Glorious.
Change #3: Leave/Charge my phone in another room for specific activities
It’s subtle, but just that little hurdle forces me to reflect on how important it is for me to keep this time to myself, keep that time sacred. Whether it’s for meditation, working or even watching a movie, it feels really good to be alone and just enjoy that time without the pressure of being accessible to others.
These are tiny steps I’m taking while I evaluate how I want to radically change my relationship to my phone. I am still finding myself “too addicted to my phone,” but I know that that shame isn’t productive. Working with desires/intentions is a much more positive way of moving towards where I want to be.
If you’re also wanting to start this journey, the book “How to Break Up With Your Phone” by Catherine Price is a pretty good read.
Share your thoughts in the comments! ♥️ Be kind to yourself this week 🌸