If we’re halfway across the world from our loved ones, we can jump on Facetime or Skype and see them within seconds. If we’re lost, we can simply look up our location on a map on our phones. If a natural disaster happens, we can search for information on Twitter in real-time, rather than waiting for the broadcast news. All of these conveniences just make our lives so much easier. I am beyond grateful for these luxuries, but can I be honest? I sometimes find myself in a daydream remembering the days when we didn’t have smartphones and smartwatches and Amazon Echos.
Did you know that the average American adult spends nearly THREE HOURS on their phones a day? Doesn’t really shock me all that much, considering my phone is never more than an arm’s length away from me. I do catch myself realizing how much I’m on it, which makes me want to sometimes just shut down and unplug. Below are the ways I find that work the best for me.
Turn Off Your App Notifications
I did this a few months ago and haven’t looked back. There were days I was spending hours constantly checking my notifications because I hate seeing any type of notification on my phone (hello, anxiety). That had to stop. I turned off all of my notifications so now I only go into my apps when I really want to and I force myself to not get sucked in. There’s days where I just try not to check them at all because I need a reboot.
Leave Your Phone in Another Room
Sometimes, turning off your app notifications is just not enough! It takes willpower my friends, but try leaving your phone in another room and turn it on silent. This way, you can concentrate on the productive things you’re aiming to get done or you can just relax without the incessant need to check your phone. And hey, if you really have no self control, just turn your phone completely off!
As I alluded to in my post about finding happiness, sometimes it takes just putting the phone away when you’re with family and friends. We can get caught up in wanting to document everything or being constantly available to people that want to communicate via text, so I know this can be difficult. I honestly get nostalgic thinking back to the days where tech wasn’t really a constant. Those days where we’d spend time with friends without documenting every minute, the days where going to the library was a pastime, the days where it wasn’t odd to strike up a conversation with a stranger. So, my point here is to lift your head up, open your eyes, and try to enjoy life sans your phone.
Read a Book
Instead of losing yourself in an array of mobile apps, how about losing yourself in a really good book? I love the kind of book that can take you away from your thoughts and get you fully immersed in it. This is great to do before you fall asleep to train your body to start shutting down for the night. I find it to be way more relaxing than scrolling through my Insta feed.
This can be difficult in the brutal winter months we have in Chicago, but try to get outside as much as you can. Join a sports league, go for a walk, explore a new neighborhood. Changing up your scenery from just your couch and TV can do wonders for your mental health. If you’re able and it’s your thing, go hiking or camping! Make a trip of it with your loved one or a group of friends. This nearly forces you to step away from technology as you’re likely to end up in a more remote place with little to no phone service!
We know technology isn’t going anywhere. However, we can make a conscious effort to not be consumed by it. What are your thoughts on unplugging and recharging? Is there anything else you do? Please share in the comments!
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, career coach, speaker and founder of Lipstick & Ink®. She also works full-time in technology as a Role Strategy and Employee Engagement Manager at Salesforce and has over 12 years of digital marketing experience. Kelly has been featured in Thrive Global, Chicago Tribune, International Association of Women, General Assembly, Salesforce, and SheFactor. She’s fueled by black coffee, sunshine, a good ink pen, and a bold lip.