Friday, July 1, 2022

It’s Not Me, It’s You: How To Break Up With Your Phone These Holidays

It’s a perfect summer’s day, you’re stretched out on the beach (in a sun safe way) and you’re…. 20 minutes into an Instagram scroll, staring at everyone else’s summer holidays.

NO! Not this year!

There has not been such a globally overwhelming year in modern history and you need a break! A break from work, a break from computers, and a break from your phone, as well. The summer holidays are the most perfect time to break-up with your phone because, if you’re lucky, it is the time of year where you have the least responsibility.

A couple of years ago, I took off all social media apps off my phone and it was like a beautiful nap for my brain. I felt present, I felt calm, I felt totally disconnected from the world.

This is a great year to be disconnected from the world, in my opinion, and there is nothing on your phone that is going to improve your quality of life over the summer holidays (minus your great Spotify summer playlist).

So now might be a perfectly great time to say goodbye for now to your phone, which will, in turn, help you set up better boundaries for next year.

No More Emails
1. Put an out-of-office on your emails and then take your emails off your phone. Do not get all indignant that ‘you couldn’t possibly.’ Are you a brain surgeon? No? Is your inbox a matter of literal life and death? No? Then do it. And don’t make it a wishy washy out-of-office, either. One of my favourite examples was one that said “I will be away from such date to such date and all emails will be deleted upon return, so please email after such date.” Bold. I respect it. I will also present to you my dad’s former out of office that just said:

“i am out of the office”

No punctuation, no capitals, no return date, no rules. Never change, Dad!

Delete Instagram
I promise you, all you are missing is the seeing the same three holiday photos in your feed: I swum here/I drunk this/the kids did this. Cute! Also, totally non-urgent and will all still be there when you log in at the end of January.

Delete AND Log out of Facebook.
Nothing good exists on Facebook any more.

Your summer reading list should not include Twitter

Delete Twitter.
Twitter was Donald Trump’s favourite way to communicate – doesn’t that say enough?

Limit your chat-app time.
Whatsapp/Messenger/Texts are very important ways to keep in contact with your loved ones, particularly overseas ones, but chatting can take a lot of time and it’s never as intimate a chat experience as actually talking to someone, via a phone or Skype. So set up regular chat times instead of having one million messaging-while-doing-other-things conversations, a set up that benefits no-one.

Turn off all notifications.
And honestly? Never turn them back on again. Anything truly urgent will come to you in a phone call, not a notification.

Think about why you use your phone so much.
Every time you mindlessly pick up your phone, ask yourself what are you looking for? Connection? Validation? Entertainment? Are you just bored, and looking for something to fill your time?

Embrace Airplane mode.
That way, you can still use your phone as a camera and as a time-keeping device, you just won’t be connected. It is also extremely interesting/disturbing to see how often you reach for your phone, when it can’t bring you new information.

See you in February, phone!

Turn it off.
Yes, the next level! Try having your phone on for one hour a day – say, 5pm to 6pm – and see how many of your phone habits seem a bit pointless when they become something you mindfully do, as opposed to doing out of habit.

Leave home without it.
LIVE LIKE IT IS THE 1990s!!!! Try leaving your phone behind on a small trip to the dairy or the beach, see how it feels. Have you ever left your phone at home by accident and realised how bereft/panicked/out of sorts you feel? Same here! Is this a light version of what addicts go through? YOU BET. Can we break these habits? We absolutely can. The best way to feel present, to feel relaxed and to feel connected to the people around you is to turn off the device that is literally designed to keep you addicted to it. Take back the power!

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