I’m going to start off by pointing out how I realise how ironic it is that you’ll be reading this on a screen. Possibly your phone. Heck, I’m even writing this on my phone. Let’s just put that fact to one side for now though.
I’ve found myself getting super stressed out lately by my phone. I’ve found myself in a way better headspace when I’ve turned my phone off and focussing on where I am and who I’m with. I’m gonna try to convince you to put your phone/tablet/laptop down (but only once you’re done reading this post, yeah?)
Here’s a familiar scenario: it’s late at night. You’re tired but figure you’ll just scroll through Instagram in bed before you settle down to sleep. Then Snapchat. Then Twitter. Then Instagram again. Then a few YouTube videos. Before you know it it’s 3am and you’re watching those reeeeeally weird videos that make you say “that’s enough internet for today”. You put your phone away ready for sleep but just lay awake.
The truth is, the light on your screen is kinda tricking your brain into thinking it’s daytime, and it needs to be wired for keeping awake, ready to do daytime stuff – no matter how tired you actually feel.
My challenge to you: put your phone down, turn it off (or put it on airplane mode if you use it for your alarm like I do) and don’t look at it for an hour before you go to bed. Instead, use that hour to maybe read a book, write in a journal, reflect on your day, or do some yoga. You’ll find that your brain and body start to wind down, cuz you’re telling them it’s time to switch off and rest.
Or how about this one. How many times have you looked at someone else’s social media and said to yourself “I wish I was as pretty as her” “I wish I was as cool as him” or “I wish I had as fun & cool a life as they have”?
The problem with that, is you’re comparing your whole life to a snapshot of someone else’s. If it was a movie, you’re comparing your behind the scenes, extended directors cut to their highlights reel. It ain’t the same thing, and the highlights are always gonna seem better & more exciting than all the deleted scenes.
My challenge to you: Stop comparing your life to other people’s & putting yourself down. Instead, write out a list of all the things that are great about your life or that you like about yourself. Ask other people what they like or admire about you too, and get that on the list too. It’s not big headed, it’s giving yourself credit.
If you want to go the extra mile, write a list of goals, hopes & dreams that you want to achieve and think about how you can make them happen. Instead of wishing you had a life like someone else’s, make plans and work hard to have the life YOU want.
Ok, one more challenge. I don’t particularly have a clever, well worded set up for this one. But that’s ok, by now you’re probably shouting “hurry up and finish, Si! I’m ready to put my phone down already”. Thanks.
My challenge to you: Live more in the moment. Take a second, right now, to notice and appreciate one thing you can see, one thing you can smell, one thing you can hear, one thing you can feel (and one thing you can taste if that applies..!). There’s a similar technique called ‘Grounding 1 2 3 4 5’ which is pretty cool (and helpful for dealing with panic attacks). It’s real easy to get lost in your tech, and not take in all the stuff that’s happening around you. Look out for things that make you happy, however big or small they might be. Challenge yourself to try something new, rather than settling for the safe option of flicking through every app on your phone.
Phones etc are cool, and useful, and can do so much good. And I think it’s unrealistic to say that everyone should stop using phones in this day and age. What I’m talking about here is balance. Have a healthy balance of using your phone and living your life/looking after yourself.
Try turning your phone off for a longer & longer time each day. Start with 10 minutes. Work up to an hour. Work up to a point where you only check your phone a few times a day, rather than constantly having your head down, facing a screen. Make it so that you’re the one controlling your phone, rather than your phone controlling you. It won’t necessarily be easy, but you might find yourself a little less stressed and a taking a little more care of yourself.