I recently wrote about how always being connected to my phone is affecting my mental health. How always being switched on to current affairs is putting me at an all time low. As this is an issue that keeps on reoccurring, rather than just write about it, I decided it was time to do something about it.
Limiting social media time
For a month I have been disabling Instagram on Sunday evening, then enabling it again after finishing work on the following Friday, to then use until Sunday. I’m now into my fourth week and I’ve already noticed that I feel less overwhelmed.
Even spending the last two week’s, mainly in bed or cooped up on the sofa with a random virus – yep, I didn’t get Covid but still spent a week fighting an unknown virus – and then a UTI, didn’t make me enable the Gram. The last thing I wanted to do was make myself feel worse with doom scrolling.
I would say that my concentration has improved, but it’s difficult to tell when we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. Added to that, I am someone whose mind is always active. But because I have limited the app that has me using my phone the most, I am less distracted.
Won’t your blog get less traffic and views though? Probably. But i’m not blogging to earn a living. Nor am I blogging as a side hustle. It’s a hobby. There are bloggers who tell you that you must use social media in order to increase traffic/stats/followers… Which is probably true when you are trying to become a full time blogger. However, my blog is a hobby and I would like to keep the enjoyment, cathartic and relaxation part of it, rather than adding it to the list of things to overthink.
I have found a way of limiting my social media intake that works for me. It may be more extreme than some methods to decrease phone use but I’ve noticed that i’m not using my phone as often. I am more present. At work, I’ve noticed that I panic less and have more of a ‘can do‘ attitude.
Limiting phone use in the bedroom
When I started limiting my Insta time, it made me think more about how I use my phone and the effects this has on my mental health. I managed to kick the habit of using my phone before bed when I picked up reading again but my phone was still firmly placed beside my bed. I may not have been endlessly scrolling myself to sleep, but I would still pick up my phone to see if I had any notifications. It wasn’t until I read Olivia’s post about sleeping with our phones that I realised how weird it was.
We use our phones like they are an extra limb. Whilst I had started to leave my phone on the floor at the other end of the bedroom to force me out of bed when my alarm went off, at the weekends I would leave my phone downstairs overnight and it felt like a luxury. When my phone was out of the room I noticed I was calmer. No longer feeling like I had to instantly respond. So, I decided it was time to purchase an alarm clock.
Alas, it was never going to be smooth sailing. Instead of testing out the new wake-up light, I spent the early hours of Monday morning chucking up my guts, with interludes of stabbing pains in my stomach, before being carted off to A&E for a few fun hours (hello, week of recovering from a UTI). I may not have used my wake up alarm clock to wake me up in the morning but it it making for a great reading lamp. Fingers crossed this coming Monday i’ll be able to use the alarm function.
What techniques have worked for you to limit your phone use? What benefits have you noticed from reducing phone time?