Ever since I can remember, I’ve been bringing my cell phone to bed with me. I always used it as an alarm clock, and that was my excuse as to why it needed to be beside my face all night. Then I actually got an alarm clock, but the bedside phone habit never really went away. It was the last thing I looked at before bed, and the first thing I checked when I woke up. I am tied to my phone 24/7.
My morning routine is a constant work in progress. I’ve been trying to give myself some time to relax in the AM before running into work, stress and life. But no matter what, when my alarm goes off, my first instinct is always to check my phone. I noticed myself getting eye strain and then my eyes started burning in the mornings. I knew I needed to keep my phone out of the bedroom. For months I just couldn’t do it.
Until I did it once. And then I did it again. And again. And I’ve gone a full month now without bringing my phone to bed with me.
I seriously don’t know what I was afraid of. It’s as if I was cutting myself off of an addiction. I had to do it, I just wasn’t ready… until one day I was. Since that day, my eyes have been much less sensitive and strained. I’m also noticing that I wake up relaxed, rather than feeling stressed out from the very moment I turn on my phone. I find that I give myself a few moments to ease into the day instead of flipping that “on” switch immediately.
Then last weekend, I decided to go a full day without my phone. To take it one step further, ya know? It was incredible. I felt freer, lighter and happier (for real). When I came back to my phone, I realized how much I didn’t miss it. Honestly, it felt amazing to detox for a full day. Next time I detox, it’ll be for an entire weekend.. mark my words!
I’m not the only one who has the habit of being tied to their phone 24/7. Maybe even you are struggling with this habit too! But it’s important to check in with yourself.. Is it time for a smartphone detox? Here are five indications it might be time to step back from the cell phone:
1 | If you’re experiencing any form of strain or discomfort.
Yes, obviously if your eyes are bloodshot, or if they burn because you’re tied to your screen all day, maybe it’s time to put the phone down. Pain isn’t a good thing. Listen to your body. It took me some time to get used to the idea but that’s because I’m stubborn. Not always a good quality 🙂
2 | If you experience stress or anxiety when picking up your phone.
Recently I’ve learned what this feels like. I never thought looking at my phone and seeing notifications was stressing me out. That is, until I kept my phone out of the bedroom. Now, in the morning, the flood of notifications is like a jolt of anxiety. What’s happening? Why are there so many alerts? Ahhhh! Yes. That’s pretty clear proof to take a break.
3 | If you check your phone every 5 to 10 minutes.
This is 1000% me. I always have it near me, and even when it’s within reach I still check the screen every 10 minutes for notifications. SUPER bad habit. What the heck is happening on my phone that I need to check it so frequently? Nothing. And probably yours is the same. Put it down and keep it away for a while.
4 | When you’re watching Netflix and browsing Instagram at the same time.
For you, it might not be Instagram, but the point is you are multitasking and aren’t giving anything your full attention. Try to put the phone down for an hour and enjoy your show. I promise, it’ll be MUCH better when the distractions are gone. Plus, the people you’re watching the show with will thank you for it. Checking my phone during our Netflix nights is Mike’s huge pet peeve… still working on that one…
5 | You become defensive about your phone usage.
Mike likes to call me out on the over-use of my cell phone and I haven’t always appreciated it. Over time though, I’ve realized that he’s only trying to help. And you know what? That man is smart. I am addicted to my cell phone. I used to get defensive about it, but I don’t anymore. When he tells me I should put it down, usually he’s right. It’s time to focus on the other things going on around me.
Do any of these signs sound like you? Sadly, they are all me. I’d probably do well with a week-long detox! If you are also a smartphone addict, give yourself the gift of 24 hours without your phone. It’s pretty amazing how good you will feel. And then report back, because I’m curious to know if you return as refreshed as I did.