Last month I came to the sudden realisation that I’m addicted to my phone. It sounds silly, but I was picking it up all the time and endlessly scrolling for no reason. I wasn’t picking it up because I had a notification, it was an impulse. An impulse I had to stop.
So one day I just went cold turkey. I still used my phone for texts, calls and whatsapp but I removed Facebook, Twitter and Instagram from my phone. I kept YouTube because I do Yoga with Adriene videos every day, but I ignored my subscriptions and recommended videos.
For the first day or two I could feel the impulse to pick up my phone. I was even picking up my phone and just looking at the apps I had installed. Goodness knows how many times I open the weather app those first few days just because.
During those early days I was always thinking with social media in mind. Oh this would make a good Instagram Story or I need to get a photo of this to post. It felt like back in the day when I used to think in 140 character tweets! Social media was always on my mind. It took a good few days to break that habit and not think about it.
After a week I tried going on Instagram. I was really scared that I would slip straight back into old habits. And that first day I did. I’d pick up my phone to see if there were any new stories all the time. So the very next day I went back to cold turkey. I obviously wasn’t ready to let social media back in. That fear stuck with me for awhile but slowly went away when I realised how good it was making me feel.
The last week or so I’ve been going on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube a little bit. But maybe only once or twice a day. I checked my battery usage before I quit social media and I was on them for an average of 4.5 hours a day – that’s over 30 hours a week, more hours than my part time job! Now I use 30 minutes a day.
I have a few rules for when I shouldn’t use my phone.
- No phone in front of my daughter
- No phone while with family and friends
- No phone at meal times
- No phone in bed
There are a couple of exceptions. I use the app Headspace before breakfast so I turn that on. And sometimes I use Calm app or Headspace in bed if I want to. I quite like the idea of using an alarm clock and leaving my phone downstairs.
How I feel now
There are a few things that I’ve noticed since going cold turkey and the big one is I have so much more time now! I always used to be rushing around and now I have whole hours in the evening where I can do things I enjoy, or you know, housework. I am taking the time to do more things for me like yoga, reading and drawing.
I feel calmer. I’m not constantly comparing myself to other people, or comparing my daughters progress to other children her age. It’s been really freeing. I’ve gone back on to social media and I’ve unfollowed a lot of people. I’ve muted Instagram Stories that don’t interest me. And I’ve unsubscribed from a lot of YouTube channels that don’t resonate with me anymore.
Cutting back on social media and taking some time off cold turkey has been the best thing I’ve done in ages. I definitely recommend taking a break if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything.
My husband sent me an article the other day about mobile phone addiction. They used some of the webMD drug addiction signs and switched the word drug for phone. I felt so ashamed that I resonated with most of those signs. It was like the article was about me. I feel so much freer now I’m not glued to my phone anymore. But it’s something I’ll definitely have to keep checking in with.
What’s your relationship with your phone like? Have you tried switching off for awhile?