Time For A Digital Detox

I, like many, am sometimes guilty of describing my life rather than just living it and fully engaging with experiences. Yes, my iPhone is rarely out of my reach, I photograph my food, I have been known to scroll through my super-important (irony) Twitter feed during a conversation and I mindlessly unlock my smartphone every five minutes just to check err.... absolutely nothing.

I have had some problems with stress the past few months and I know that digital-addiction definitely plays a part in it. I just never seem to switch off! I am a do-er and like to 'get things done' so when I don't feel super-busy for 5 minutes, I seem to mistake this sensation (calmness? silence?) for boredom. Most people would forgive me for reaching for my phone ten times during Keeping Up With The Kardashians (yawn...) but it's sad that even when I go for a relaxing walk, I can't resist the temptation of extra brain-stimulation. Last month, I even found myself not only reading work emails on a short family holiday, but replying 100% of the time because it was 'urgent'. Stress aside, I even notice a massive different in my eyesight when I spent more time staring at screens. It is just so unhealthy.

I do however pride myself with being pretty self-aware and I am pleased that I can try to get into better habits. I know that my digi-issues aren't that bad compared to some, for example I am often nagged by my girlfriends for not uploading photos to Facebook soon enough (read: ever), but even so, I have been trying really hard to minimise the amount of time that I spend senselessly scrolling. Last week, I had twenty minutes spare before I had to leave the house one day and there were other times that I was begging family to tell me 'what am I usually doing right now?' because I could have sworn I was forgetting something with all this time I had spare. All I had done was make a list of things to do and stick to them

without distraction

. If I finished what I was working on, I would go and make myself a drink or have a stretch rather than open 8 different social media tabs in Safari.

So, here's what I'm going to do about it:

+ No social media after 9pm

Hopefully this will help my brain wind-down ready for sleep and avoid the time-wasting that causes late nights.

+ No morning media

I have a nasty, nasty habit of checking my emails, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram before I even get out of bed in the morning. I rarely wake up feeling alert so I tend to think that concentrating on something will help my brain start to function but in reality, it's just a time waster. What do you do to help you get up and going in the AM?

+ Always leave my phone in the locker at the gym

I tend to do this anyway and intend to carry on.

+ Turn my phone off at university

I would often get distracted by buzzing in lectures and seminars last year so when I return to uni at the end of September, my phone will always be untouched during important study time.

+ Be mindful

When I reach for my phone when it hasn't beeped and isn't ringing, I am determined to interrupt the thought and stop myself.

+ Keep adding to a memory jar

At the beginning of the year, I started to fill a jar with little memories which I will then open at the end of the year. Next time you're tempted to Facebrag (verb: updating your Facebook status to 'brag' about what awesome things you're doing), grab a pen and paper and preserve the memory in your jar instead, it's much more rewarding!

There's a great article, 'Are you a slave to your smartphone?', in Zest Magazine this month which documents Catherine Gray ditching her mobile phone for a week and is definitely worth reading. Do you think you could do it?