Time to put the phone away

clouds form at the bottom of the image with an orange glow above indicating it's sunset. the clouds clear, and above the orange glow is clear, blue sky which gets darker blue at the top of the image. in the middle are silhouettes of a flock of birds flying away, towards the horizon. There are nine birds in total at different distances to each other.

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?

18 Comments

  1. I so agree. Limiting phone usage can be so good for your mental health. Currently I’ve disabled IG, put a timer on YouTube, Netflix and other OTTS, switched off notifications from WP, LinkedIn etc. I also have an overall digital wellbeing clock on my phone so everyday between 10AM-7PM (work hours) it locks off all the distracting apps and makes me reach for my way phone lesser.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! It sounds like you’ve got this not using your phone thing down. It’s mad that we have to go to such extremes to limit our phone use but they are designed to be addictive. I have also found that I reach for my phone less, just from limiting my time on IG. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha not really. I still have my bad days like yesterday – I took an off from work and spent most of my day on my phone binge watching a new show because opening my laptop would remind me of work. 🙈 But work days are more sorted. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes! I have also really limited social media, particular Facebook and Twitter. I believe that we must process everything we take in: food, news, books, social media, games and so on. I think we fell so overwhelmed is because our online gluttony is never processed. We all need social media fasts and cleanses.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am sorry you had the UTI —are you feeling well now?

    I am trying to reduce my phone usage but it’s quite difficult with my laptop broken, I have everything on my phone. Trying my best though, not checking notification constantly or scrolling through the feed.

    A great read xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Phone usage can effect your mental and physical health. You need to monitor your social media usage every week. Your mental health is more important than your next Instagram post. I believe there is nothing wrong with posting something clever. It is not your priority everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can relate to this, it can become so easily to constantly be at your phone, and constantly feel like you need to be connected, however it is so important to have reasonable breaks from it/social media. I try to sometimes leave it switched off, in another room or even leave it charging and not use it until it is close to 100%. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can highly recommend getting an alarm clock and leaving it in another room whilst you sleep. Its helped me use my phone less and it’s not the first thing I look at when I wake up. I now have breakfast before I look at my phone. It’s about finding what works for you though and try not to beat yourself up for not having the ‘will power’ – phones are designed to be addictive.

      Liked by 1 person

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