Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Happy New Year!
For those of you who did not know, I spent the last MONTH (12/14/18-1/13/19) traveling around NICARAGUA!
Not only was it an incredible experience, it taught me so much. One of the top lessons I learned was that I DO NOT actually need my phone.
You see, when my family was planning this trip, there were considerations:
-paying for an international plan for 4 phones was unnecessary and expensive
-the purpose of the trip was to unplug
-there was no guarantee of good wifi
SO, the verdict was to not even bring our phones (expect one, my dad’s). Initially, I was nervous about this. Not being able to text my friends? Not being able to check Instagram and Pinterest? Not being able to Snapchat? In the trip preparation I realized how much I used my phone. What would I do with all my time?
As it turned out, I survived. In fact, it was extremely easy. I simply found other things that replaced my phone time, and they were actually more beneficial than any Instagram post I’ve seen. I read so many books I am shocked with myself. I spent time stretching (something I tend to neglect). I cooked breakfast for my family every morning. I realized that my phone should be an asset and a tool, not an attachment.
I also realized that we spend way too much time on our phones. As I was writing out my goals for 2019 and thinking about how I would achieve them, I honestly thought to myself, “where am I going to find the time to do all of these things?” The answer was obviously smack dab in my face- I can choose to achieve the things I want to or spend more time on my phone. The average American spends 2hrs 30 minutes a day on APPS ALONE. How crazy is that! If we cut down our time to 30 minutes a day on apps, we would have an additional TWO HOURS to spend on our goals- whether it be learning an instrument, photography, art, working out, self care, etc.
Not only does cutting our phone time give us more time to devote to other activities, it is also amazing for mental health. I found that without my phone, I was more aware of my surroundings, more interactive with the people I was with, and more appreciative of the beauty around me. I had time to just sit and watch the waves, smell the sweet salt air, and read a good book. That sounds SO CHEESY but it’s TRUE! Taking a break from your phone can help relax your mind- you aren’t constantly stimulated and waiting to find out the next event that happened in someone else’s life.
I know being away from your phone is hard. Believe me, I missed the interactive community on this blog and Instagram. BUT I believe the total cut-off from my phone was more beneficial than harmful. So, I’ve created a list of tips and tricks YOU can do to help you stay away from the mindless scrolling and focus on your goals!
- Power it down. Before you go to bed each night, power your phone down. This way, you don’t spend any extra time in bed. Really, you should try and be off your phone 30min-1hr before you sleep to help calm your mind and relax you from all of the blue light from the screen. Similarly, in the morning, don’t turn your phone on until ABSOLUTEY necessary. Waiting 30min-1hr after you wake up to check your phone will not only make you more in tune with how you feel in the morning but also give your body an opportunity to naturally wake up.
- Put it away from your bed. When you go to bed each night, leave your phone in another room or at least as far away from you as possible. If powering your phone down at night makes you nervous, at least not having it within grabbing distance can help resist the temptation of using it right up to bed.
- Invest in an alarm clock. If your phone is your alarm, invest in an alarm clock! This not only makes the first two points I made easier, but also is so annoying that you usually want to get out of bed to turn it off hehe.
- Time block your phone. Set yourself designated times that are ‘phone time’, and stick to it. Don’t give into the temptation to open Facebook or Instagram every spare moment you have. This will make you more productive in your tasks and also give you more time- without wasting the 5-10 minutes every hour on your phone, by the end of the day you have an extra 2 hrs. to spare!
- Focus on your food. Don’t scroll and chew. This not only distracts your mind from eating and makes you more hungry than you actually are, but also is just plain unnecessary. If you don’t have anyone to share a meal with, put on some nice music and have a nice meal by yourself- think about your day and take the time to plan and dream.
I hope these tips help you! And, if you want to go cold-turkey like I did and try going completely without your phone, Nicaragua is the place to go! hehe.
Talk to you soon!