Look, you already know why you shouldn’t be on your phone so much. There’s even evidence that people ages 18 to 24 send more than 100 daily text messages and check their cellphones about 60 times per day. So if you account for eight hours of daily sleep, that means that, on average, you check your phone nearly every 15 minutes and send more than six texts per hour.
This makes me wonder: How on Earth do we get anything done? And can we really keep it up without impacting our health, from our mental alertness to our real-life engagements… not to mention our ability to exist anxiety free without our fingers wrapped around a smartphone?
Social media addiction is a trending topic; our inbox dependence feels like the foundation of our career. There’s an app for everything—from seeking S.O.s to buying burritos to mellowing out with meditation. It’s no wonder our smartphone feels like an extension of our mind and body.
But it’s not. Here are six ways to stay sane and centered… and enjoy life in living color.
1. Enjoy your errands.
As a productivity addict, I love using wait times at the bank, Walgreens, and Trader Joe’s to write emails. But at least once a day, when I walk my dog, post a letter, pick up a bottle of Pinot, or even nip out for a mani, I leave my phone on charge.
As soon as I step out sans phone, I notice the smell of the air, the light of the sky, the hilarity of my dog sniffing every tiny thing on the ground… and I feel the delicious sensation of my body just loosening up. It feels good. Your inbox can survive without you for 30 minutes, I promise.
The worst that can happen is you miss an Instagrammable moment. You’ll live. And yep—you’ll actually be living, not just documenting. Enjoy it.
2. Go push free.
Yup, you can lose all those buzzing, useless notifications that distract you every few minutes. Aside from texts and calendar reminders, I no longer get any of these. I have to proactively check my apps to see if I’ve received an email, a tweet, a Whatsapp message, a friend request, or an alert about someone sharing something lame on LinkedIn. This means I see stuff I don’t really care about maybe just once per day. It’s liberating. The world can wait—I’m enjoying my tea!
3. Kick it old school.
When was the last time you bought an actual book, put your feet up, and dove on in? The same goes for a magazine or the paper. Instead of scrolling or swiping on a Sunday morning, why not grasp something real—in ink? Sometimes there’s no substitute for paper.
As much as it pains me to admit that exercise has yet another benefit—I prefer anything, even cleaning my oven, to working out!—the one thing I really appreciate about spin class is the “no phones allowed” policy.
This gives me 45 minutes of undisturbed Me Time, no exceptions. It feels almost naughty and indulgent to be unreachable, even if only for a little while. I use this time to repeat my affirmations and visualize achieving my goals, instead of checking my texts and Facebook updates.
5. Give yourself a curfew.
I opt for an “electronic sundown,” which is when you put all your devices away an hour before bed. You’ll probably sleep better too! Do some stretches. Light some candles. Journal. Talk to your spouse or roommate. Meditate. Have sex. There’s so much more to life than stuff involving a screen!
6. Buy an alarm clock.
They are $10. If nothing else, let the first minutes of your day be phone free. Actually taste your coffee. Set an intention for the next 24 hours. Breathe. It’s a major win if you’ve just started the morning with no external influence.
What will you do this week to let go of your device for a bit and inject some you-time into your life? Don’t stress; you’re not breaking up with your phone. You’re just taking some time away from each other. And all relationships benefit from a little space.
Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday on Greatist for her latest No Regrets column!