I’ve been taking a break from my phone. Not a big break, and not for any extended periods of time, but every day, while I walk the dog, I don’t let myself answer a call, text, or email, unless it’s an emergency.
It wasn’t an easy habit to get into, but it was one I desperately needed. Constantly engaging with my phone became an energy drain and frankly, it’s a waste of time. Yes, emails have to be checked and texts have to be answered, but most of the time, they don’t have to happen at that very moment.
I began living with my phone glued to my side years ago when my brother-in-law was very ill. As the years passed and my parents became elderly and my girls became old enough to be out with friends, my phone continued–and continues–to be attached to me. I keep it with me through work, social interaction, and I sleep with it next to my bed. There really is no choice. Many times I’ve been woken by an emergency call because someone needed to go to the hospital.
Phones can’t be avoided. But I’ve found that their constant distraction can be.
Sophie gets walked a minimum of three times a day, and I noticed that while she sniffed out new territory, I would naturally gravitate to my phone. Between a, “Good Girl” and a, “Come on, let’s run,” I’d knock out a few texts, and sometimes, standing there while holding her leash and balancing a bottle of water, I would send an email or two. While it’s great to be productive, there has to be an end point. Do we really need to work constantly?
Without my fingers scrolling through Instagram, I now hear the birds and take deeper breaths. Because of it, my mind feels clearer and my mood is better.
Just lifting my head from the thrust it had while on the phone has lifted my spirits. And since I’ve put the phone away on my walks, I’ve noticed it’s easier to put it away at other times, too.
I have definitely noticed the correlation between less screen time and a better mood.
And those emails still get sent and the texts are still answered. But now, I’m doing them during designated “work” times, rather than times I should be off my phone and enjoying myself.