I’ve had this topic for a long while in my mind, and now seems like the perfect time to write about it. You may have come across this “event“-Digital Detox Day. It is a collaboration between Lush, Zoe Sugg and mental health organization #IAMWHOLE . The point of the collaboration is to put aside our phones and go offline for a whole day on Saturday, September the 5th. You can find more info about it in here. (p.s.-this is not an ad or anything like that, I just sincerely think it’s an amazing idea, and wanted to share my thoughts about this topic).
Social media can be and often is a toxic environment, especially when you spend you whole time and energy in it. For different people it can cause different problems, but what unites everyone, and not in a good way, is the addiction to phones. You know what’s the worst part? It’s when we see someone being constantly on their phones, and we think to ourselves, “he/she truly is addicted, I’m glad I’m not like that…“. But hey guess what, there’s a huge chance that you are actually like that, and it sucks.
It is now an obvious and a self-evident fact, that we all need phones, other gadgets and social media for our work and studying, so there’s no chance of completely getting rid of them. but let’s just be honest, 80% of the time wasted in internet is purely for our “entertainment“. Because even during work and our lessons we still procrastinate and go online for various reasons.
We’ve all read books and watched movies, even cartoons (like Wall-e) about how technologies will soon be an integral part of us, how they’ll take over human interactions, hobbies etc, and eventually us. We watch these movies and say yeah, it’s possible in like a 100-200 years. Really? 100-200 years? I won’t give it even a 50, because it’s already here, spreading in the Earth like a disease or a massive catastrophe. You can’t now imagine someone going out for a walk without a phone, not having pages in any kind of social media, not carrying phone with them 24/7, not eating with phone, sleeping with it, even going to the bathroom with it. And that is, my dear friends, truly terrible.
Let’s now just quickly give a recap of how being constantly glued to the screens is not the best idea. First, no matter what everyone says about the safety of ultraviolet lights of screens, it does affect your eyesight, it can cause headaches, nausea dizziness, weakness… These are just a few simple physical symptoms, that most of people now suffer with, and don’t understand the reason of their well-being or should I say bad-being.
Second, you just waste your precious time and energy online and not on something inspiring, motivating, instructive or at least funny, you don’t learn new skills, don’t talk about elevated topics and discuss important things. most of the times you just blankly scroll your feed, watch photos/videos/notes of people that you don’t even care about.
This leads to our third point-you see people, your acquaintances or stars and influencers, living their best lives, going different places, having the perfect partners and friends, always traveling, having fun, eating tonnes of food but staying fit… All these create an unhealthy image of something unreal. You start comparing yourself to everyone you see, and you see all their achievements and your flaws, you feel yourself a looser, sitting in your phone while everyone else is enjoying their lives. And this can lead to a series of problems.
Another important thing-whenever you’re out, having fun, you miss half of it, as you don’t actually live the moment. You don’t sing in a karaoke or a concert, you record it, you don’t dance, you make a video trying to find the perfect light and perfect angle. You don’t enjoy a chat with your friend in a cafe, you’re too busy by posting millions of stories just to show off…
Now I don’t say, that we should all just throw our phones from the windows and live like cave people, no. Everything has its pros and cons, and internet has many of those. It’s the place we can talk with our friends, relatives, when we are not able to see them, where we learn many amazing things, starting from simple recipes and doing makeup to learning physics and new languages. This is the place to inspire, motivate and on the other hand get inspired and motivated, to share your creativity and art, to find your niche. It’s the place where you can just have a laugh after a hard day by watching a comedy or even memes. It does have many advantages. We just have to learn anew how to benefit from all this, how to find a healthy balance to use it properly. And here are a few things that may help you in this process.
1. The Digital detox day, from which we started this blog, can become the perfect opportunity for you to start this “journey to a new and healthy lifestyle“. Remember it will be hard to spend a whole day without a phone, so even if you go on only for an hour or two, consider it as an achievement and victory. After that, try having some offline time at least once a day. The ideal time for it is evening, when you’ve finished all your work, just turn your wifi, 3g and everything off, put it on an airplane mode, so there’s no temptation. In fact, you can actually leave the phone in another room or in a drawer, it will be psychologically easier not to use the phone when you don’t have it by your side. Just remember to warn your closest ones, so they won’t panic when they won’t reach you. You’ll see how spending an evening without phone will turn out to be the best decision, as you’ll have plenty of free time and actually relax and recharge. And you’ll want to do that again and again, and that will become your new, beneficial addiction.
2. Not using your phone at least 30-60 minutes before going to sleep, and after waking up. Again, this might be hard, as it became a solid habit for years and years, and it’ll take some time to create a new one. You can start by 15 minutes and then go longer. You’ll feel how your sleep and your general state of health will improve.
3. Do massive cleanings in your friends/followers lists. I’m sure everyone has lots of people that you don’t ever talk to, and don’t actually need to see daily updates of their lives but for an unknown reason we keep them in our friends lists. If you don’t want to unfollow/unfriend them, simply mute them, so you won’t see their posts every single day. Unfollow all those “beauty icons” or influencers who make you feel smaller, who make you feel jealous. Why were you following them in the first place? For inspiration? But by being jealous and comparing you can never get inspired, so unfollow all of them. Clear all the unnecessary things, information, people, pages (including news which are always negative), even apps and games. If you feel negative or bad about something, delete it.
Also another tip, you can delete many apps from your phone, for example facebook or twitter app, and use google chrome any time you want to go to your page, and after using it, always log out. That’s another psychological trick, as your brain will consider it as too much effort just to aimlessly check your facebook/twitter feed and you will start using it less and less.
4. Remember, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone! You don’t have to post everything you do, especially at that very moment. You don’t need to post the tickets to the cinema, your selfie on the road, a boomerang of drinking cocktails with your friend… If you want to capture that moment, quickly take a photo or a story, save it, and you can upload it later, when you’re already home. No one will kill you for posting something a few hours later. Also you don’t need to remind everyone of you by posting sth every single day. Believe me, no one actually cares, and no one’ll say “oh no, she hasn’t posted anything today, that’s it, I’m unfollowing and forgetting her for good“. Post when you have a worthy content, post when you feel good and want to share something, not when you feel horrible but somehow will feel a mandatory obligation to post that story or photo or write about how bad you feel.
5. I guess all my acquaintances will kill me for this, but I’ll say it anyway. Don’t make your phone become a part of you, don’t carry it with you everywhere you go. It’s not your source of oxygen, nothing will happen if you leave it in another room. Why I wrote about my acquaintances, is because whenever anyone calls me, I honestly don’t see it 90% of the time, as I’ve always had that habit of leaving my phone somewhere in the house and spending hours in another room or even going for a walk or to a store without it.
Also turn all your notifications off, as they are the worst, you see them and want to instantly answer even if someone just sent you a meme, or wrote hi. Again, warn your friends that if there’s something important, they can call you or send a good old sms. Or you can organize your chats, in a way, so that the important ones will be for example in whatsapp, and you’ll have those notifications on, and the rest (the fun ones with your friends) will be in telegram, messenger or anywhere else, with the notifications off.
And the last little tip, lots of phones now show our screen time and you can even set a limit for lots of apps and it’ll block those after you limit ended. Or you can simply look at how many hours you spent today, and try to spend less time tomorrow. If you’re competitive, even a little, this will definitely work for you.
Oh God, again this was a long one, even though I keep promising myself not write this long. But if you’ve reached here, congrats, you’re almost there!
As you can see, there are many ways, of how you can use your phones and social medias, but not become addicted to them. Also the limited time spent online will make it more valuable. Remember how our parents let us play computer half an hour a day, and those 30 minutes were just so enjoyable, as we knew that’s all we had. Same here. Remember your health, both mental and physical come first, don’t waste it in exchange for some stupid things. Even if everyone does it, try to stand out and become a good example to be followed. Start today, and you’ll thank yourself later. And don’t forget about joining the detox day tomorrow, on September the 5th!
p.s. I don’t know why I consider this as a kind of an obligation to point out at the end of every post, that not everyone is like that, and that I’m also not perfect, and 70-80% of the things written above also refers to me. I’m not here to judge or criticize, just to express my thoughts and maybe encourage and motivate at least one person.